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Also Known as
Poha, Powa, Flattened rice, Pressed rice, Flaked rice
Poha is nothing but rice that has been parboiled, rolled, flattened and then dried to produce flakes. The flakes come in different thicknesses depending on the pressure used in the flattening process. Rice flakes are small, very light, about 2mm long, flat and greyish white in colour. They have uneven edges and a rough texture. 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 capable of absorbing a large volume of liquid when used in various recipes, and hence imbibe 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.
How to Select
• Both medium and fine flakes are readily available in the market, so buy the one suitable for your recipe.
• Look inside the bag to make they are not too powdery, though some crumbling is inevitable.
• Rice flakes are very easy to cook and can make a meal in minutes. First wash the beaten rice in water and then soak for 10 minutes. Strain using a strainer and use as required to make sweet or savory snacks.
• Poha, made from rice flakes, is an easy-to-cook, light and nutritious snack that is often had for breakfast or brunch. Poha also makes a wonderful supper or a potluck dish.
• When garnished with coconut, fresh tomatoes and cilantro, the vibrant red, green and white against the brilliant yellow of the turmeric-infused poha never fails to excite your taste buds. While poha tastes just as good with curds and pickles, you can add extra zing to it by serving with Mint-Coriander Chutney!
• Rice flakes can be used for preparing soft-cooked, energy-packed weaning food.
• It can also be toasted and seasoned to make chiwda.
• Rice flakes are used to make creamy puddings and savory bakes too.
• Poha may be eaten raw like cereals, mixed with milk or yoghurt and fruit, or boiled like oatmeal.
• Add poha to your gravies; it will act like corn flour to thicken the food.
• 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.
• An exquisite snack can be prepared by immersing the rice flakes in cold water, drying them, and then preparing it like a pulao with nuts, raisins, black pepper, green chillies, salt and sugar to taste.
• When one is down with fever or an upset tummy, some rice flakes can be immersed in bowl of water, flavoured with lime juice, salt, sugar and a little black pepper, to make a comfort food.
• Beaten rice can be used to make a variant of the famous ‘curd rice’ or ‘bagala bath’ so popular in south India. Soak the beaten rice in water and drain. Mix curd and salt to it, and serve with mango or lime pickle.
• Raw or slightly toasted beaten rice can be mixed with jaggery and grated coconut, allowed to stand for a few minutes (not more) to soak in the flavours, and then served. This is often made as a quick neivedhya, when no elaborate sweets or foods have been prepared for offering to God after puja.
How to Store
• Store in a dry airtight jar, and use within three months.
• Beaten rice a lactose-free, fat-free and heart-friendly food.
• It is a good source of 11 essential vitamins and minerals including iron.
• As the flakes are usually pounded using an iron mortar and pestle, the process boosts the iron content.