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Poha: How to Prepare the Vegan Breakfast Rice From India

Foto: Paula Jerez Torres / Utopia

Poha is one of the most popular breakfasts in India. Learn how to make this exotic, vegan flattened rice recipe to expand your breakfast repertoire.

Poha is a traditional Indian breakfast made with flattened rice flakes, onions, peanuts, and lots of herbs and spices. A staple breakfast across states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, this recipe gained popularity and now recipe varieties exist in different parts of the country. There are two varieties of flattened rice (thin and thick) and for this recipe we recommend you try to get the thicker one, as it’s the one typically used to make traditional poha. 

This breakfast rice from India is vegan, gluten-free, and takes little time to prepare. If you are up for cooking something different for your next brunch get-together, read on to learn how to make a delicious vegan poha. 

How to Prepare Poha: Step by Step

When making poha, try and source local and organic ingredients.
When making poha, try and source local and organic ingredients.
(Foto: Paula Jerez Torres / Utopia)

This poha recipe is very easy to make, and it will take you about 20 minutes of total prep and cooking time. The following recipe makes 4 servings. 


  • 2 cup flattened rice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp. peanuts
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp. curry powder or a few curry leaves
  • 1 medium-size onion
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Grated organic coconut for garnish


Once you’ve gathered all the ingredients, all you will need to make poha is a pan and a strainer. Follow these steps to prepare a delicious vegan poha:

  1. Add the flattened rice to a bowl, cover it with water, and let it soak for 1 minute.
  2. Drain the water out using a strainer, add the salt and sugar, mix, and set aside.
  3. In a pan, roast the peanuts at medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once they are crunchy, set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add another drizzle of olive oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they start popping, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves and stir.
  5. Add the chopped onions and turmeric and sauté until the onion takes on a light golden color. 
  6. Add the flattened rice and the peanuts and mix until combined. Cover it and let it steam for 2-3 minutes. Make sure to stir it a couple times so that it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  7. Remove the lid, add cilantro and lemon juice, and mix it well.
  8. Garnish it with more cilantro and grated coconut and serve.

Tips & Tricks for Preparing Poha

Garnish your poha with cilantro and grated coconut before you serve it!
Garnish your poha with cilantro and grated coconut before you serve it!
(Foto: Paula Jerez Torres / Utopia)

Poha requires a few ingredients that you may not regularly have in your pantry, such as the poha (flattened rice) itself. On top of that, flattened rice flakes are not the same as basmati or long grain rice which you may be used to cooking with. We compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you out when you prepare this recipe:

  • There are two to three varieties of flattened rice: thin and thick, and some supermarkets even have a medium-thick poha. For this recipe, pick either thick or medium-thick, but stay away from the thinnest version.
  • As seen before, flattened rice doesn’t need to be cooked, just soaked. Pay attention to your soaking time because oversoaking it could ruin the recipe.
  • Once it has cooled down, you can store your poha in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container.
  • A famous variation of the traditional poha is Batata Poha, which includes green peas and potatoes. If you’d like to make this other variation, you can include both ingredients between steps 5 and 6. Tip: cook the potatoes in advance so that when you add them to the recipe, they only need to be sautéed.

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