Poha (Flattened Rice) Salad

Poha Salad

Poha Salad

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?

Here's what to look for.

Here’s what to look for.

Poha is flattened rice.

Poha is flattened rice.

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.

This is an exotic, flavourful treat!

This is an exotic, flavourful treat!

Poha Salad

Ingredients:

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

4 papadums

Method:

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.

Perfect for picnics and parties!

Perfect for picnics and parties!

 

 

38 Responses to “Poha (Flattened Rice) Salad”

  1. Elaine @ foodbod

    Ha ha! I’m exactly the same about new ingredients! I love the discovery and then the experimenting – your salad looks lovely 🙂
    I’ve read lots of recipes using poha but not in a salad like this, it’s nice to see a different use xx

    Reply
  2. chefjulianna

    Hmmm, I have to do more research then to see how else my this cool, “new” ingredient can be used!! I guess we are both food nerds then? 😀

    Reply
  3. ksbeth

    i get excited by new foods as well – i’ve never heard of this either, but this recipe sounds wonderful –

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      That’s probably why we have stuck with blogging for awhile,then! Blogging is so awesome to find new recipes! Glad you like this one! 😀

      Reply
  4. skd

    When I started reading this post, I told myself what..who…is this our Chef Julianne or did I accidentally open a south indian blog. The feel and look of this post is completely South Indian. The first pic with the( banana )leaf as a place mat, the color scheme and spices used in the salad are so on the spot. You nailed it chef and beautifully that too👍☺😉

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Haha, so funny! My friends often tell me that I was born on the wrong continent! I am happy to know that I nailed it! Have an awesome week! 😀

      Reply
  5. Loretta

    Well, will you look at the presentation of this dish and the rich and varied ingredients, it looks and sounds amazing Juliana. It is always fun to find a new ingredient and find many uses for it. Well done!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much, Loretta! I was so excited when I realized that I had some banana leaves in my freezer! They worked as a great background! Happy FF to you! 😀

      Reply
  6. Hilda

    Thanks for introducing me to this new (for me) ingredient. Can’t wait to try it for myself. As usual, your dish looks colourful and appetizing.

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Well, I am so glad that I can finally introduce you to something new!! Usually it is the other way round! I know you will do some very interesting dishes with poha, Hilda!
      BTW, I got the book on bitters and will be settling into it this summer for sure! It looks fascinating! Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention! 😀

      Reply
  7. Ahila

    Love your poha salad. Poha (or ‘aval’, as we call it) has always been one of my favourite festival dishes. At home, we simply mix the rinsed and drained poha with some freshly grated coconut and palm jaggery and it turns out a delicious treat. Thanks for bringing this to the fiesta, Julianna, and happy experimenting with poha! 🙂

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Thanks so much, Ahila! I knew that if I brought my Poha salad to FF, that some of you would have some great ideas for it! I can’t wait to try it with coconut and jaggery! Have a great week! 😀

      Reply
  8. Les

    Interesting ingredient. Like tofu…..takes on numerous flavours. Superstore has it too.

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Hey Les! Superstore? Well, I think I looked there, but maybe I will have to try the one out here in Langley. I am discovering that Langley actually has tons of good “ethnic” foods, but in various stores. Hope all is well with you and that the gardening is coming along! 😀

      Reply
  9. Nancy

    Yay…a “new to me” ingredient! New ingredients not only heighten my intrigue, but my excitement as well. 🙂 This salad looks wonderful, Julianna! I must check my local stores to see if I can find this new gem!

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Oh, we are in fine company, Nancy! It looks like we all love finding those “new” ingredients! Good luck on your quest for poha! 😀

      Reply
  10. Indu

    Julianna you always amaze and ‘impress’ me with your versatility! Poha is an indian breakfast staple and very healthy too! I love that you added cashews and added fresh onions and tomatoes to make it a salad. ! I usually add peanuts and sometimes some grated coconut on top! Btw, since you asked I have posted a couple recipes with poha before – https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2016/04/03/flattened-rice-snack-aval-vilayichathu/;
    https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2014/10/21/puffed-rice-savory-snack-poha-chivda/;
    https://indusinternationalkitchen.com/2015/07/25/a-quick-gluten-free-snack-flattened-rice-with-coconut-avil-nanachathu/

    Reply
    • chefjulianna

      Wow Indu! Thanks so much! I just checked out your links and have bookmarked them. I am always stuck on the same things for breakfast, week after week, so I can’t wait to try some of your recipes as they all look wonderful! That was very sweet of you to share these with me – I really appreciate it. And thanks so much for your kind comments! Have a great week! 😀

      Reply
      • Indu

        Yes Poha does make for good breakfast! And thank you for the salad idea!

  11. spiceinthecity

    Poha is one of my favorite breakfasts and in fact I just made it this morning!! Your version looks brilliant and I love the addition of cashew nuts! YUM!!

    Reply
  12. linnylouise

    I like the addition of Poha (flattened rice) to my must try salad. Then the cashews addition. Yum! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  13. petra08

    I love discovering new foods and I have never heard of phoa! I must try! And I can’t believe you found it at Walmart!That is amazing. The salad looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
      • chefjulianna

        I hope you can find some in your vicinity, Petra!! Check out some of my the comments on this post for some other really awesome ideas for our “new found” ingredient! I will have some time this summer to play with it a bit and may even report back to you all about my findings!! 😀

  14. Karen

    Well I can see that I’m going to have to go on a quest to find Poha…I can’t wait to try your salad.

    Reply

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