Cooking

Rice Above

Suvir Saran shares his poha recipe
Sweet Potato, Peanut and Onion Poha
A bounty of spices entice in a satisfying vegetarian side.

Suvir Saran--renowned chef, cookbook author and a regular on TV--admits to an old addiction.

The author of Masala Farm used to drink three gallons of Coca-Cola a day, a habit he cut out when his father had liver failure several years ago.

When visiting his father in the hospital, Saran's belief that flavor should always come first was further solidified: Although his father had little to no appetite, he would be enticed by the most fragrant dishes Saran brought him.

Saran also believes in a balanced table. When he cooks for guests, he'll make one decadent dish, such as his "richer than Bill Gates" mac and cheese or high-quality Kobe beef, along with several lighter vegetable sides.

We tried one such side dish, Saran's recipe for poha--flattened rice flakes--with sweet potato, peanut and onion (see the recipe). The dish, studded with coconut flakes and cilantro, is intensely flavored with black mustard seeds, cumin, red chile and asafetida, a spice native to Southeast Asia. The dish's richness belies its healthfulness.

We're already jonesing for another bowl.

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