In my previous post, where in the list of 7 things, I mentioned I am a stickler for routines. It may come as a surprise even to people who have known me for years.But without a pattern to my daily life, I am a goner. I look for reassurance that a daily routine lends to my life. The simple idea wherein, certain activities have to be performed at a certain time, every single day, provides the much-needed succor in the otherwise chaotic events that life constantly presents. Certain days are shakier than others and to come out alive and unscathed to the solid ground that a routine provides is something I do not take for granted. Every single day requires that we think and process information and take tough decisions and it is only a routine that lets the brain go passive and lets it relax by making us function involuntarily.
From getting up everyday at 5 45 am till the time I hit the bed at 10 30 pm or 11 pm, I feel secure with the idea that most things wouldn’t change no matter what new circumstances present themselves without a prior warning. Having said that, it is a given that I do not adjust to change easily. Probably it has also to do with the fact that I am a taurus who tend to resist change with all that they can. I have never been good at change and usually take a horrible amount of effort and time to not spin out of control.
Funnily if you meet me I may come across as the spur of the moment kind of person but at a much primitive level, my need to adhere to a routine is way stronger. I pretend to enjoy spontaneity most of the times but my poor brain at that time is dealing with an emergency short-circuit. Marrying a man who is also routine-oriented, made my life a lot easier.
Before Mimi was born, I had a set pattern to very single day which largely meant going to work and having a fitness routine in place. Weekends were meant for the spontaneous stuff that didn’t make me the boring figure that I have already succeeded in establishing myself as in the first few paragraphs of this post. I went dancing, took dancing classes, met friends, made short trips, watched movies and did things that didn’t mirror my weekdays. When Mimi arrived, inspite of all the mental notes and preparations, my life took a 180 degree flip and routines were sent flying out of the window. I grappled, coaxed, pepped talked myself and even after 2 years of being a stay at home mum, I didn’t have a routine in place. I just couldn’t manage. At all times, I felt like a failure. Now with my job, a new routine has been staring at me, claws and fangs baring. The past week has been chaotic but some semblance of what seems like a routine that may last seems to be taking shape. I know I will have to work towards getting the details in place and every day is going to be a step towards that.
Ironically, I know the blog speaks about something completely different but consider that as a testimony of my futile attempts to steady my routine- less life the past 2 and a half years. But a few things still didn’t change and that were my breakfast habits. Poha which is flattened rice is one of my family’s favourite breakfast options. Without fail, poha turns up on our breakfast table atleast twice a week. Embellished or unadorned, this makes for a tasty and filling breakfast. During my recent trip to India, I happened to eat a divine version of this humble dish and swore to recreate the magic during one of our Poha breakfast days.
Poha, in my honest opinion, does require a certain level of skill. My initial attempts at it ended in large mass of yellow lumps. Finally after practicing for a few months, I started to get it right. Now it seems like I can do it with my eyes closed. The base recipe remains the same but it can be garnished with anything that you please. I made 3 different versions with different garnishes such as peanuts, pomegranate, sev, boondi and cheese.
Recipe for Poha
Poha – 2 and half cups ( use the thicker variety as the thinner versions tend to disintegrate)
Red onions – 3 medium-sized or 2 large ( we love a lot of onions in our poha)
Peanuts ,skinned and boiled – a handful
Turmeric – 1/2 a tsp
salt to taste
green chillies, chopped - 1 or 2 ( optional. I didn’t use any)
Sugar – 1 tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
cumin seeds – 2 tsp
fresh coriander for garnish
Lemon juice – a few tbsp
pomegranate – for garnish
boondi, sev, scrape some cheese – as per your preference.
1. Wash and chop onions finely and keep aside
2. In a kadhaai/ wok heat some oil and brown cumin seeds.
3. Add the onions and let them turn translucent.
4. Meanwhile while the onions are cooking, wash the poha on a sieve under a tap. Squeeze out water as carefully as you can. You want only an optimum amount of water to be absorbed by poha otherwise it will reduce into a lump when you start cooking.
5. Once the onions have cooked, add turmeric, salt, sugar, peanuts and let it be for a few seconds before you add the washed poha.
6. Mix it up well. Poha doesn’t really need any cooking so once all of this is thoroughly mixed you can just take it off the heat and garnish it with fresh chopped coriander and others of your choice.
7. Add lemon juice and mix well.
8. Serve hot with chai.
The other options that can be added to make poha as varied as possible are chopped, boiled potatoes, peas , carrots etc.
Even on days when every bit of my life is off track, making and serving poha tells me all is not lost. It reminds me that my routine however a little skewed, exists. Breakfast fads may come and go but good old poha always stays in my list of meals for all seasons.