Complexities command attention but simplicity has its own charm. We may spend a lot of time getting all ingredients in order and following precise instructions to dish out the perfect recipe yet not feel accomplished when its ready. On the contrary, the simplest of dishes manage to please our taste buds and soul in strange ways. Kanda pohe is one such dish for me. If there’s one thing I cannot live without, it’s the smell and taste of this simplistically elegant dish. Yes, I love it so much!
Kanda pohe is a popular Maharashtrian breakfast and snack recipe. Kanda means onions in Marathi. Pohe are flattened rice which are soaked in water and then tossed with onions, green chillies, groundnuts, curry leaves and other spices. They’re classically served hot with a garnish of grated fresh coconut, chopped coriander and a dash of lemon on the side. This enhances the taste of the pohe and doesn’t overpower its inherent flavour in any way. Kanda pohe are light, healthy, easy to digest and quick and easy to make.
Kanda pohe were a privilege for us when we were kids because of our morning school. The daily glass of milk, which Mom never compromised on, left little space in our tummies for anything else. We didn’t enjoy their altered taste even in the hot-pot lunchboxes. Sundays, with their infinite breakfast options, were excitedly awaited the entire week. More often than not though, kanda pohe won our vote. We almost always helped ourselves with second servings and felt full until lunchtime.
I entered the kitchen at a young age much against my Mom’s protests. While Dad openly demonstrated his dislike to her (“She must only study now!” he would say), she stared at my back helplessly wondering what mess I would leave behind me. After quietly witnessing few finger-cuts, burns, misplaced storage containers and loads of howling, she acceded my request and agreed to train me. Little surprise that kanda pohe was the first proper dish I made? 🙂
I might seem conceited here but I have a fairly decent hand in the kitchen. Cooking works like therapy for me. I don’t mind going the extra mile or putting an extra hour to get the right taste and texture of any dish. Luckily, my humble successes have far exceeded my abject failures and compliments have usually poured in for me liberally. The best one though is by far the one that this lovely dish got me.
We were a close-knit group of four in college; two boys and two girls. Both the boys were hostelites while both of us girls were localites. We had the best time with each other in our college campus and hardly felt any need to hangout anywhere else. We also belonged to different streams which meant different classes and practicals timings. Both the boys, S and S, were quite friendly with Mom and joined us for dinner often. R, the other girl, visited my home rarely since it was too far from her place.
We once went for an afternoon movie show together. It was still early evening by the time the show ended and we headed to my place for a cup of tea. I had skipped lunch that day and could feel my stomach rumbling hungrily. While they sat with Mom and fed her the latest gossip about my non-existent affairs in college, I quickly made tea and poha for all of us.
The boys had eaten it before but R tasted it for the first time. The smile she had on her face and the compliments she generously bestowed upon me made me blush. She applauded Mom for instilling excellent qualities in me, both in studies as well as in cooking. Mom couldn’t help beaming and her happiness showed. R ate to her heart’s content while S and S smirked at this newfound girl bonding.
Even after all these years whenever R and I talk she always insists me to invite her to my place for ‘the best kanda pohe in the world’. Who knew this simple dish would garner me such admiration?
There are many different poha versions but kanda pohe is my favourite. Which one is your favourite? Do share with me.
This post is written for #BlogchatterA2Z and #AtoZChallenge for April 2019
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