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.    



Healthy Breakfast: Pumpkin Idli (Dudhi Idli)

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I was introduced to the new concept of Pumpkin Idli only after my wedding. My mother-in-law had prepared it early in the morning for breakfast and I had it with some ghee. Suffice to say that the taste was totally out of this world and I became a big fan of it ever since. This is an instant idly/idlies and requires no fermentation or grinding. It has a sweetish taste because of the pumpkin but when combined with salt, coconut and green chillies, the Idli imparts totally unique flavor. 

Pumpkin is chock full of goodness. Not only is pumpkin loaded with Vitamin A and antioxidant carotenoids, particularly alpha and beta-carotenes, it’s a good source of Vitamins C, K, and E, and lots of minerals, including magnesium, potassium, and iron.


This along wit some fruits, orange juice/ milk/yogurt can serve as a well balanced breakfast and keep us going through out the day. 

This is my entry to Balanced Breakfast WBB#20 hosted by the wonderful and talented Mansi.

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  • 2 cups grated yellow pumpkin

  • 3/4 cup of idli rava (not the upma rav, adjust according to the coarseness you want, less the bettter)

  • Handful of coriander leaves

  • ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

  • 4-5 green chillies

  • salt


  • Remove the skin from the pumpkin and grate it.

  • Chop up the green chilies and coriander leaves very finely.

  • Add the idli rava, green chilies, coriander leaves to grated pumpkin and mix well. Add salt as required. No need to add water at all.

  • Note that the mixture in this case will be coarse and separate and not “gooey” or sticky like regular idli batter. The mixture should have more of pumpkin than the idli rava.

  •  Keep aside for 30 minutes.


  • Grease the idli stand and pour the pumpkin mixture in each groove.

  • Steam this in a pressure cooker without whistle for 15 minutes.

Serve hot with ghee. This can be had as snacks as is without chutney or pudis.