Masala Poha (Garam Masala Pohe/ Avalakki Aval Upma)

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My mother used to make this Poha (Flattened Rice) when we were younger. This is very easy to make and can be put together in about 10 minutes. This used to be a great hit with my college friends. Whenever I took this to college, my friends would make it a point to exchange lunch boxes with me and neatly finish off my stuff. Of course, my friends would not leave me hungry; they would be gracious enough to share their delicious food with me as well. I even remember that one of my friends used to call this “Poha Chaat”. Apparently it reminded her of Chaat mainly because of the sweet, spicy taste and also because of the presence of raw onions in the dish. This brought back so many memories when I made this at home recently.

The distinct flavor of this Poha comes by dry roasting cumin and coriander seeds and then powdering it. It is best to make this fresh as the store bought cumin and coriander powder does not do justice to the flavor. Traditionally the seasoning is done using coconut oil, but since most people do not use coconut oil for seasoning, vegetable oil could be used instead.

Please note that this is different from the regular Kanda Poha as the Poha is not cooked on stove top.


  • 1 1/2 cup thick poha
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • ½ Tbsp Coriander seeds
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • Red chilli powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar
  • Mustard seeds
  • Asafetida
  • Curry leaves
  • Coriander leaves for garnish
  • Coconut oil for seasoning ( use vegetable oil as substitute)




  • Soak the poha in enough water; let it sit until it turns soft. Drain the water completely. (Here in the US (States), even the thick poha/avalakki does not take time to turn soft, so exercise caution.
  • Dry roast cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Allow it to cool. Powder it using mortar and pestle or spread the roasted seeds on a sheet of paper. Now use the roti/chapathi rolling pin to make powder. 
  • The powder need not have to be very fine, but should not be coarse either.
  • Chop the onions finely and also the coriander leaves and keep aside. 


  • Add the dry powders, turmeric, chilli powder salt, and sugar to the poha and mix thoroughly but lightly using tip of the hand. 
  • Add the chopped onion and coconut to this mixture and mix well.
  • Now for the tadka(seasoning) heat oil, add mustard seeds, asafetida, curry leaves.
  • Put this onto the poha mixture and add chopped coriander leaves for garnish.


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Pineapple in Spicy Sweet Coconut Curry (Ananas Sasam)

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We have been married for quite a few years now, long enough to understand and predict each others tastes, likes and dislikes. Or so I thought, until a routine trip to the grocery proved that I had concluded a bit too soon.

I have a penchant for the sweet taste; he on the other hand steers away from it and even cannot withstand the sweetish taste of vegetables like zucchini, sweet peppers in the cooking. He would rather chew on some hot chillies than ogle at cookies and cakes. But then wait; he loves fruits and does savor some Rasmalai and Puran Poli (Obbattu) on some special occasions, but that’s about it.

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So while on a regular trip to the grocery, we were gazing at some good looking pineapples, he startled me when he said that “Pineapple Sasam” was one of his favorite curries. I had never prepared this before and nor had my MIL when she was here. Now “sasam” in Konkani is a coconut based curry that is a combination of sweet, sour, salty and spicy predominantly sweetish taste. Anyway, who knew? I guess, there is some thing new that you learn about a person everyday.

I on my part did not waste any time to try out this new and importantly sweet recipe. I made some quick phone calls to the appropriate personnel (read MIL) and got the recipe right away. She gave me two versions and this is the version that I tried. This is good dish to prepare on special occasions.





Pine apple sasam

























  • 1 small pineapple (ripe) [3 cups of chopped pineapple]
  • Oil
  • Mustard seeds
  • Asafetida
  • curry leaves
  • salt 

Masala to grind: 

  • 1 cup shredded coconut fresh/frozen
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • Little tamarind paste (2 tsps)
  • 3-4 red chillies [I use byadgi dried chillies, pre-roasted in a drop of oil]
  • jaggery for taste


  • Grind the ingredients for the masala above by adding water and making a paste. 
  •  Remove the peel from pineapple. Dice the pineapple into bit sized chunks.







  • Heat oil in a thick bottom pan. Add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter.
  • Add the curry leaves, then asafetida and mix well.
  • Add the chopped diced pineapple and stir until it cooks up. (This does not take a long time, about 5 minutes).
  • Add the ground masala paste, salt and cook until the raw smell of the coconut paste is gone. Add little oil if necessary.

This can be served with rotis/phulkas or as an accompaniment with rice.    



Traditional Konkani Recipe: Kokum Kadi/ Sol Kadi

Kokum is a dark purple to black sticky fruit with curled edges. It is very abundant in the west coast region of India and hence mostly used in Konkan homes. It adds tart taste to the food and many use this as a substitute for tamarind. Studies have shown that this fruit can reduce fat, cool body, purify blood and also reduce cholesterol.


Since it is difficult to find the type of kokum we use at home, here in the US, I load bagful of kokums when in India and stock it for years. At home we enjoy drinking this Kokum kadi especially during hot summers as it has a cooling effect on the body. This can also be consumed along with food or after dinner and tastes terrific when used as an accompaniment with Daali thoy (Konkani daal).


This is very easy to prepare as well. Before going to work, I mix all ingredients along with water and let it do its thing. When I come back home, it is ready to be devoured. There is no seasoning, heating, tadka etc nothing to this. If only cooking other dishes was as easy! This can be kept in the fridge for days and makes a cool refreshing drink during summers. The making process of this reminds me of the old Indian advertisement (Kinetic Honda, I guess) “Mix it, Shut it and Forget it”. 

The only note for this is that the asafetida needs to have a very strong flavor as that plays a strong role in this drink. This drink has combination of sweet, sour, hot and tart taste which is hearty and refreshing.




  • 5-6 kokum
  • Asafoetida
  • Salt, jaggery
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • chopped coriander leaves
  • 3 cups of water


  • In the 3 cups of water, put in all the ingredients except coriander leaves.
  • Let it rest for about 6-8 hours and do its own thing.

Remove the kokums and garnish with coriander leaves while serving.