Monday, November 29, 2010

WHB Hosting and the Gluten Free Food Find of the Week: Poha

When groceries are so inexpensive at the Asian markets in Albany, I feel free to grab packets and bottles and cans of interesting-looking new edibles and fling them in my cart without remorse. We've discovered so many great naturally gluten-free new foods (one must still read labels diligently though) including new varieties of rice, a world of gluten-free noodles from all kinds of culinary traditions, and wildly exotic spices and sauces.

One of my new favorite discoveries is poha (also spelled pohe), a Western Indian comfort food. Poha is a quick cooking product made of pounded or flattened rice that is available in either thick or thin varieties. I bought a package of thick poha for $1.89 at the Indian Bazaar on Central Avenue in Albany that contained 4 cups of poha, enough for two separate dinners for our family of four.

According to my blogger colleague TongueTicklers, poha is one of the first solid foods that children smack their gums upon. She also notes that a dish of poha is a favorite breakfast or snack food and gets packed in many a lunchtime tiffin, whether it is cooked up savory or sweet. Since I have more of a salt tooth, I went savory for my poha test drives.

First I cooked up TongueTicklers' recipe for Kaanda Pohe, which pairs poha with sliced potatoes, which sounds like altogether too much starch, but which blends together beautifully. I added some (well, a lot) curry leaves that I sauteed with the spices and this was an aromatic and belly-filling dinner indeed. You soak your poha in water for a short while and then drain it in a colander. It absorbs the liquid and becomes sort of spongy, rather like a rolled oat, with a delightfully chewy texture.

I also tried poha again a week later without the peanuts, topped with the chopped up last blast of cilantro from the garden. Another winner.

Scheduled next on the Crispy Cook poha experiment trials will be this recipe for Mane Adige's recipe for Gojjavalakki, in which you whir your poha around in the blender or food processor and cook it up with tamarind, rasam powder and other spices. Sounds divine. But gotta trek back down to the Big City to buy more poha!

I am going to include this poha post in this week's edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is now in its fifth year, making it one of the Grand Old Dames of food blogging events. Weekend Herb Blogging started over at Kalyn's Kitchen and is now run by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything. The weekly event includes posts about edible plant ingredients, whether they be fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, legumes, herbs, or flowers. I always find out about new ingredients and new ways to prepare old favorites with this event.

As the guest host of Weekend Herb Blogging #262, I would love to showcase your blog post, which may contain a recipe or information about growing or using a plant ingredient, to include in my recap after this week's deadline of Sunday, December 5, midnight Eastern Standard Time. WHB submissions must include a link back to The Crispy Cook and to Haalo's WHB rules link. WHB submissions must also be specifically written for this blog event and not cross-posted to other blog events.

In your email submission (to oldsaratogabooks AT gmaildot coM) please include the following information:

* Your Name
* Your Blog Name/URL
* Your Post URL
* Your Location
* Attach a photo (please check the details below for specific photo requirements)

Looking forward to seeing what you and other great cooks from around the world will be submitting!


Jayne said...

Those dished look tasty, thanks for posting

jess said...

Poha also works as a nice breading for making things like fish and chips or fried chicken. I don't eat a lot of fried food, but on the occasion I crave it, the flattened rice flakes work nicely.

Simona Carini said...

I have never heard of poha/pohe before and now I am curious. Thanks for the informative post.

David said...

I love poha........And the recipe you mentioned here is quite different then my own recipe.....I want to try this recipe......
Gluten Free