Of Routines & Breakfasts (with Poha)

19 Mar

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.

29 Responses to “Of Routines & Breakfasts (with Poha)”

  1. Meghna March 19, 2012 at 6:21 am #

    :-) I am like that too. Need a routine or I feel as if I have wasted my day!!!!
    and poha is one of my healthy favourites although never tried garnishing it with pomegranete!!! will try that out sometime!!!

    • Anita Menon March 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Wow. I am glad to find someone like me.

  2. I Live in a Frying Pan March 19, 2012 at 7:16 am #

    Love poha, my granny makes the best poha ever…we add potatoes too at the start, and they become nice and crunchy-mushy by the end of the cooking process.

    On the concept of routine…I really should get in the habit of laying one out for myself too – so scatterbrained! Need to learn from you.

    • Anita Menon March 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm #

      we all do what suits us. I am sure you do the best when you are being spontaneous

  3. Helene (@MasalaHerb) March 19, 2012 at 8:42 am #

    Now thats a totaly new way for me to prepare poha. I had published an article some while back about the flat rice sweet we prepare in goa. Your poha is more savoury with the peanuts and spices. interessting combination of ingredients, I am kean to try your recipe out anita and to enjoy it with a warm cup of chai!

    I can imagine that your daily routine gets a 180 turn with the arrival of a child.Routine is not bad, I have learned to believe that its even useful for the daily orientation and life organisation. I used to be good luck Helene before. lol BUT nowadays I enjoy my daily habits and plans. ;)

    • Anita Menon March 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

      ha ha. Loved it – Best of luck Helene.

  4. Bikram March 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    routine i get bored with sooon and thankfully in my job I can say no two days are the same you never whats gonna happen, like on friday I was to book off duty at 10pm , and I was returning to base when something came up and i was there till 2am in morning :)

    and i loved the recipe yummmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy

    • Anita Menon March 19, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

      wow. I would have burn and evaporate in a job like yours.

  5. Baker Street (@bakerstreet29) March 19, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Wow! I’ve never tried pomegranate or cheese in my poha!

  6. yummychunklet March 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I, too, like my routines, but I do notice that my cooking and baking take strange turns sometimes that turn out delicious. Great post!

    • Anita Menon March 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Mine do too… :D that much amount of change of routine, I don’t mind. Esp when it leads to something tasty.

  7. Deboshree March 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Thanks a lot for sharing this Anita! I have rarely been able to get poha right even though it seems like such an elementary thing to get together. Needless to say of course, that your pictures make the poha look so much more appealing! :D :D

    • Anita Menon March 19, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

      yes Poha can be tricky but once you understand how to do it right once, you are game for the rest of the times

  8. Suchismita Mazumdar March 19, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    As a kid I hated routines but with age I find a certain reassurance in them like you…the poha looks lovely and inviting :-)

    • Anita Menon March 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

      that is so correct. I guess you summed up my post beautifully. thanks Suchismita

  9. marie March 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    I cannot handle savory in the morning, but I think it’s great that so many countries do, probably a lot healthier. My sister lived in Thailand for 18 months and the Thai people thought it so weird that she put sugar and cinnamon on her rice in the morning for breakfast. Eventually she jumped on the bandwagon and just ate fish for breakfast like everyone else.

    • Anita Menon March 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

      Fish for breakfast!!! wow now that is something absolutely out of the ordinary.

  10. peppercornsinmypocket March 20, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    i could eat poha every day for breakfast (well, almost). and poha topped with cheese? wow, really? well, love poha, love cheese – what could go wrong? must try.
    here’s to you getting the rhythm of your routine back. i’ve never been one for routine; chose a career that threw routine out of the window. but since my daughter was born, i grown to appreciate it much more.

  11. Deeps @ Naughty Curry March 20, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    i make only one kind of poha, with roasted peanuts (husband is a big peanut fan), when i read that ahmedabad post of urs i loved the idea of cheese & pomogranate but totally forgot bout it! now that i have the recipe no more excuses im gonna try this the next time.. looks delish! oh im the same, once i have established a routine i like i adhere to it like glue..nothing irritates me more than when i have to change it.. ur a taurus? no wonder i get the deja vu everytime i read ur posts, im surrounded by them… my husband, mom & FIL are all taureans! :D

  12. Ameena March 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm #

    You and I are clones…I swear! My life totally spirals out of control when I don’t have a routine in place – which consists mostly of work and fitness. :)

    Maya has helped me ease up a bit but still! I have a long way to go.

    This looks delicious. I’ve never heard of poha but I hope to try it some day.

  13. Cass @foodmyfriend March 23, 2012 at 3:27 am #

    If you haven’t had breakfast, then you are not going to make it through the day. Well, I’m not! This looks beautiful. Have never had Poha and don’t know if I can get it in Sydney, but I would love to!

  14. marie March 23, 2012 at 4:25 am #

    I am not sure if I could ever get used to savory breakfasts. My sister lived in Thailand for a few years and they all thought she was nuts for putting sugar & cinnamon on her rice. Eventually she started eating fish for breakfast like everyone else.

    I think I may have figured out this whole new wordpress commenting situation, I’ll keep my fingers crossed it continues to work.

  15. Asmita (@FoodieAsmita) March 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    Being a Maharashtrian, Poha was made at my place every often. I love it!
    Your recipe looks great.

  16. La @ FoodSlice March 26, 2012 at 5:53 am #

    My parents sent me a big bag of Poha last month and i hadn’t cooked with it in ages, all new recipes are welcome.
    I used to have a routine when i had a job, but with a whimsical husband, i now take each day as it comes. Its still hard not having a plan for tomorrow. I am just getting by.

  17. varsha tiwary April 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    your photographs make me drool : seriously !!

  18. Meenakshi May 1, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    I made this today morning for a family breakfast…it was so yummy and everyone loved it! I didn’t have peanuts so used some diced aloo instead. So easy and yummy!

  19. Namkeen Wale June 11, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Great Stuff Anita. Viewers can Visit http://www.Namkeenwale.in for more Awesome snacks!


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