Poha is an easy and delicious Indian breakfast recipe popular in western and central India. Made with flattened rice, onion, and potatoes and seasoned with mild spices, curry leaves, peanuts, and cilantro, this recipe also makes up for a quick mid-day snack.

Poha garnished with peanuts and pomegranate in a white bowl with 2 cups of chai

My mother-in-law is from Indore, and over there, poha with jalebi is a tradition for breakfast. It is one of the most popular street foods there. The first thing that comes to her mind for breakfast is poha.

I also found the poha there was different than the Kanda Poha I was used to in Mumbai or that my mom made.

Indori Poha is khatta meetha..which means sour and sweet. Fennel seeds are added to the poha, which gives it a wonderful taste and aroma. Poha, when served, is topped with Ratlami sev (now we do it with bhujai) and pomegranate seeds. The most unusual one added as a garnish is chopped onions. But once you have it, you might start enjoying the crunch!

On the other hand, in Maharashtra, peanuts are added to poha, which is a must in authentic Maharashtrian Kanda Batata Poha (kanda means onions, and batata means potato).

I love poha in any way. And it is a weekly ritual in my house. Poha with Masala Chai is like weekend morning done right!

So, the poha I am sharing today has the goodness of both Indore and Maharashtra poha. Hope you enjoy it!

You might enjoy other popular Indian breakfast recipesSabudana Khichdi, Khaman Dhokla, and Semiya Upma.

What is Poha?

Poha is basically rice flakes that have been parboiled, rolled, and flattened. In English, poha is called flattened rice or beaten rice.

They vary in thickness and have uneven edges. They carry a bland taste and can absorb a large amount of water. The medium and thin variety of poha can become more mushy than the thick variety. I highly recommend using a thick variety of poha for this recipe. The thin variety is best for my poha chivda recipe.

You can also find poha varieties with varying colors due to the ingredients they are made from – Red and brown poha made from red and brown rice respectively. These varieties can be used to make this poha recipe.

Poha is easy to cook and can be a light, delicious, and nutritious breakfast or mid-afternoon snack. It can be used to make both sweet and savory recipes.

poha, flattened or beaten rice flakes in a bowl

This flattened rice or poha is used to make the popular breakfast dish called “Poha.” The flattened rice is mixed with aromatics such as curry leaves, onions, and seasonings, along with add-ons such as potatoes, green peas or peanuts.

In Maharashtra, poha is often served garnished with cilantro/coriander leaves and freshly grated coconut. In Indore, you will also find it served with raw chopped onions, bhujia (thick sev), and pomegranate seeds.

Variations

Maharashtrian Poha: The Maharashtrian poha is also known as Kanda Batata poha, where “Kanda” means onions and “Batata” means potatoes; it is garnished with grated coconut and peanuts.

Indori Poha: The Indori poha is garnished with sev, sliced onions, and fennel seeds.

Jain Poha: You can make poha without onions for a Jain variation.

Lemon Poha: While I always love to add lime or lemon juice at the end as a garnish for poha, you can add a little extra lemon juice and make Lemon Poha. You might also like the Lemon Rice recipe.

Vegetable Poha: You can also add other veggies like diced bell peppers, green peas, corn, or grated carrots to make vegetable poha.

How to Make Poha?

Before making poha, you need to wash it well under running water and let it rest in a strainer. Ensure that all the poha flakes are wet.

Then, gather the required ingredients: onions, potatoes, peanuts, and spices. Dice the onions and potatoes along with fresh green chilies.

  • Place a heavy bottom pan on the stovetop, add some oil, and let it heat on a medium-high flame.
  • Then add peanuts to the oil, if you like, and sauté them well. You can skip this step if you don’t like peanuts or are allergic to them.
  • Once the peanuts are well roasted, remove them from the pan and set them aside on a dry plate.
Preparation steps to make poha
  • Then add the cumin and mustard seeds to the oil and let them sizzle a bit.
  • Add the curry leaves, sliced green chilies, and diced onions to the oil and sauté them well.
  • Then add the diced potatoes, mix them well with onions, and cover the pan for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then, open the lid and let the potatoes cook on medium-high heat. Break a potato with a spatula to check if it is cooked well. You want the potatoes to be cooked well before adding the poha.
How to make poha in a pan step by step
  • Then add turmeric, salt, sugar, and the strained poha to the pan. Keep mixing them all gently till the poha becomes yellow in color.
  • Once you add poha to the pan, turn the heat to low so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. Also, it stays hot until you mix all the ingredients thoroughly.
  • You can cover the pan for a few minutes to absorb the flavor in the poha. If the poha seems dry, you can sprinkle some water on it and cover it with a lid.
  • Finally, turn off the heat and open the lid. Sprinkle some fresh lime juice along with the roasted peanuts (if using) that you set aside.
  • Taste the poha and adjust the salt according to your preference. Garnish this delicious breakfast poha with fresh cilantro leaves or any other garnishes like sev or pomegranate seeds.
Poha with garnishes of sev, cilantro and pomegranate seeds

Tips to Make Perfect Fluffy Poha

Follow these tips to make the perfect, moist and fluffy poha:

  • I usually use medium or thick (preferred) variety of poha for this recipe. Thin poha will become quite mushy, and you won’t get the right texture.
  • Rinse the poha till it becomes soft and let it rest in the colander while you prep and sauté the onions and potatoes.
  • While adding the potatoes to the poha, make sure to dice them up really small so that they cook quickly.
  • You can add peanuts for an extra bit of crunch, and a touch of sugar will give it a wonderful taste. I highly recommend not to skip the sugar, as it balances the flavors very well.
  • In case your poha seems a dry bit, sprinkle some water and mix it once.
  • Garnishes are always a must for poha. The popular ones are lime juice, sev, and cilantro. You can also add sev or bhujia and pomegranate seeds.
  • Storing Leftovers: Poha is always best enjoyed immediately, but if you are storing it for later use, then keep it in an airtight container. Sprinkle some water on top and reheat in the microwave.
poha with garnishes and masala chai

I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious breakfast! Don’t forget to share how you enjoyed it.

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5 from 12 votes

Poha (Easy Kanda Poha)

Poha is an easy and delicious Indian breakfast recipe popular in western and central India. Made with flattened rice, onion, potatoes, and seasoned with mild spices, curry leaves, peanuts and cilantro, this recipe also makes up for a quick mid-day snack.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3

Ingredients 

Garnishes when serving (optional)

  • Sev , as needed, or bhujia
  • Pomegranate seeds, as needed
  • Coconut, freshly grated

Instructions 

  • Add poha to a strainer and rinse under running water until the water runs clear. Make sure all the poha is wet. Let it rest while you sauté the other ingredients.
  • Heat a heavy bottom pan on medium-high heat. Add oil to the pan and let it heat.
  • (optional )Add the peanuts and saute for 1-2 minutes while stirring continuously. When they are roasted, take out in a plate and set aside.
  • Add cumin seeds and mustard seeds to the oil and let them sizzle.
  • Add the curry leaves and green chili pepper. Then, add the diced onions and stir well. Saute for a minute.
  • Add the diced potatoes. Mix well with the onions. Now cover the pan with a lid and cook on medium-low heat until the potatoes are cooked completely. Open the lid and stir. Break a potato piece with the spatula to ensure it is cooked well. (It is important to cut the potatoes into small pieces so they cook quickly in 3-4 minutes)
  • Add turmeric, salt, sugar, and poha to the pan. Mix gently until all the poha gets the yellow turmeric color. Change to low heat and cover the pan for 2 minutes. This helps to heat the poha.
  • Turn off the heat and open the lid. Sprinkle lime juice, add back the roasted peanuts (if using).
  • You can taste test and adjust salt as needed. Garnish with cilantro leaves and any optional garnishes.

Notes

Variety of poha: I usually use medium or thick (preferred) variety of poha for this recipe. Thin poha will become quite mushy, and you won’t get the right texture.
Potatoes: Make sure to dice potatoes really small so that they cook quickly.
Sugar: I highly recommend not skipping the sugar, as it balances the flavors very well.
Poha is dry? In case your poha seems a dry bit, just sprinkle some water and mix it once.
Vegetable Poha: You can also add other veggies like diced bell peppers, green peas, corn, or grated carrots to make vegetable poha.
Storing: Poha is always best enjoyed immediately, but if you are storing it for later use, then keep it in an airtight container.

Nutrition

Calories: 380kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 7gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 901mgPotassium: 348mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 139IUVitamin C: 88mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 3mg

Additional Info

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten-free, Vegan
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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17 Comments

  1. I like the poha recipe. Where I live there is no flatten rice. Can I replace it with normal rice?

    1. Hi Lil – Poha cooks very quickly. Hence, it does not need any pressure cooking. However, if you prefer, you can cook it in saute mode in the instant pot.

  2. Great recipe! I garnished it with coriander leaves, sev and fresh pomegranate seeds fir breakfast with chai masala. my husband wanted 4x the lime juice on his.

  3. I made it today for breakfast. It tasted so good with peanut and pomegranate. My 3 year old loved it as well. Thank you.

  4. Poha came out nicely. A bit of sugar and some ground, frozen coconut thawed added as garnish made it tasty!

  5. I made Poha for my family on mother’s day and they loved it. I have prepared this recipe several times before and it always comes out soooooo delicious, I love it.
    Thank you for your recipes, they are always delicious, easy to follow and they always come out good.

    1. Hi Viraj – I would not recommend to pressure cook poha. You can make it on saute mode, but that would be the same as making it in a pan on stovetop. Hope you enjoy the poha!