Monday, February 4, 2008


I was given this fantastic book called Hungry Planet for Christmas by my
sons, True and RĂªve. It was all about different families from around the
world and the food they ate for a week. Each section included a family
recipe. The one that caught our eye was from India and used an ingredient
called Poha.
Poha is pounded rice flakes. Luckily, the near by town of Woolgoolga is 50
percent Sikh so basically all Indian ingredients are readily available.
So we bought some Poha and made this recipe, experimenting with a handful
that we found on the net as well as the one in our book. We did this because
on the day we decided to make it, we realized we were short a few
ingredients so we just followed our taste buds and here is what we came up

2 cups poha

2 finely chopped medium potatoes
1 finely chopped medium onion
lemon juice
biriyani seasoning (substitute for mustard seed)

1 to 2 cups peas, corn and chopped red capsicum(pepper)
a bit of deseeded red chili to taste

nuts (we used cashews, but peanuts would do)

crunchy noodles (to replace Indian noodles found in bhuja mix)

We rinsed and soaked the rice flakes for about five minutes, until the water
ran clear and then let them drain in a colander. We fluffed them every five
minutes or so to make sure they didn't clump.

In a wok we heated some oil and added the potatoes, onion, sugar, lemon
juice, tumeric, ginger, cumin, biriyani seasoning and salt. We basically
added a hearty shake of each spice, as well as a generous squeeze of lemon
juice and about a tablespoon of fresh chopped ginger. I think you could also
add things like kaffir lime leaves or curry leaves or other Indian spices,
depending on what you like. It seemed a bit slow to soften to we also added
a splash of water to speed it all up - we were hungry!

Then we mixed in the vegetables, coconut and chili and added the poha which
was quite soft. We stirred it all around to heat it up, mix things up evenly
and get everything coated with the yummy spices. It smelled great. A taste
test had us add a bit more salt, but we were pretty pleased with the

Spoon out on plates and top with coriander and fresh cashews or peanuts. We
cooked ours in at the beginning but I think they would be nicer crunchier.

To serve we garnished with fresh banana slices, mango, crunchy noodles (I
think Indian crunchy noodles would have been better as they are a bit
spicier.) and served it with sweet chili sauce and srichiri hot sauce (like
an asian version of Tabasco or something like that.). The fresh fruit was
great because the poha has a drier taste and the fruit added a really nice
moistness - I mixed mine right in!

Anyway, we all really liked it. It was easy to make and also a very cheap
recipe as there was no meat. If you can get poha, I suggest trying it.
Experiment a bit because it's really fun and seems like a very versatile
staple. It's also quick to cook if you are in a rush.

I think that it makes a good main meal, but could also be a side to fish or
chicken or meat. It would also make a nice room temperature salad or lunch
box idea.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

True's Brie, Basil and Mushroom Omlette

2 eggs per omlette
2 - 3 mushrooms per omlette
2 - 3 basil leaves
2-3 slices of brie
Salt and pepper to taste

Take two free range eggs and whisk together in a bowl.

Lightly fry a few sliced mushrooms in a generous amount of butter.

Cut four or five slices of good brie. Coarsely chop a few basil leaves.

Heat a small buttered non stick fry pan to about 7 or medium high heat.
Pour the egg mixture into heated pan. Let cook until bottom has thickened.

Lay cheese, mushrooms and shredded basil neatly on one half. Let cook,
possibly with lid on until sides of omlette have firmed up.

Gently fold the half of egg mixture with no filling to cover the side with
the mushrooms, brie and basil, so the omlette looks like a half moon.

Let cook to seal, gently turning over if necessary.

Serve on plate garnished with extra mushrooms and basil leaf. Salt and
pepper to taste.