Poha or beaten rice (no abuse here, I promise :-)) is an amazingly versatile ingredient. Besides being gluten-free, it is bland enough (in a good way) to lend itself to sweet as well as savoury seasoning and add ons. In Maharashtra, we lightly sauté them with onions and potatoes to make pohe (yes, unimaginative name, but you can't be good cooks and poets at the same time, can you?).
We also make 'Dadpe pohe', where the beaten rice is softened with coconut water, and then mixed with lots of coriander, onions and tempered oil. Some people just mix raw poha with milk and molasses (not my favourite food, as the raw taste of poha stays on).
What's common among all these recipes is that cooking time is no more than 5 minutes.
But what do you do if you don't even have five minutes to fix breakfast?
You make an instant granola of course, using nuts, seeds, fruit, and that incredible invention called the microwave oven!
A few seconds in the microwave take away the raw taste of poha, and turn them into crispy flakes that work with almost any topping. Here's my basic recipe for rice granola.
Ingredients (to serve one)1/2 cup poha or beaten rice
8 almonds, chopped roughly (I take the beaten theme further and give each almond a whack with a grindstone)
Raisins to taste
A pinch of salt
Put all the ingredients on kitchen paper in a shallow bowl.
Microwave on full power until crisp and toasty. I go up in 30 second increments to make sure the rice or raisins don't burn, remembering to stir the mixture every 30 seconds. 60-90 seconds should usually be enough to add crunch to the nuts and poha.
Leave to cool while you fix your coffee.
Remove the kitchen paper (which will be damp by now), add milk and fruit (I used chickoo in the picture) and eat.
More ways to eat almost instant rice granola
With pumpkin seeds, yoghurt and salt
With a squeeze of lemon, coconut water, salt and coriander
With a bit of coconut milk, brown sugar and fruit
With peanuts, honey and milk
You get the idea. Almost anything works :-)