recipes that teach you how to cook without recipes

Spicy Flattened Rice (Kanda Batata Poha)

This is a traditional Maharastian vegetarian breakfast. It’s something that reminds me of home as I don’t think you can find this at restaurants. My mom would often make this for Saturday morning breakfasts or for a light lunch. Recently, my mom talked me though the whole process as I made it myself for the first time and I realized how simple it is to make!

If you have the ingredients, it’s very quick to put together. The main ingredient is flattened rice (poha in Marathi). Here in Munich, I can find poha at the Asian grocery store but you can also find it on Amazon. Poha is made from flattening uncooked rice into thin, dry flakes that can be eaten once combined with some liquid that rehydrates the poha.


Serves 3-4


2 cups flattened rice (Poha)

2-3 medium potatoes, cut into ½ cm cubes

2 medium onions, cut into small cubes

2-3 medium tomatoes, cut into small cubes

2-3 green chilies, halved

6-8 curry leaves (fresh, if possible)

½ tsp whole mustard seeds

½ tsp whole cumin seeds

½ tsp turmeric

lemon or lime juice, to taste

salt, to taste

chopped coriander, for garnishing (optional)


  1. Briefly rinse the poha in a strainer and set aside to let the water drain. This allows the poha to rehydrate.
  2. In a pan, heat 1-2 tbsp oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Wait for the mustard seeds to pop, then add the cumin seeds and sauté briefly.
  3. Add the onions and potatoes, turmeric, chili, curry leaves and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to combine, cover the pan and let cook on medium low heat until the potatoes are half cooked through (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the tomatoes, cover and let cook until the potatoes are fully cooked and the mixture is dry.
  5. Add the poha and toss to combine all the ingredients. Taste and add salt if necessary.
  6. Cover and let cook for 5-6 minutes, tossing once or twice.
  7. Add chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime and toss to combine.
  8. Serve immediately with extra lime on the side.

Poha can come in three varieties. The thin and thick varieties are used in various snacks and prepared differently. For this recipe, a medium thick poha works best because the flavours and moisture for the tomatoes, onions and potatoes soak into the poha without becoming mushy.

Some versions of this recipe use shredded coconut. My mom never did this so I don’t but it is tasty.

This recipe is often garnished with fried peanuts but, again, my mom never did so I don’t. Plus I’m not a fan of nuts in savoury food. But you do you!

This dish doesn’t do well as leftovers. It tends to dry out so it’s best to eat this hot and fresh.

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