Indori Poha is made with steamed flattened rice flakes, with a light tempering of chilies, cumin, and curry leaves, and then topped with a mix of crunchy and juicy toppings like onions, pomegranate kernel, coriander, roasted peanuts, and boondi. I use red rice poha in this recipe as it is healthier than white rice poha.
Light and fluffy, Indori poha recipe is a signature breakfast dish from Indore, the food capital of Madhya Pradesh. I fell in love with the cuisine of Madhya Pradesh two years ago when my sister used to live in Indore. Every morning we used to go for a walk and then eat a plateful of poha from the roadside vendor. Sometimes we would pack it and eat it later in the day. What was surprising for me was how that poha stayed soft and fluffy even after several hours.
The secret of the softness of Indori poha is that it is steamed on a water bath and not by sautéed in oil. That was quite a surprise for me. We’ve been eating poha for breakfast ever since we were little and we always saw it being cooked with stir-fried vegetables in oil. Much like rice pulao or paella. I was quite intrigued and we went over to a poha vendor to learn the recipe. He showed us his whole arrangement. The water boils in a pot below and poha is steemed on a large plate on top. And the water is not boiling idle, it is being used to boil potatoes for samosas. It is quite ingenious.
Healthy, easy, and quick to make, Poha is a popular breakfast recipe both at home and as a street food throughout India. Early morning and evening, vendors with their hand trolleys selling fresh poha are a common sight on roadsides along public parks or other food joints. But the poha recipe varies from State to State. It is amazing how different States in India cook the same flattened rice (uncooked poha) in different ways.
How to cook authentic steamed Indori Poha?
The authentic Indori poha is very different from poha recipes from other cuisines in a few ways:
- The poha is cooked by steaming over a water bath.
- A light tempering of green chilies, cumin, and curry leaves is added but no vegetables are sautéed in oil. As a result, the recipe uses very little oil. See the step by step photos below: Tempering is mixed with washed poha and then the poha is steamed.
- The toppings are all raw and include onions, peanuts, pomegranate kernels, coriander leaves, and lemon juice.
- Additional toppings include masala boondi (fried chickpea flour fritters) and/or sev along with a sprinkling of jeeravan powder.
- 1 cup red rice poha (flattened rice)
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 green chili , chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 5-6 curry leaves , fresh or dried
- ½ tsp turmeric
- Salt , to taste
- 1 small onion , finely chopped
- 6-7 stalks fresh coriander leaves , chopped
- 10-12 roasted peanuts
- ¼ cup masala boondi
- ¼ cup pomegranate kernels
- 1 tsp jeeravan powder (see recipe description above for how to make your own jeeravan powder)
- 1 lime
- Wash the red rice poha in a colander or steamer plate and keep aside.*
- Put water for boiling in a pot big enough for your colander to sit on top or in your steamer vessel.
- In a small pan, heat oil and temper it with cumin seeds, green chilies, and curry leaves. Add them in that order.
- Add the tempering to the washed poha along with salt and turmeric. Mix lightly with a fork or using your fingers. Be careful not to break or mash the poha.
- Put the colander on top of boiling water and cover on top. Steam for about 15 minutes.
- Mix in half of the chopped onions, coriander leaves, and drizzle lime juice.
- Serve on a plate and top with boondi, onions, jeeravan powder, coriander leaves, pomegranate seeds, and peanuts.
- Serve hot with a slice of lime on the side. In Indore, poha is usually served with a side of sweet jalebis!
It is quite interesting to see how the poha recipe slowly builds up with the different toppings! 🙂
How to make Jeeravan masala at home
Jeeravan is a quintessential spice blend from Indore. Jeera is cumin in Hindi and jeeravan is like a spice blend that builds on cumin as the key ingredient. While the Jeeravan masala packs in the shops have many spices, it is easy to make a basic jeeravan spice blend at home.
To make 2 tbsps of Jeeravan, mix together:
3 tsp roasted cumin powder
1 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor)
1 tsp black salt
½ tsp ginger powder (sonth)
½ tsp paprika (or Kashmiri red chili powder)
Here is my list of Indian spices in Hindi and English for reference. If you like this recipe, please take a moment to rate it and/or leave your comments at the end of the blog. It will really encourage me to keep exploring, learning and improving.
Indori Poha Recipe | Steamed red rice poha
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- *Flattened rice absorbs water very quickly and will become soggy if you soak them. Normally just washing the poha helps to soften them. But if you have a very thick variety of flattened rice then it might require to soak them for just a couple minutes.
I still remember the first time when I was going to Indore, a friend of mine who had spent most of his childhood in Indore gave me all the tips for the different food joints in Indore. It is rightly called the food capital of Madhya Pradesh.
I recently joined a group of Indian Food Bloggers who explore a different State’s cuisine every month. The members are paired together and each gives the other two “secret” ingredients (that’s why the name Cooking Secretly!) to cook a regional dish. The rest of the members then guess the two secret ingredients until the dish is published 🙂 It is a fun game for food enthusiasts! This month’s theme is Madhya Pradesh and my partner Poonam Bachhav who blogs at Annapurna, gave me two easy ingredients — peanuts and onions. Of course, I had to make Indori Poha recipe for the group. My fondest memories of food in Indore is the morning poha. I gave her milk and chilies. We usually use milk for sweet dishes in Indian cuisine but MP cuisine has a unique dish with the two ingredients and I can’t wait to see her creation!
Connect with me
If you try this recipe, I would really love to know how it went. Tag your picture with #weekendkitchen on instagram or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and/or Pinterest. Or join our newest journey into Recipe Videos.
Would love to start a conversation, share recipes, cooking experiences and food stories from India and around the world.
You have a wonderful blog Ashima! I too have many fond memories with Indori Poha. Loved the way you have done full justice with the ingredients and described the traditional steaming method of making poha. The presentation looks stunning as well!
Thank you so much, Poonam! (My partner in crime this month!)
I am so glad you like the blog and that you liked the recipe. It really took me down memory lane while making this one and writing about it!
Wow…this looks absolutely tempting and steaming poha is new to me…definitely will give a try
I also learned the steaming method of making Poha when I was in Indore. It made them very soft and they actually stay soft even after several hours. I do hope you try it soon 🙂
The Girl Next Door
I made Indori Poha for this month’s theme too, but yours looks so much better, more colourful and pretty and delicious! I loved Indori Poha with home-made, fresh jeeravan masala too. It’s in my home to stay.
Thanks, Priya! I saw you made Indori poha too! we are recipe sisters this month 🙂 I am so glad you like the photo… the pomegranates make all the difference in the photo! 🙂
Ashima, so well explained and its true, it’s amazing how different states make poha in a different manner. Your poha dish looks so colorful and super tempting. Adding pomegranate, peanuts and boondi definitely make it so different from the usual poha I make. I’ve not used red rice poha yet but would love to when I get some.
Red rice poha tastes just like the regular white rice poha but is so much healthier! I am so glad you find it super tempting. I wish I could serve you some one day 🙂
Wow nice information there. I was not knowing this way of preparation, that it is steamed and not cooked in oil directly. Thank for sharing the authentic way.
Thanks, Renu! It was a new learning for me too when I first saw it in Indore. I was quite amazed 🙂
Good to know how it is cooked here Ashima. I am tempted to try this version sometime. The poha looks delicious.
Do let me know how it turns out 🙂
Rafeeda - The Big Sweet Tooth
Such a detailed and beautifully explained post… I have to try your steaming technique for the poha, I can see it provides greater texture to the poha instead of the washing and draining… Can see that you have put your heart and soul into this dish and post… 🙂
Thanks so much, Rafeeda!
I just want to point out the even when you are steaming, you do wash and drain the poha. You just don’t sauté them in oil like they do in other places. Instead, the poha is cooked on a water bath. It cooks fluffier and softer this way.
Wow! Firstly, let me appreciate you for making the poha in the traditional way. Secondly using the Jeeravan masala and the red rice poha for the healthy touch. Cracker of a recipe with all the components that make it truly authentic Indori Style poha.
Thank you, Vidya!
Yes, I wanted the exact same taste as that of the poha on streets of Indore 🙂 I am o glad you liked the recipe!
steaming method sounds a healthy alternative than cooking directly, well done.. And this Indori red rice poha rocks.
This looks so delish… Loving the combo and the colours. I made the jeervan masala too, It is so flavourful.
Thank you, Seema! I am so glad you loved it 🙂
i liked the idea of using water bath to steam poha. Would definitely give it a try. Also your dish looks super delicious with all that toppings.
Thank you, Anu!
You nailed the two key features of Indori Poha — the steaming and the toppings 🙂
Wow… loved the idea of steaming method. What a colourful and lovely click !
Never heard of Jeeravan powder, the addition of amchoor powder would have made this poha yumm
Jeeravan is a special spice mix from Indore. It actually does contain amchoor as well!
Poha came out so tempting and inviting. Looks absolutely amazing. Love that you tried with red rice. We use red rice poha normally though it takes a little time in soaking.
I didn’t soak my red rice poha at all. Just washed it under running water and then steamed. Steaming makes sure it is cooked soft and it doesn’t become soggy at all.
Wow loved your description about Indore Street food. And poha looks so inviting. What a colourful and tempting dish. Now I have to visit Indore once. Lovely share.
I am so happy that my description has inspired you to plan a trip to Indore! It really is a foodie’s paradise!
Love Indori Poha a lot. we too make it very often and that too with Red Rice poha.. love the pomegranate pearl topping here – just the way we love it at home 🙂
Pomegranate sure adds a lovely color as well as crunch to the soft poha!
Wow! All steamed poha sounds yummy and so simple. Wish I had read this post earlier could have made it today morning itself. But then I can make it yet with the jeeravan masala recipe. I remember the taste but could not remember the name of the masala or the name. 😀
We don’t get jeeravan in the Indian grocery store here but I like my substitute spice for it… It has lessor number of spices and can be made easily at home as and when required!
I love poha and am yet to make this indori poha. The steaming method is new to me. Will try this soon. Lovely share
The steaming method makes sure the poha is cooked fluffy and soft. And they even stay soft till much later.
Wow nice information and poha is looking very yummy
I want to try this recipe at my stall.
Can you please give me measurement of all ingredients for
1 Kg Poha.
Poha would surely be a great stall food menu :-). This recipe is for 1 cup poha which is approximately 125gm for 2 servings… so you can increase the servings to 16 to get measurements for 1 kg poha.
Let me know if you need any help and how it goes! Would love to see pictures of your stall!
This recipe is so interesting, and makes so much sense. As poha cooks very quickly, steaming it would be enough. Lovely recipe, and thanks for the jeeravan masala recipe. Will try this soon.
This recipe really cooks them very soft and fluffy!
Thank you for your help
will share the pic soon.
That would be awesome! 🙂
Ashwini M Shetty
Excellent recipe. A perfect balance of health and taste. Was pleasantly surprised to see how flavourful it turned out to be. Great to have when one craves for some chaat
I am so happy you tried the recipe and that you shared your feedback here. It really encourages me to continue exploring, trying, and sharing new recipes!
I will try this at home.
Let me know if you have any questions or want to experiment with different toppings for Indori Poha recipe
I am from Bihar an I make poha once in every month. just loved it.
Hi! Can you tell me which brand steamer pot have you used? And the material of the pot as well?
I have a tupperware steamer. The pot is a double walled steel pot.
Hope that helps!
This is outstanding. I made this today and the whole family loved it. I too used red poha. Made a few twists though to customize it as per our palettes but thank you so much for publishing this secret recipe.
I am so happy to read your feedback and glad that the recipe was helpful in creating a treat for your family!