It looks like we will have no more peas after next week. Despite making 2 plantings several weeks apart, they’re all maturing at once. I blame the weather, at least in part. We’ve had disgustingly hot and humid weather lately and there will be plenty of that in July and August, no need to start so soon.
But anyhow, we ate lots of peas this week. I steamed them and served with butter and mint. I sautéed them with some scallops we brought back from North Carolina. And I made Pohe.
This is one of those packages I would have passed up in the grocery store, not knowing what to do with it. But I asked my mother-in-law to write down some recipes for dishes her son likes to eat and Pohe is the first thing she wrote. Pohe, or poha as it is spelled on the package, is flattened rice. My understanding of the production process is a little hazy, but I believe it’s made by soaking or partially cooking rice, then pressing it and drying it. After this process, it can be cooked very quickly and, according to the spouse, is usually served as a light meal at tea-time. I generally make it at lunch time and, up until this week, always with frozen peas (petit pois). My mother-in-law’s recipes leave a lot of room for interpretation – I worked out the proportions for myself after making this a few times and having the spouse proclaim it as being essentially correct.
So here’s my mother-in-law’s Pohe, as codified by me. This is the amount I make for spouse and self for lunch.
Soak 1 cup of the thick variety of pohe/poha in enough water to cover. Drain after just a few minutes (5 or less).
Finely chop 1 medium or 1/2 large onion. Finely chop 1 or 2 green chile peppers. If using fresh coconut, grate a couple of tablespoons (but I use frozen grated coconut).
Heat about 2 tablespoons peanut oil over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons black mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter and pop, turn the heat down to medium and add a pinch of asafoetida and 3/4 teaspoon turmeric. Let that sizzle just a few seconds, then add the chopped onion and chile peppers. Stir until the onion is softened a bit, then add fresh peas and about a tablespoon of grated coconut. (I didn’t measure the peas, just added what I had picked, probably 1/2 cup or so. If you’re using frozen peas instead, wait to add them until later). Cover and heat for a few minutes, but go on to the next step before the peas are completely cooked.
Add the soaked and drained pohe, along with 1 to 1½ teaspoons sea salt, 2 teaspoons sugar and a few drops lemon juice (I used ½ a slice of lemon). (If using frozen peas instead of fresh, add them at this point.) Cover and heat until the pohe is tender, just a few minutes. When finished it should be moist, but fluffy.
Garnish with more grated coconut and coriander/cilantro leaves.
Next week’s entry in Wendy’s Garden-to-Table Challenge will really be a challenge. Except for the remaining peas, not many vegetables are ready to eat. If I can steal enough wild blueberries from the birds, maybe I can come up with blueberry-something.