Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is a dehusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids. The thicknesses of these flakes vary between almost translucently thin (the more expensive varieties) to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain.
This easily digestible form of raw rice is very popular across Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and is normally used to prepare snacks or light and easy fast food in a variety of Indian cuisine styles, some even for long-term consumption of a week or more. It is known by a variety of names: Atukulu in Telugu, Aval in Tamil and , Chindé in Bengali and parts of Bihar and Jharkhand, Chira in Assamese, Chudaa in Oriya, Chiura in Nepali, Bhojpuri and Chhattisgarhi, Poha or Pauwa in Hindi, Baji in Newari, Pohe in Marathi, Phovu in Konkani, Avalakki in Kannada, and Pauaa/Paunva in Gujarati.
Flattened rice can be eaten raw by immersing it in plain water or milk, with salt and sugar to taste, or lightly fried in oil with nuts, raisins, cardamoms, and other spices. The lightly fried variety is a standard breakfast in Malvaa region of Madhya Pradesh. It can be reconstituted with hot water to make a porridge or paste, depending on the proportion of water added. In villages, particularly in Chhattisgarh, flattened rice is also eaten raw by mixing with jaggery.
In Maharashtra, poha is cooked with lightly frying mustard seeds, turmeric, chili powder, finely chopped onions and then moistened poha is added to the spicy mix and steamed for a few minutes. Jalebi is often eaten with poha.Flattened rice is in a way, a convenience food and very similar to bread in usage.
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