Poha (Aval)

Flattened rice cooked in fresh herbs

Poha (Aval) is parboiled rice (rice partially boiled in the husk) which is flattened. It is available in different thicknesses. For this dish you need thick poha. Poha is nutritionally superior to white rice as parboiling retains most of the nutrients. Parboiling also increases the formation of resistant starch which can act as a prebiotic and promote gut health. Poha can be consumed with little or no cooking and is easier to digest.

  1. Pick over poha, wash and drain. Soak in 1 ½ cups water for 30 minutes. Do not drain.

  2. In a large saucepan, heat oil and cumin seeds over a moderate heat. When cumin starts to sizzle, add peanuts, fry until they turn light brown. Stir in curry leaves and dry red chilli. Add onion, garlic, green chillies and ginger. Fry, until onion is transparent. Add peas, stir fry until cooked. Sprinkle a little bit of water if necessary to prevent peas sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir in turmeric and salt. 

  3. Add poha with its water, mix well and cook until all the water is absorbed. Add coconut, coriander leaves and lemon juice. Mix well. Turn off the heat.

Serve with cucumber raitha or tomato pachadi.


  • grated fresh coconut is available in Indian shops

Per serve: energy 822 kJ (196 cal); protein 6 g; fat 7 g; saturated fat 2 g; cholesterol 0 mg; carbohydrate 23 g; fibre 8 g; calcium 47 mg; iron 3 mg; sodium 402 mg

Serves 3


½ cup thick poha (flattened rice)


1 tablespoon peanut or extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon raw peanuts

8-10 curry leaves (optional)

1 dry red chilli, broken into 2 pieces

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 large clove garlic, crushed

1-3 green chillies, chopped

1 cm piece ginger, chopped

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

½ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon salt


1 tablespoon grated fresh coconut (optional)

½ cup chopped coriander leaves

1-2 tablespoons lemon juice