With the boon of Ready made, Packaged, and Processed cereals, we slowly started forgetting our native cereals, their products, and local recipes. We get tempted with fake advertisements on instant breakfast cereals claiming weight loss and calories free. Poha or Flattened Rice flakes is one such least appreciated option that is getting replaced by packaged instant cereals. Instead of counting on calories, one should count on Nutrients present in every meal. Poha and its health benefits make it an ideal ingredient for everyone. Let us know more about Poha, Health Benefits of Poha, and Healthy Recipes with Poha.
What is Poha or flattened rice?
Poha or flattened rice is the easily digestible form of raw rice. The rice is parboiled and flattened to make poha flakes, which can be consumed with no or little cooking. It is also called Beaten Rice. The origin of Poha is from India. It is also popular in Nepal and Bangladesh. Poha flakes come in thick, medium-thick, and very thin varieties.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India (CSIR) conducts various research activities on poha or rice flakes processing.
English Name: Flattened Rice or Beaten Rice.
Hindi Name : Poha:- Poha or Chewda, Chirwa.
Bengali Name Chira
Telugu Name: Atukulu.
Assamese Name: Sira
Tamil Name: Aval
Marathi Name: Chivda or Pauve
Rajasthani Name: Poya
Gujarati Name : Pauvaa/Paunva
Odiya Name: Chuda
Konkani Name: Phovu
Nepali Name: Chewra.
How Poha is made?
Many of us are already using Poha in their day to day life but very few know how poha is made. Poha is made with very basic raw materials, Rice Paddy and Water.
- Raw Rice Paddy is soaked in water for 24-30 hours to increase moisture content by up to 32%.
- After soaking the water is completely drained off and dried for 2 hours or kept in paddy roaster units for 1 minute at a temperature of 172 degrees centigrade. The soaked paddy is continuously stirred in a sand medium for a minute. This step reduces the internal moisture up to 19% and results in Partial Gelatinisation.
Then, they are sieved to separate paddy and sand.
- Then the paddy is conveyed to roller machines, where they are beaten into flat flakes.
- Then they are sent to Cleaning facilities for removal of any broken flakes or debris.
They are packed hygienically before hitting the market.
- The shelf life of Poha is 6-8 months.
In short, Poha is made by partly cooking the paddy and then drying it to make it a bit harder. They are then pounded and flattened. Poha undergoes less processing and no polishing which keeps all the nutrient values of paddy intact.
Nutritional Value Of Poha/Rice Flakes/Flattened Rice
The table shows nutrient values of poha ( 100 grams of edible portion)
Reference: Nutritive Value of Indian Foods, by C.Gopalan, B.V.Rama Sastri and S.C.Balasubramanian (National Institute Nutrition, ICMR, Hyderabad)
Health Benefits of Poha
1. Good source of Iron
The dried paddy is passed through iron rollers for flattening. During this process, the flakes retain some of the iron content into them. Having Poha in the diet helps to maintain good blood cells in the body for overall good health. It is a good option for pregnant women to prevent from getting Gestational Anaemia. To improve iron absorption squeeze lemon on poha or have a citrus fruit after a while, to get the required Vitamin C for proper iron absorption.
2. Good Probiotic
Due to soaking and partial cooking, the Rice flakes undergo fermentation. This helps in preserving healthy microflora in them. When Poha is consumed they nourish the gut with good microbes that synthesize and absorb many nutrients from the food.
3. Great option for weight loss
A small cup of Poha can keep you feeling full for a longer time. It keeps you satiated and keeps you away from hunger pangs for a long time. As Poha is easy on the gut and digested easily it also prevents bloating. Complex Carbohydrates and proteins are very essential for the weight loss process.
4. Good Source of Energy
Poha is a good source of energy as it is rice-based. You can have it as breakfast to kick start your day or as an evening snack to keep you away from deep-fried fritters, samosa, and Panipuri.
5. Lactose and Gluten-Free Option
People suffering from Wheat and Milk Allergies can safely include Poha in their regular diet. The only thing to remember is to buy Poha from a place where wheat and its products are not manufactured or else chances of contamination with wheat products are there.
6. Good Source of Vitamin B1.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) present in rice is present in Poha as well. Vitamin B1 is very essential in carbohydrates and Protein Metabolism.
RDA of Vitamin B1
- Men – 1.2mg/day
- Women – 1.1 mg/day
- Children (1-3 years) – 0.4mg/day, (4-8 years) – 0.6mg/day, (9-13 years) – 0.9mg/day, (14-18 years) – 1 mg/day.
- Pregnant and Lactation women – 1.4mg/day.
7. Good for all lifestyle disorders and age groups
Poha is a Completely safe option for all lifestyle disorders like Diabetes, Cardio Vascular Disease, PCOD, Thyroid Issues, IBS, and Obesity. It is safe for kids, adults as well as elders. Poha is a savior in the busy mornings to keep the whole family healthily satiated. The nutrients present in Poha can nourish our body with both Macronutrients and Micronutrients.
Is Poha Safe for Diabetics?
It’s a common myth to completely avoid Carbohydrates in Diabetes which is not true. Even People with Diabetes need Complex Carbohydrates for keeping up their energy levels. Poha in moderation is completely safe for diabetics. The Glycemic Load (GL) of Poha reduces when it is mixed with fiber from vegetables, Sprouts, Peanuts, Sattu powder, Oats flakes, etc. The sugars present in Poha are released slowly in the blood, which makes it ideal for diabetics. It is a safer and healthy option than biscuits, chocolates, and Poppins, which are taken by diabetic patients without any doubt.
How much Poha is safe to be consumed?
50-60 grams/Day of Poha is safe to be consumed by everyone. It can be consumed twice a week. Moderation and Variation are the main Crux for a Healthy, Balanced, and Sustainable diet. Poha is a rich source of Carbohydrates, so always add lots of vegetables, some Peanuts, Oats Flakes, Seeds, etc to increase the fiber and nutritional value of the meal made by Poha.
Poha and its Varieties
Poha or flattened rice can also be made from Red Rice and Brown Rice. Red Poha and Brown Poha are a little richer in nutrients than regular white Poha. Red Poha is rich in flavonoid Anthocyanin and Brown Poha is richer in Vitamin B than regular white Poha. Though the taste is slightly different than white poha, you will start liking it once you get a hang of it.
Not only rice but we can get flattened flakes from Wheat, Oats, Millets like Ragi & Jowar, and Corn. If you want to get more creative and try healthy recipes in the kitchen then try all kinds of flakes in rotation.
Do not but ready to eat Poha breakfast packets instead buy organically made Poha and invest 15 minutes to make a healthy meal with it.
How to feed Poha to babies (10 months -1 year) ?
Dry roast Poha for 2 minutes and make a powder of it. You can store this powder in an airtight glass container. Make this powder for a week and use it at your convenience. Always remember to feed in little quantity and see if the baby tolerates well for the next 3 days to continue it.
1. Poha Kheer
1 tablespoon thin poha (Powder)
1 seedless date
1/4th cup milk.
- In a heavy bottom Pan, add 30 ml water. Boil it.
- Add finely shredded Dates and mix until it melts in water.
- Add Poha Powder and mix until everything blends well.
- Add boiled milk and close the lid for 10 minutes.
- Once the temperature comes down serve to baby.
2. Spinach Poha
Spinach Leaves (5 leaves)
Wash 1 tablespoon thin Poha and soak until it becomes soft.
Heat Kadai and add half teaspoon ghee.
once the ghee gets hot add finely chopped spinach leaves. Add a pinch of turmeric. Saute them well till they become tender.
Add soaked poha and mix well. Add a pinch of cumin powder and close the lid for 5 min.
Serve to the baby when the temperature comes down.
10 healthy recipes of Poha
While there are hundreds of recipes on Poha or Rice Flakes, I am sharing 10 healthy recipes that are good for healthy people as well as people struggling with Obesity, Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypothyroid, PCOD, and many other lifestyle disorders. Instead of noodles, pasta, deep-fried fritters, and ready to eat food bank on Poha for good health.
This can be great snack and lunch box option for kids as well.
1. Healthy Indian Poha Recipe 1 : Poha Upma or Kande Pohe
This is the most popular Indian breakfast or evening snack option. Every region has its traditional recipe to make this Poha Upma. It is Gluten Free and Lactose-Free.
Ingredients: Rice Flakes/Poha, Onion, Potato, Green Peas, Green Chillies, Curry leaves, Coriander leaves, Lemon juice, Dry roasted Peanuts, Mustard seeds, jeera seeds, turmeric powder, Salt, Oil, and Sugar (optional)
- Wash the Poha thoroughly and drain excess water. Sprinkle some water and keep aside for 10 minutes. The Poha will absorb the water and swell up. Do not soak them in excess water as it will make the poha upma mushy.
- In a pan add 2 teaspoon oil, add mustard and cumin seeds.
After the seeds start spluttering add curry leaves, Chopped Onions, and green chilies.
- Once the onions become tender add potato cubes( small) and half teaspoon of a teaspoon of turmeric powder.
- Once the Potatoes become soft add boiled green peas and close the lid.
- After a minute add Soaked Poha to it.
- Add required salt and mix well.
- Add a teaspoon of Sugar (optional).
- Switch off the flame and add finely chopped coriander leaves.
- Squeeze one lemon on it and serve hot.
2. Healthy Inidan Poha Recipe 2 : Dahi Chivda or Dahi Poha
This is the most common breakfast in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states. This is no cooking and instant meal. It is a great healthy option for busy people, hostellers, and bachelors. This dish is offered to a god in many religious traditions.
Ingredients: Poha, Curd, Banana, and Jaggery. You can use Coconut Yoghurt instead of regular curd.
- Wash the flattened rice or Poha with plain water. Drain out the excess water.
- Transfer the washed poha to the mixing bowl.
- Add curd over the poha.
- Mix well and add 1 teaspoon of jaggery.
- Add half chopped banana into it. Mix all of them well.
- It’s ready to be served.
3. Healthy Indian Poha Recipe 3 : Attukula Daddojanam or Curd Poha
This is a salty version of Curd and Poha. It is equally tasty and healthy.
Ingredients: Poha, Curd, Rock Salt, finely chopped green chilies, grated ginger (a half-inch), Coriander leaves, few pomegranates seeds.
- Wash Poha thoroughly, drain the excess water.
- Add curd to the Poha in a mixing bowl.
- Add salt and mix well.
- Add finely chopped green chilies and grated ginger to it.
- Garnish it with finely chopped coriander and pomegranate seeds.
4. Healthy Indian Recipe 4 : Poha Cutlets
This is a healthier version than regular oily potato cutlets.
Ingredients: Poha, Curd, Spinach (100 grams), Coriander leaves ( 10 grams), finely chopped chilies, Lemon juice ( 2 teaspoons), cream layer from the milk ( 1 teaspoon), Roasted and crushed peanuts, Rock salt.
- Soak the Poha in curd for an hour. The poha will absorb the curd and swell up. Skip washing with water because after absorbing water it will not be able to absorb curd.
- No add finely chopped Spinach and coriander leaves into it.
- Add rock salt and mix it.
- Add the cream layer from boiled milk to it.
- Add finely chopped chilies, roasted and crushed peanut, and lime juice to the mix. Mix well.
- Make cutlets with the mix and dry roast them on the hot pan.
- Tasty cutlets are ready to serve them hot with healthy dips (tomato or mint chutney)
5. Healthy Indian Recipe 5 : Poha Dhokla
Poha Dhokla can be made very easily in the busy mornings. It does not require soaking and fermentation, which reduces half of the time. Satisfy your dhokla cravings in a jiffy with Poha.
It is steamed and light on the stomach.
Ingredients: Poha, Semolina, Curd, Salt, Fruit salt, Mustard seeds, green chili paste, hing, sugar, Asafoetida, oil, and coriander leaves to garnish.
- Coarsely Crush the thick beaten rice or thick poha in a grinder.
- In a mixing bowl add curd and water. Mix well.
- Add Poha, Semolina, Green Chilli Paste, and salt. Mix well and keep aside for 10 minutes.
- Grease the Dhokla plates.
- Add eno salt just before adding the mix to dhokla plates.
- When the bubbles form, mix gently.
- Add the mix to the plates and steam for 10-15 minutes.
- Once done, add tadka with little oil, mustard seeds, and Asafoetida.
- Garnish with coriander and cut in the desired shape.
- Serve them with green chutney.
6. Healthy Indian Poha Recipe 6: Poha Cheela
Give a twist to your regular cheela by replacing besan with poha. This is a very yummy and healthy breakfast or snack option any day.
Ingredients: Poha, Ginger Paste, Salt, Turmeric powder, Chilli Powder, Water, and finely chopped onions and capsicum, grated carrots.
- Soak Poha in water for 15 minutes.
- Add soaked poha in a mixer jar, ginger paste, little water, and grind to smooth paste.
- Take it out and more water to make it in pouring consistency.
- Add salt and turmeric powder.
- Add vegetables and mix well.
- Pour a ladle of batter on a heated tawa.
- Sprinkle some oil around the cheela.
- Roast on both sides and serve with chutney of your choice.
7. Healthy Indian Poha Recipe 7 : Poha Chivda
Make this healthy chivda namkeen with Poha and store it in an airtight container for 10 days. Relish these instant snacks at the home, office, or journeys.
Ingredients: Thin Poha or rice flakes, groundnuts, cornflakes, roasted Bengal grams, Red chilies, Green chilies, cumin seeds, curry leaves, salt, sugar, and Oil.
- Dry roast Poha, groundnuts, and corn flakes separately and keep them aside.
- Dry Roast puffed Bengal gram.
- Add 2 tablespoon oil, once heated add cumin seeds, green chilies, red chilies, curry leaves and roast them.
- Mix all the roasted ingredients and add salt as per taste. Add a pinch of sugar and mix well.
- After the mix gets cool down store it in an airtight container.
8. Healthy Indian Poha Recipe 8: Coconut Jaggery Poha Recipe
This is a popular Janmashtami offering to the deity. This is a no-cook recipe and can be made very tasty in a jiffy.
Ingredients: Poha, warm milk ( you can skip the milk if you want lactose-free), Jaggery, grated coconut fresh, Cardamom powder, roasted nuts like cashews, pumpkin seeds (dry roasted).
Dry Method :
- Rinse Thick Poha with plain water ( skip rinsing if using thin poha).
- Drain excess water and spread on a wide plate.
- Sprinkle some milk on the poha flakes.
- Add Jaggery, Coconut, and cardamom powder.
- Mix well and keep aside.
- Add roasted cashews and pumpkin seeds just before serving.
Wet Method :
- This recipe is also known as sweet poha Pongal or sweet aval in South India.
- Rinse the poha and keep it aside.
- Boil the milk and once it becomes warm add the poha to it.
- Add jaggery in the milk and mix well. You can add 1 tablespoon honey instead of Jaggery.
- keep the mix for 10 minutes.
- Then add grated coconut, roasted nuts, and seeds to the mix.
- Yummy sweet Poha Pongal is ready.
9. Healthy Indian Poha Recipe 9 : Sprouts And Poha Indian Salad
Have this Indian salad as a mid-evening snack at around 4 -5 PM. Have a small bowl of this salad to keep your hunger pangs at the bay. Instead of Chaats and Pakoras in the evening have this salad which will not only keep you satiated but nourish you as well.
Ingredients: Moistened Poha, Diced Cucumbers, Diced Tomatoes, Chopped Cauliflower, Finely Chopped Coriander, half cup sprouted green grams, 1 tablespoon Olive Oil, 3 teaspoon Lime Juice, Salt and Pepper to taste.
- In a bowl add lime juice, Olive oil, Salt, and Pepper. Mix well all the ingredients.
- In another bowl add moistened poha, all the vegetables, Sprouts, and mix well.
- Add the seasoned oil into the poha bowl.
- Mix well and banish with coriander before serving.
10. Healthy Indian Poha Recipe 10 : Green Poha Indian Salad
This is a very easy and healthy Indian salad to prepare.
Ingredients: Moistened Poha, Cucumbers finely chopped, finely chopped Coriander, finely chopped mint leaves, half cup roasted peanuts, roasted sesame seeds.
- Rinse and keep the Poha aside for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl add the moistened Poha, cucumbers, coriander, mint leaves, and mix well.
- Add roasted peanuts and some sesame seeds.
- Mix well and serve fresh.
Poha or Flattened Rice is the most popular and commonly used ingredient in every Indian kitchen. It can be a great option to prepare healthy and light snacks or breakfast recipes. Readymade, Packaged, processed cereals, and porridge mixes available have replaced our native grains and their products. The humble poha is a healthy option for everyone from a healthy person to people suffering from health ailments, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. Stop falling for advertisements on unhealthy cereals and switch to healthy poha. Eat-in moderation with good ingredients to have a wholesome meal with Poha and reap its health benefits.
(Retrieved on 5/11/2020)