Chirer Pulao/ Bengali style Poha/Flattened Rice Pilaf…ready to engage!!

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Chirer Pulao/ Bengali style Poha/Flattened Rice Pilaf…been a while since I posted a Bengali recipe…the mere mention of poha, samosa, chaat, gol gappa and you have an army of foodies raising the flags of their cities or states claiming that it can only be done to perfection in their city…the discussion and at times arguments can last for hours at a stretch…and at the end of it all, not that there is an end to any of it, everybody walks away still sticking to the belief that their city or state does it the best…add to that mix, a  minor change or two you make to the recipe to suit your own tastes and preferences and you will have that entire army standing at your doorstep ready to teach you how it actually should be done…I am expecting the same reaction for replacing cauliflower with broccoli in mine as according to purists the rest of the veggies can come and go but there can be no Chirer Pulao without potatoes, peas and cauliflower!!

Chirer Pulao (Bengali style Poha/Flattened Rice Pilaf)

Ingredients

  • Thick Poha/Chire/Flattened rice/Beaten rice, 2 cups
  • Peanuts, about 2 tbsp
  • Cashews, halved, about 2 tbsp (skipped this time)
  • Raisins, a few, optional (I skip because neither one of us likes it)
  • Green cardamom, 1
  • Cinnamon, about an inch long piece
  • Bayleaf, 1
  • Fresh Ginger, grated/paste, 1 tsp
  • Green chilies, finely chopped or slit lengthways, 1-2 (remove all or some of the seeds if you want)
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1 small
  • Potato, peeled and cubed, 1 medium size
  • Cauliflower or Broccoli or both, cut into small florets, about 1 cup
  • Green peas, ½ cup
  • Carrot, cubed/diced, ¼ cup
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, ½ tsp to 1 tsp (optional, I often skip it especially when I am using carrots)
  • Oil, 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
  • Ghee, 1 tsp (or use 1 tsp oil instead)
  • A squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • Fresh Coriander leaves, chopped, a handful

Instructions

Place poha in a colander and wash it under cold running water. Keep aside and let it drain.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a thick bottomed pan.

Add in the peanuts and fry on low heat till they start changing colour. Add in cashews and raisins. Fry along with peanuts till cashews are lightly browned. Constantly keep on stirring and don’t let the peanuts burn. Drain well with slotted spoon and keep aside.

Add in the potatoes and shallow fry till they turn golden brown. Drain well and keep aside.

If using cauliflower, shallow fry that as well till the edges start going crispy and lightly browned. Drain well and keep aside.

In the same pan add in the remaining 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp ghee.  Add in the green cardamom, cinnamon and bayleaf.

When the spices start to crackle, add in the onions and green chilies. Sauté till onions go translucent.

Add in ginger paste, carrots and green peas. Sauté for 3-4 minutes till the vegetables are cooked but still retain their crunch.

Add in broccoli and stir for another minute or so.

Add in the salt and sugar. Mix well.

Add in the drained out poha, fried potatoes and cauliflower. Stir and mix well so that the poha gets coated well all the other ingredients.

Cover and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Switch off the heat. Mix in the lemon juice and coriander leaves. Sprinkle the nuts and raisins and give a final stir.

Serve hot or warm for breakfast, a light lunch or evening snack.

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