Pomegranate and Fennel Seed Poha
Poha is a cook’s secret weapon. It’s rice, but it cooks in just 5 minutes: as it’s flattened and beaten, you only need to dunk it in some cold water before throwing it into your dish.
I first ate this poha for breakfast on a rooftop in Udaipur in Rajasthan when I was weary after an overnight train ride from Jaipur, across the desert. The next morning I asked Chef Suresh to teach me to make it and was really surprised to see just how easy it was.
This dish would make an excellent lunch or brunch. You might be able to find poha under its pseudonyms ‘flattened rice’ or ‘beaten rice’ in the supermarket or in an Indian grocer’s shop.
- 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
- ½ tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 large red onion, finely sliced
- 200g thick poha
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- a handful of garden peas (frozen are fine)
- juice of 1 lemon
- seeds of ½ a pomegranate
- 80g sev or Bombay mix
- a big bunch of fresh coriander (40g), chopped
Watch Meera prepare her delicious Pomegranate and Fennel Seed Phoa in our video tutorial.
Put the oil into a wide-bottomed, lidded frying pan on a medium heat and, when it’s hot, add the fennel and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the onion and fry for around 12 minutes, until lightly caramelized.
Meanwhile, put the poha into a sieve and gently rinse under cold water for a few minutes, until the water runs clear, then drain and set aside.
Once the onion is caramelized, add the turmeric, salt and peas. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes, then add the drained poha and cover with the lid. Cook for a further 5 minutes. Check the poha is cooked through and not raw (it should be soft but with some bite, like cooked pasta), then take it off the heat.
To finish, squeeze the lemon juice over the poha and check the salt. Pop on to a plate and garnish with the pomegranate seeds, sev and chopped coriander.