For many Puneites or Maharashtrians, a poha program is a running joke, but for some, a pretty hair-raising experience. For the non-Maharashtrians, a poha program is the occasion when a boy of marriageable age and the decision makers of his family go to a girl’s house for the purpose of an arranged marriage. Decision makers in this case may or may not include the two parties actually getting hitched. The meeting usually takes place during the evening hours, somewhere around tea time, but much before dinner time. The most popular dish that is served at this time is kanda pohe — very quick and easy to make, and really hard to screw up. And no matter who makes the poha, it is always passed off as a shining example of the bride-to-be’s many special talents. For those of you guys who fell in love without first testing the poha-power of your bride to be, you can still fix a decent plate for
yourselves. Here’s how:
3 cups thick poha
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 potato, cut into small pieces
3-4 chiles, each cut into 3-4 pieces
6-7 curry leaves (kaddipatta)
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
3/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (coriander)
1/2 cup oil
Salt to taste
1/2 cup fresh coconut, shredded
1 lemon, cut into quarters
Soak poha in a sieve and drench completely.
Place it aside.
Place oil in a deep pot on medium heat.
Add mustard seeds and curry leaves.
Once mustard seeds splatter, add — in this order — chili, onion and potato.
Cover with a lid. Stir occasionally.
When potatoes are cooked, then add
Poha, turmeric, sugar, salt and coriander.
Mix well, and close lid.
Cook for 4-5 min. on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Serve hot in a flat quarter plate with a slice of lemon.
Garnish with coconut and cilantro.
Indrajeet Chandrachud is an art director and artist in New York who original is from Pune, India. He is the author of the blog http://potoba.blogspot.com/ where he writes about cooking food from home and fun stories relating to Pune and India..