What does Saraswathi pooja and Pongal festival have in common? If you asked this question to anyone in my household, the answer will be instant and it would be - “Puffed rice”!
“Pori, kadalai & sundal” has been the standard prasad at home for as long as I’ve known. Amma used to buy bags of it during pooja season. All the remaining puffed rice after the pooja used to get a stunning make over by our helper Anna. The bland, boring, murmura got transformed into a spicy evening snack. This was his signature item. I had my own excuses like “The more pori you eat, the more blessings you get!” for eating truckloads of this stuff. Stored in a tall steel dabara, “Poondu kara pori” was everyone’s favourite!
Sadly, I never took the recipe from our helper Anna. All I could remember was the perfectly balanced flavours. I started with eyeballing ingredients at first, but even after adding so much garlic and chilli powder something was not just right. That’s when I turned to the one secret ingredient every cook swears by - Salt! I was adding a few pinches which wasn’t enough. It took a generous amount of it to bring everything together and the flavours were bang on. So excited it turned out exactly like his. Pair it with a cup of tea for a healthy, filling snack!
Coconut Oil - 2 tsp
Garlic, sliced - 6 pods
Curry leaves - 2 stalks
Peanuts - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1/4 - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 3/4 tsp
Puffed rice - 2 cups
Heat coconut oil in a pan.
Add garlic and fry till browned. Be careful not to burn it too much.
Add curry leaves and saute.
Add peanuts, salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and roast for 2 - 3 minutes.
Add puffed rice and mix well. Roast for 1 - 2 minutes.