Miles and miles of beautiful beaches. Seas, rivers, lakes. Crooked mountain roads that make you feel you are on a roller coaster instead of in a car. Breathlessly grand mansions. The birthplace of a man whose message of peace and nonviolence resonates to this day, more than 40 years since he was assassinated, and the birthplace of a television icon. A dear friend. Harley Davidsons on the highway. And four statehouses, each more beautiful than the last.
That, in a nutshell, is where Desi and I were for the last eight days, doing one of the things we love most: taking a road trip.
For all the years we have lived in this country, we have been in love with this wonderful American tradition. Before we got our large family of critters, Desi and I would hop into our car almost every weekend to explore some part of the country, obscure or popular. Over the past seven years since we expanded our family the road trips have become fewer in number but that doesn’t mean we don’t try to escape at the first available chance.
This time we made a visit to the home of a friend, Navami, who lives in Atlanta, the focus of our road trip. But to get to her and back home we charted a route through seven cities, including four state capitols (Desi collects those with a historian-newsman’s zeal :)).
I will tell you more about the trip in subsequent posts because there’s so much to tell, but today I wanted to post a recipe for a delicious breakfast dish that Navami made for us when we were staying with her and that is one of my favorites. Kande Pohe.
In my semi-Maharashtrian home I grew up eating this delicious savory dish for breakfast at least once or twice a week. Trust me, there is no way you can go wrong with this one, it’s so easy to make. Even better, it takes just minutes.
Pohe (in Marathi) are basically flattened rice grains that are cooked into a slightly al dente texture in this dish. Kande, also a Marathi word, refers to onions. You can add all sorts of delicious veggies to make this dish even more delicious, but the most popular are green peas and potatoes.
I didn’t get the recipe from Navami but I am just going to post mine because it tasted the same (the pictures are of her dish).
2 cups pohe or flattened rice (you can find these at any Indian grocery store. Make sure you use the thick variety, not the thin, for this dish)
1 large red onion, minced
1 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
1 tomato, finely diced
1 large potato, diced finely and zapped in a microwave with 1 tbsp water until tender, abour 3-4 minutes
2 green chillies, minced
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds
A generous pinch of asafetida (hing), optional
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tbsp canola oil or other vegetable oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves (for garnish)
1 tbsp shredded coconut, optional (for garnish)
Put the pohe in a colander and wash under running water. Set aside. (Don’t do this until you are ready to begin sauteing the onions because you don’t want the pohe to turn mushy. They shouldn’t sit more than 10 minutes after being soaked.)
In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the asafetida and mustard. When they sputter, add the onions, green chillies and curry leaves.
Saute the onions until they are translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
Add the turmeric, stir in, then add the pohe, potatoes, tomatoes and green peas. Stir well and saute until the pohe are warmed through.
Add the sugar and lemon juice and salt to taste. Turn off heat.
Garnish with the coconut, if using, and the coriander leaves.