Chooda – The ultimate comfort food

It has been so sunny here in London for the past few days and quite pleasant. However, there was a heavy downpour yesterday out of the blue and it reminded me of monsoons in India. When it pours continuously the whole day, it gets really cold and there is nothing you want more than family and friends around you and hot sweet tea with something savoury to munch. Hubby was at office so I decided to make the most basic Indian comfort food with the ultimate munch factor, chooda. No matter which part of India you go to, it exists and rules. The way of preparation might be different and the ingredients might be native to the region, but you can always find some stocked in air tight boxes in the store room.

Mom used to pack some homemade chooda (prepared according to my specifications of course) when I would leave for college after my vacations. MIL has her own way of making it. The beauty is you can mould it according to your own tastes. Despite so many varieties, unfortunately, I could not find any of the recipes on any of the food blogs. Hopefully this article will be able to guide chooda enthusiasts in the right direction.

Basically, you can make chooda as rich as you like or as diet oriented as you like. I have chosen the middle path here. There is very little oil but a lot of crunchy bits and pieces in it. Before diving into the ingredient list, you need a huge air tight container first. Go for a 5 litre one atleast as the prepared ingredients expand in size and take up more space. I used a 7 litre box and believe me, it got full by the time I was over with the dish.

Ingredients

250 g pohe (beaten rice)

200 g layi (puffed rice)

½ cup red peanuts with skins

2 tbsp dalwa or chana dal

15 whole almond

15 whole cashewnuts

1 cup coriander leaves, chopped

Turmeric powder

Table Salt

Black Salt

Red chilli powder

2 whole red chillies

4-5 tbsp Sugar

2 tbsp mustard seeds

Chaat masala (optional)

Oil

Chooda served in little cones for a trip down memory lane

Heat a large wok and spread 1 tbsp oil in it so it coats the inside evenly. Wait till the wok is hot. Turn down the heat and put in 2 cup pohe. Use two wooden spoons to fold the pohe like you would fold noodles. This prevents the pohe from breaking and coats them with oil evenly. Cook till pohe are crisp. Transfer to a the large container. Repeat the process till all pohe is prepared.

Spoon in 1 tbsp of oil and add 2 tsp turmeric powder. Mix and put in 2 cups of laayi. Again fold in as you did for pohe. The difference this time is that the laayi will not only become crisp but also get a lovely yellow color. Make sure the laayi is evenly yellow all over. You can make pohe also yellow like this. Repeat the process you used for pohe till all laayi is prepared. Transfer to the same container as pohe.

Add 1 tbsp oil in the same wok and roast the peanuts in it. Transfer to the container. Repeat the process with dalwa. You can also add roasted chana.

Break the cashewnuts into halves. Add 1 tsp oil in the same wok and roast them till light pink.  Transfer to the container. Repeat the process with almonds. Another ingredient you can use is slivered dry coconut.

Break off the leaves of coriander and chop them. Roast them in 1 tbsp oil till crispy. This gives a lovely colour to the chooda. You can also use curry leaves in its place.

Heat two tbsp oil in the wok and add mustard seeds to it. When they start to pop, tear the red chillies into halves and put in the wok. Add 4-5 tbsp salt and 2 tbsp red chilli powder and stir for 2 seconds. Pour it in the container.

Grind the sugar and add 2 tbsp to the chooda mix.

Take a big spoon and mix all the ingredients in the container carefully. Adjust the flavours with table salt, black salt, red chilli powder, sugar and chaat powder.

Everything is mixed together in the end but prepared separately as the cooking time for each ingredient is different. This might lead to one ingredient being overcooked and the other undercooked.

Put the lid back on till the next time.

Ravishing Rice Recipe – Pohe

If you want to prepare a filling meal in 15 mins, the best and easiest one is Pohe. Poha is flattened rice or beaten rice which is made when rice is dehusked and flattened into light and dry flat dry flakes. They swell when added to milk or water thus making a very filling dish. The thickness of this rice tpe varies making it suitable for the preparation of a number of dishes.

Poha - flattened rice

Pohe is a popular Indian recipe. Poha is the raw form and the dish is called pohe. It makes a meal in its own right and is extremely filling.

This recipe has been submitted to Monthly Mingle # 33 hosted by Edible Garden.

This recipe has also been submitted to 15 minute cookinglogo

This recipes has also been posted to WCF:Quick Meal Event.

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Pohe can be served as is or with tomato ketchup or pudina chutney. They can also be served with aloo bhujia/sev and dahi as per Marwari tradition. Pohe can also be served with pickle as per Telugu tradition.

Ingredients

250 gms pohe

1 large potato

½ cup groundnuts

1 large onion

2 tblsp oil

1 green chilli

1 tblsp turmeric powder (haldi)

2 tblsp salt

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp Mustard seeds (rai)Sugar 1 tblsp

1 large lemon

1/4 cup green peas (optional)

 

Yummy Pohe

Yummy Pohe

Wash pohe in a sieve under flowing water and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan. Roast peanuts in it and keep aside. Dice potato to form 1 cm pieces. Fry in the oil and keep aside. Chop onion and fry it till light pink. Add mustard seeds and green chilli along with potato and peanuts. Add all the masala along with sugar and pohe. Let the pohe cook for 5 mins till the rawness is gone. Take off the gas and add lemon. Serve hot.

Tip: Do not add lemon to any dish while it is cooking. The dish will become sour.

Really Easy Breakfast Recipe – Pohe

If you want to whip up a breakfast in 10 minutes with absolutely no prior preparation, then pohe in your best bet. It is delicious, filling and makes a healthy snack. Pohe can be served as is or with tomato ketchup or pudina chutney. They can also be served with aloo bhujia/sev and dahi as per Marwari tradition. Pohe can also be served with pickle as per Telugu tradition.

Preparation Time – 15 mins

Servings – 6 people

Ingredients

Pohe 250 gms

1 large potato (optional)

½ cup groundnuts (optional)

1 large onion (optional)

Oil 2 tblsp

1 green chilli

Haldi 1 tblsp

Salt 2 tblsp

Red chilli powder 1 tsp

Mustard seeds (rai) 1 tsp

Sugar 1 tblsp

1 large lemon

Delicious Pohe

Delicious Pohe

Take the poha in a sieve and wash it with water while using a light hand. Heat oil in a pan and roast groundnuts in it. Remove and keep separately. Chop potato finely and fry in the same pan till slightly golden brown. Remove and keep separately. Add rai to the remaining oil and fry finely chopped onion and chopped green chilli next. Add the poha and the salt, sugar, red chilli powder and haldi to it and mix. Add the potato and the groundnuts and mix. Let the pohe cook for 5 minutes on low flame. Keep stirring at regular intervals. Take if off the gas and add lemon to it.

Tip: Add the lemon after taking pohe off the gas otherwise it will become bitter. Pohe can be prepared without potato, onion or groundnuts also. Optionally, a handful of green peas can also be added to pohe to bring color and flavor to it.