मंडई or the local vegetable market is abuzz with festivities.
Distracted by all the gorgeous winter produce that surrounded me today, I dodged my way through a crowded alley with dangling Akashkandil, utna vendors, colourful Rangoli mounds, wickers with marigold, sonchapha and mogra, what-what-not-not, to arrive at an eminent masala shop in Thane that has been around for 70 odd years!
This time of the year they have Poha bazaar, selling varieties of Poha that are otherwise not available. There are ubiquitous ones like Makai Poha, thick & thin varieties and roasted pohas to make chivda making slightly easier. Then there are other lesser known varieties emerging from different regions of Maharashtra that one can find only ahead of Diwali. To name a few – fragrant Basmati Poha, nutrient-packed Red Rice Poha and the 2 underdog varieties – Dagdi Poha and Nylon Poha.
Stone-beaten Dagdi Poha is made with dehusked rice flakes. It is thick, hard and needs longer soaking. However it lends into a more “toothsome” chivda. The very popular “Mahalakshmi Chivda” that is available outside Ambabai temple in Kolhapur is made with Dagdi Poha. Very moreish.
Nylon Poha, as the name suggests, are super thin, light as a feather. They are made with top quality paddy and are the most coveted of all. There is no escaping the pit-stop at Vadkhal Naka to stock-up on Nylon Poha enroute weekend getaway from the city. Chivda made from this variety is absolutely melt in the mouth! However back at our home they never see the day of turning into a chivda as huge portions of Dadpe Pohe with “fast disappearing qualities” are doled out.
As many a variety of Poha, you find even more delicious variations of making them – Kanda-Batata Pohe, Kolache Pohe, Poha Upma, Dadpe Pohe, Dahi Pohe, Bhujing, Tarri Pohe. Simple poha soaked in warm milk with a sprinkling of sugar and cardamom powder for good measure, makes a bowlful of comfort. It is so wholesome that it blows all the modern breakfast cereals out of the window. So this is the time of the year to make that market trip to stock-up on the choicest of Poha varieties.
Is there a Poha variety and preparation apart from these that you know of? I’d love to know from you.
Ruchira Sonalkar is an Admin member of the Angat Pangat Facebook Group.