Although pohe are a popular choice for breakfast or brunch, they were always a tea time or a tiffin snack at my Aji’s house.
Breakfast, as we know it, was restricted to Sundays and was usually toast and eggs. On other days, my grandfather and granduncle used to have a rather early meal before they left for work. At 8am they would eat what was usually a hearty lunch – chapatis, fish, lentils, vegetables…the works. This was well before cafes and restaurants were an option for lunch. Neither liked eating cold food and so didn’t carry lunch with them.
When they got home in the evening they used to be ravenous and needed a rather filling snack. Vangi pohe or something similar along with a big mug of tea or coffee was what they were usually served. Having polished off our portions long before they got home, we would hang around in the hope that they would sneak us a few titbits (when Aji wasn’t looking), especially the little pieces of aubergine from these Vangi Pohe. They usually did and I’m sure Aji knew but we all played our parts rather well. 🙂
I can already see history repeating itself in our house.
1.5 cups pohe, washed and drained
1 medium aubergine
1 large onion
1/2 cup peas (optional)
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
a pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
a pinch of sugar
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped fine
1 tablespoon grated coconut (optional)
1/2 a lemon or lime
1. Chop the onion into large pieces. (A bit like onion rings, halved.)
2. Chop the aubergine into large chunks.
3. Heat oil in a deep pan. Add a pinch of asafoetida. Add the onions and saute till the onions are pink and soft.
4. Add in the aubergine chunks. Saute lightly for a few minutes.
5. Add in the spices and salt. Add the peas at this stage.
6. Cover the pan with a plate filled with water. Steam cook for about 15-20 minutes.
7. When the aubergine and onions are cooked through, add in the pohe and sprinkle the sugar. Mix lightly. (What you don’t want is a wet mush.)
8. Garnish with coriander and the coconut and add a final squeeze of lime.
9. Serve hot.
1. Cutting the onion into large pieces makes the dish milder. The onions sweeten as they cook down.
2. You could also add curry leaves, mustard seeds or cumin seeds at step 3. If you do, add the onions after you have added them in.
3. I like mine with some crunchy bits on the side. Some masala boondi or sev on the side is just perfect.