Savory Oats Hash – Indian Oats Poha Upma. Savory Breakfast Oats with onions, veggies and nuts – Kanda Poha. Vegan Gluten-free Soy-free Yeast-free Recipe
We love savory breakfasts. Everyday breakfasts usually are a rotation among Chickpea flour pancake -Chilla, savory cream of wheat – Upma, savory french toasts – Bread Pakora (in the book), lentil rice crepes with chutneys or leftover veggie sides – Dosa, tofu scrambles, and Poha. No one in my house likes sweet or cold breakfast. we all want something hearty and savory. So savory and hot breakfast it is.
Kanda poha is usually made with thick rice flakes that are reconstituted with water to make a dry pasta-like dish. Rice flakes are not easily available in regular grocery stores, so I started making poha with oats. Old-fashioned oats are soaked and cooked just enough so they are tender but are separate grains. Soak the oats just enough time to rehydrate and not get soggy. The dish is somewhat like spiced stir fried rice with veggies and nuts, so you can use it as a side as well with curries, chana masala etc. The recipe works as-is using thick rice flakes as well. We often use half rice flakes and half Oats.
If you have never tried oats this way, you may be surprised by how good the texture and flavor is this way. Soak them longer if you like them cooked softer. The result will be more of a scramble than separate grains.
This recipe is from my cookbook Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, which is available everywhere where books are sold.
- 1½ cup old-fashioned oats, use certified gluten-free oats to make gf.
- 3 tablespoon raw peanuts or other nuts like cashews (omit to make nut-free)
- 1 teaspoon safflower or other neutral oil
- ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 10 curry leaves, chopped **
- ⅛ teaspoon asafetida (omit to make gluten-free, or use certified gluten-free asafetida) *
- 1 hot green chili, finely chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped red onion
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne / red chili powder or to taste
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup fresh or frozen green peas, thawed if frozen
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, for garnish (not optional)
- Wash the oats and soak in 2 cups of water for 7 to 8 minutes. (Steps 2 through 4 take about the same time, so the oats do not have to be soaked in advance. Depending on the brand or batch, the oats might get soggy sooner, then soak for just 2 to 4 minutes.)
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the peanuts and dry roast until they change color slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
- In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds start to pop, 30 seconds. Add the asafetida and chili, then stir in the onions and cook until translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. After the onions are done, you can add other veggies if using and cook then until al-dente.
- Add the salt, turmeric, cayenne, peas, and sugar and mix well. Cook for 1 minute.
- Drain the oats well and add to the pan, then stir in the roasted nuts. Mix well. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the oats are tender, but not mushy like oatmeal. Stir to mix and fluff. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Cover and set aside for 2 minutes. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro and a generous drizzle of lemon juice.
To make this nut-free, omit the nuts.
*Asafetida (Hing) is pungent smelling spice that adds a garlic onion kind of flavor profile to the food. Asafetida is often added to beans and dals to help with digestion. Asafetida itself is gluten-free, but it is usually ground along with a starch. Ground asafetida can contain wheat or other starches. Always check the label. Get the whole asafetida crystals to grind yourself or certified gluten-free ground asafetida to avoid gluten contamination.
** Fresh Curry Leaves can be bought from Indian stores locally or online on amazon. Freeze them in airtight container for months, use frozen directly from freezer.