OK, I admit it, I am a food nerd! I get all excited when I “discover” a new ingredient. I mean, let’s face it, when you reach a “certain age”, and you have been pouring over cookbooks for decades, there is a crazy thrill when you have to ask yourself, “Now what the heck is that?” So, as you may have guessed, such was the case with today’s main ingredient – poha. For those of you who have been eating poha all of your lives, it may not be unusual, but I had never eaten or even seen poha on a menu before. A quick google search told me that it is flattened rice. Sorry, but I still had never heard of flattened rice – puffed rice, yes, but never flattened rice. So off to the shops I went, searching for this stuff. I toured Indian stores, Asian markets and pulled out all the stops on my quest, only to discover it in a mega-giant that I rarely frequent – Walmart. Walmart you ask? Not exactly a gourmet destination, but Walmart (in my neighbourhood), actually sells Poha! Now, the very amazing thing about poha is that it is so easy to prepare. Rinse, dry, and it’s done! No boiling, no pot cleaning – easy. In the salad, the poha has a light texture, and absorbs the flavours of the salad beautifully. I believe that this is a hugely versatile ingredient, and I intend to play with it in a bunch of different ways when I have some time. Perhaps you can direct me to some other recipes?
So, today I am presenting you with Poha Salad, a recipe that I discovered in BC Taste Magazine, a few years ago. I have modified it a bit to my taste. My family all gave it a huge thumbs-up, so I am bringing it to Angie’s Fiesta Friday tomorrow. Thanks so much to our wonderful co-hosts, Ahila @ Taste of Sri Lankan Cuisine and Diann @ Of Goats and Greens.
2 cups poha (flattened rice)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
3 green cardamom pods
4 curry leaves
1 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnishing
3/4 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
½ cup roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
In a colander, rinse the poha with cold water. Drain well and set aside for 15 minutes.
In a large wok, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and cardamom pods and cook until they begin to sputter. Add the curry leaves, ginger, and jalapeno. Saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the well-drained poha. Add the turmeric, cayenne, salt, lime juice and sugar. Mix well.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly, then mix in the tomatoes, cilantro, red onion and cashews.
Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and serve with papadums.