Poha Breakfast (Rice Flakes with Lemon & Spices)

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Poha refers to flattened rice flakes cooked with lemon and spices into a simple and tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. It’s that versatile! 

In India, most people enjoy poha for breakfast, and that’s how I like it too. 

I make this about once a week these days, whenever I am craving a savory and energizing breakfast that’s easy to digest. 

poha with lemon and spices

Poha is easy to digest because rice is easy to digest, particularly one that is already partially cooked and processed into flakes. 

The spices, ghee, and lemon add digestive support and warmth to the dish as well, making it highly satisfying. 

The coconut flakes and cilantro topping is optional, but glorious. If you don’t make the topping, you can add a bit of minced cilantro just before serving.  

You can buy poha with thick flakes HERE.

poha rice flakes
poha breakfast

Recipe for Poha Breakfast

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 79kcal
Author: Andrea Hayley-Sankaran
Flattened rice flakes cooked with lemon and spices into a simple, yet tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. It’s that versatile! 
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Prepare the poha

  • 2 cups poha (thick flakes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or to taste

Start the poha

  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • pinch asafetida (hing) optional
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 tablespoon water

Finish the poha

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon freshly squeezed


Complete the prep for poha

  • Remove frozen peas from the freezer and place in a bowl on the counter to defrost. Rinse with cold water if you want to speed up the process. Drain the peas before cooking. 
  • Place poha flakes in a bowl and cover with cold water. Use your fingers to mix thoroughly and then strain through a sieve. Repeat 3 times and drain all the water. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon each of turmeric powder and salt over the poha and mix well.
  • Mince your ginger and get out your spices and have them ready by the stove.

Start the poha

  • Add ghee to saucepan on medium heat. Add the black mustard seeds and cook until about half the mustard seeds pop. Turn the heat down to low and add the optional asafetida followed by the ginger. Stir frequently, and cook until the ginger is just starting to brown. 
  • Add the frozen peas along with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of water. Stir and cover with a lid. Cook, covered, for 5 minutes to cook the peas. (Add any additional vegetables at this stage if using. SEE NOTES) Check at least once to ensure the dish doesn’t run out of moisture. Add a bit more water if needed.
  • Add the prepared poha flakes along with a couple tablespoons of water. Stir well to combine. Cover, and cook on low heat for 3 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat and open the lid. Test the poha for moisture. If it’s dry, or sticking to the bottom of the pot, add a bit more water. Getting the moisture right is a trick. You don't want so much that it becomes sticky or gloppy, but it also shouldn't be overly dry. Replace the lid and let it steam for 3-5 minutes.

Finish and serve

  • Add fresh lemon juice and cilantro and stir.
  • Serve poha in a bowl, and top with any optional toppings you like (see notes for details). If you have an Indian pickle or mango chutney, have a teaspoon of it with the poha. Enjoy! 


Poha flakes come in different thicknesses. For this recipe, choose thick flakes. Buy poha HERE

Add vegetables

Turn poha into vegetable poha by including carrots, potatoes, or green beans. You can include any vegetable in poha, as long as it’s fully cooked before you add the soaked poha flakes.

Optional toppings

For added flavor, nutrition, and interest, add a topping of coconut flakes, cashews, peanuts, and/or raisins. Peanuts are traditionally used.
To prepare the topping, start half a teaspoon of ghee in a small skillet on medium heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons topping of your choice and stir continuously until just starting to brown. 
It is also common in India to have a teaspoon of Indian pickle or chutney with poha. There are so many chutneys and pickles to choose from at an Indian store, or even homemade.
Tomato chutney, lemon pickle, and mango pickle are the most common. 


Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 414IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg
5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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