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FLATTENED RICE

April 5, 2011 9:15 pm 0 comments
Flattened Rice (Poha)

Flattened Rice (Poha)

Flattened rice or known as beaten rice or poha or atukulu etc. Poha is one of the most popular breakfast or brunch in western India. Any dish or recipe made of poha is easy to cook and nutritious.

Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is dehusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids. The thicknesses of these flakes vary between almost translucently thin (the more expensive varieties) to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain.

Poha is a easily digestible form of raw rice and popular across Nepal, North East India and Bangladesh. It is normally used to prepare snacks or light and easy fast food like upma, chudva, mixture etc and variety of Indian cuisine styles. Some varieties can also stay for long term consumption for a week or more. The Flattened rice is known by a variety of names like Poha or Pauwa in Hindi, Pohe in Marathi, Chinde in Bengali, Chira in Assamese, Phovu in Konkani, Chudaa in Oriya, Atukulu in Telugu, Chudwey in Urdu, Aval in Tamil and Malayalam, Avalakki in Kannada and Pauaa in Gujarati.

Flattened rice or pressed rice or Poha can also be eaten just like that by immersing them in plain water or milk adding salt or sugar to taste. They are also be lightly fried in oil with nuts, raisin, cardamoms and other spices. This variation of Poha is a standard breakfast in Malvaa region (around Indore) of Madhya Pradesh. Poha can also be eaten as porridge. In villages, particularly in Chhattisgarh, Poha or Chiura is also eaten raw by mixing with jaggery. In Bhopal and Maharashtra, poha is cooked with lightly frying mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder, finely chopped onions and then moistened poha is added to the spicy mix and steamed for a few minutes. This variation is usually called as the Atukulu upma in southern India. Poha is often eaten with Jalebi.

Beaten Rice is one of the products of Paddy. It is available in so many varieties like the medium, thick and the nylon. To name few of the delicious beaten rice dishes are Aloo Poha, Konkani Poha and Avalakki. Many dishes made of Poha is often eaten hot during the monsoon season. It is one of the most convenient and comfort food. Cooks very fast and nutritious! In Maharashtra state, the ‘kanda pohe’(meaning onion poha) or batata pohe (potato poha) are the common breakfast or snack items. It is tasty both ways. In Karnataka it is called as ‘avalakki uppitu’ or ‘avalakki bhat’.

Poha or Aval or Atukulu is said to be a poor man food and illustrated well in Mythology that Sudama (also known as Kuchela) was a childhood friend of Hindu deity Krishna from Mathura, the story of whose visit to Dwaraka to meet Krishna, is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana. He was Narada born as a poor man in order to enjoy the transcendental pastimes of Lord Krishna.

Sudama was from a poor family, while Krishna was from the royal family. But this difference in social status did not come in the way of their friendship. They lost contact over the years and while Krishna became a military leader and King of great repute at Dwaraka, while Sudama stayed as a humble, and somewhat impoverished person living in a village. Some time later when Sudama was going through some bad times, not even having enough money to feed his children, his wife reminded him of his friendship with Krishna.

Though initially reluctant to go to his friend for help, Sudama finally agrees to go. He leaves with nothing but some beaten rice (flattened rice/ Poha) tied in a cloth as a present. He remembers that beaten rice (aval/ poha/ atukulu) is Krishna’s favorite and decided to give this as a gift to the Lord.

Krishna is greatly pleased to see his old friend. He treats him royally and with much love. Overwhelmed by all this Sudama forgets to ask for what he actually came to ask. But the Lord realizes what His friend needs, and the lord’s consort Rukmini incarnation of Lakshmi, gifts him with his desires. On his return journey, Sudama ponders his circumstances and is thankful for the great friend he has in Lord Krishna. When Sudama finally returns to his home, he finds a palatial mansion instead of the hut he had left. He also finds his family dressed in extremely nice garb and waiting for him. He lives an austere life after that, always thankful to the Lord.

This story is told to illustrate that the Lord does not differentiate between people based on their finances and that he will reward devotion always. Sudama did not ask Krishna for anything. Despite being poor Sudama had given Krishna everything he had (poha) hence in return the Lord gave Sudama everything he needed.

Describing flattened rice or poha is made of rice that has been parboiled and then rolled, flattened, and dried to produce flakes. The flakes come in different thicknesses depending on the pressure used in the flattening process. Rice flakes are found in many Asian markets and specialty shops Rice flakes are small about 2mm long flat and grayish white in color. They have uneven edges and a rough texture. They are extremely light. Rice flakes have no particular aroma and a bland gentle taste. Depending on the method of cooking they can be soft or crunchy. The flakes are able to absorb a large volume of liquid when used in various dishes, so they absorb flavors well. They are very popular in Asian cooking, but in Western countries they are more often used commercially in the production of cereals and rice snacks.

Poha when eaten with mint coriander chutney adds an extra zing in taste. It is typically served for breakfast and is quite light and nutritious. It is suitable for preparing soft-cooked (bath), toasted and seasoned mixture, and energy weaning food

Strain using a strainer and use as required. It may be used in either savoury or sweet snacks. Rice flakes are most commonly used to make especially creamy puddings but can also be used to make savoury bakes. Poha patties can also be made by soaking poha and binding it with potatoes, chillies and coriander. Roast it or fry it, and enjoy with mint chutney or ketchup.

Poha is a good source of complex carbohydrates that provide energy and also high in fibre and rich in protein. Poha is lactose free, Fat free and Heart healthy and good source of 11 essential vitamins and minerals including iron.

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