A staple Indian breakfast dish made with flattened rice and fragrant spices



If you’re looking for a standout savory breakfast, look no further. In my “5 Countries Tell Us What They Have for Breakfast” series, I was happy to share this Indian dish called poha, or shaved rice cereal. Poha was one of the first Indian dishes I learned to make myself, and I have since made it many times. I truly enjoy the refreshing flavors and simplicity of the cooking process. 

This recipe comes from Misha, who is from Kanpur, India. The term “poha” translates to flattened rice, the main ingredient in this recipe. It does not require many spices, unlike many other Indian recipes, and it gets its yellow color from turmeric. Poha originated in the city of Indore in Madhya Pradesh, but nearly all states have their own recreations of this savory breakfast. Due to work, Misha’s family usually doesn’t get to enjoy breakfast together on weekdays. So, on Sundays, Misha shops for the ingredients, her grandmother makes the chutney, and her mom cooks the dish. Teamwork makes the dream work! 

My poha was delicious. The salty, tangy, sour, and somewhat spicy final product is the perfect way to wake up your tongue in the morning! Although not many spices are involved, the flavors are very complex. I have a feeling curry leaves will become your best friend after you try this dish. Misha likes to top it off with roasted peanuts, chopped coriander, and the juice from half a lemon. I think these additions boast added freshness and texture! 

I truly believe this is one of the best savory breakfasts out there. As Misha tells us, making and eating poha together is what makes it so special. So, enjoy the cooking and eating processes with your loved ones, and let us know how you like it!

Watch the Video


  • ½ cup poha (flattened rice) thick variety
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp neutral oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ small potato chopped into small cubes
  • ¼ cup onion finely chopped
  • 1-2 green chilis finely chopped
  • 2-3 curry leaves (medium to large sized)
  • 1 Tbsp grated coconut for garnish, optional
  • cilantro leaves for garnish, optional


  • Pick the poha first of any debris or small stones. Rinse the poha flakes in clean running water in a strainer or colander twice or thrice.
  • Make sure that you do not rinse the poha flakes too much or else they break and get mushy. While rinsing, the poha flakes absorb enough water and they become soft.
  • The poha must become soft but remain intact, whole and separate. If they do not become soft, add a splash of water on them in the strainer and mix till they get softened.
  • After rinsing, the poha flakes should loose their crunchiness and when you break them between your fingers, they should easily get crushed or mashed.
  • When the poha have softened nicely, sprinkle the turmeric powder, and salt evenly on the poha. Gently mix with a spoon or with clean fingers.
  • Roast the peanuts in a small frying pan till they become crunchy with a few blisters on the peanut skins. Set aside.
  • In a heavy kadai, heat oil. Sauté the potatoes in medium hot oil till light golden and crisp. Stir them often for even frying. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • In the same kadai, there will be some oil left. Add mustard seeds to the hot oil.If there is no oil, then add 1 tablespoon oil and heat it gently and then add the mustard seeds.
  • When the mustard seeds splutter, add the cumin seeds.
  • When the cumin seeds crackle, add the onions. Sauté the onions till they become translucent and soften.
  • Now add the curry leaves, chopped green chillies and roasted peanuts. Sauté for a minute on low heat.
  • Add the fried potatoes and then the rinsed poha. Mix gently with the rest of the sautéed ingredients.
  • Cover the pan tightly with a lid for the poha to get steamed for about 2 minutes on low heat.
  • Remove the lid and check the taste and if required add more salt.
  • Turn off the heat and cover the pan tightly with a lid for the poha to get steamed for a few minutes.
  • Remove the lid and garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and grated coconut if desired. Serve right away!
Course: Breakfast
Region: Asia
Diet: Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: Kid Friendly


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While it may look simple, this dish is nothing like you’ve ever experienced