Poha or Powa: Indian Rice Dish

Poha or Powa: Indian Rice Dish

The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
346 Calories
14g Fat
48g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 346
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 161mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 48g 18%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 14mg 71%
Calcium 37mg 3%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 794mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

From western India, poha is easy to cook and often eaten for breakfast or brunch. The name poha actually refers to both the dish and the flattened rice used to make it. Frying the rice with a seasoned mix of onions, peanuts, and potatoes creates a quick meal that makes a great take-along lunch as well.

A staple in Indian kitchens, poha is white rice that is parboiled, flattened, and dried. It's also called parched rice or beaten rice and looks more like flakes than rice. You can find it at international markets that specialize in Indian foods, and it's readily available from online stores. When buying poha for this recipe, be sure to get thick poha because thin poha will create a mushy dish.

Once you have poha, it's time to make poha (the dish, that is). You can use any type of mustard seeds, from yellow to black, to fry with the curry leaves and green chiles. While optional, the peppers give this dish a spicy kick, and you can adjust it to taste. Onion, potato, and unsalted peanuts are added to the frying pan, turmeric turns it into a yellow rice dish, and lime juice gives it a nice zing. Cilantro is commonly added as a garnish, and poha tastes great when served with a mint-coriander chutney.


  • 2 cups poha or (flattened rice)

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, such as vegetable, canola, or sunflower

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 5 to 6 curry leaves

  • 2 green chiles, slit lengthwise, optional

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • Handful unsalted peanuts, skins removed

  • 1 large potato, quartered and thinly sliced (or 2 medium potatoes)

  • 1 pinch turmeric

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1/2 lime

  • Salt, to taste

  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Poha flattened rice ingredients

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  2. Put the poha in a sieve and wash under running water for 2 minutes.

    Wash rice in sieve

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  3. Set aside to drain.

    Set aside washed rice

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  4. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, and green chiles, if using.

    Add mustard seeds, green chilies, and curry leaves to skillet

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  5. Fry until the spluttering stops, then add the onion and fry until they're soft and translucent.

    onions and spices in a skillet

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  6. Add the peanuts and potato and stir frequently, cooking for 2 to 3 minutes.

    Add potatoes and peanuts to skillet with the onion mixture

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  7. Drain the poha completely to remove all water and add it to the potato mixture. Add the turmeric powder and stir well to blend all of the ingredients.

    Drain poha rice and add turmeric

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  8. Cook for another minute. Turn off the heat. Pour lime juice over the poha and mix well.

    add lime juice to the rice mixture in the pan

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  9. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve while hot.

    Poha or Powa: Indian Rice Dish in a pan

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Recipe Tags: