Sunday, January 1, 2017

Cheerer Pulao/Poha Pulao/Flattened Rice Pulao

Cheere is the Bengali word for flattened rice also called poha in certain parts of India. As is obvious from the name of this recipe this dish is a pulao made from flattened rice, this is a traditional Bengali dish.

While on the subject of traditional dishes, I recall way back in my childhood my mother cooking these dishes and some of her friends, even while enjoying the dish, would express their inability to make these dishes because of the effort that goes into preparing them. Inability to make a dish due to the effort or time that goes into it appears to be a common refrain amongst those who are reluctant to spend too much time in the kitchen. When I grew up I wondered whether these traditional dishes and recipes will be lost when my mum and others like her are no longer around. I, therefore, decided on this blog but deep down in my heart there was a doubt, will the younger generation really be interested in the traditional recipes? However,  I have noticed - much to my pleasant surprise - that the traditional recipes both in this blog and on my YouTube channel get more hits than the other recipes.

Bee Wilson talking about food nostalgia at the Times Lit Fest (Mumbai) 2016

The fact that most food lovers favour traditional food was reinforced by the panelists in a discussion titled ‘Like Mamma Used To Make- The traditional strikes back in the world kitchen' at the recent Times Lit Fest 2016 held in Mumbai. The discussion was all about food memories and traditional cooking. I learnt that scientists have found that nostalgia plays a very important role where food is concerned. One of the panelists Bee Wilson, a British food writer and journalist, shared that even babies have nostalgia, because babies are imprinted with memories of flavours from their mothers’ diet. This has been proved by some experiments conducted by scientists. During the course of these experiments, some pregnant women were fed lots of carrot juice in the last trimester of pregnancy.  After the birth of the babies when they were given the first bite of solid food they preferred the flavour of carrots. That I felt was a very, very interesting insight and I am not surprised that in this blog  dishes like chanar dalna, doi maach, pyaaz kali, gota shedhho hold an edge over the other dishes.

So after having shared with you what I learnt at the Times LitFest 2016, I will now  move onto the recipe of Cheerer Pulao. As with most dishes every home has their own traditional recipe, the following recipe is based on what I saw at home. My mum did not add saffron, I on the other hand decided to enrich it by adding a few strands of saffron.

Please note that this is a sweet pulao.

Here is a video of the dish and below that is the detailed recipe:

If you face any difficulty in seeing the video then please click on this url to view it on you tube.

I have given below the approximate quantity of each ingredient, you can change it in accordance to your need and taste.

  • Flattened rice- approximately 200gms
  • One green cardamom
  • 3 cloves
  • A small stick of cinnamon
  • One bay leaf
  • Little turmeric powder
  • A pinch of Kashmiri chilli powder
  • Raisins, chopped cashew nuts and a few strands of saffron.
  • Sugar to taste
  • A pinch of salt
  • Little refined oil or pure ghee/clarified butter for cooking.

Choose a thick variety of poha/ flattened rice.  Add water to it and immediately drain it out. If you soak it for too long in the water then while cooking, the poha/flattened rice might just disintegrate and become lumpy.
Leave the flattened rice on the strainer to allow all the water to drain out and at this stage add a pinch of salt and mix well. As it is not possible to add too much water to this dish it is better to add the salt while the poha/flattened rice is moist, this will help the salt to blend well with the flattened rice.
Dissolve some sugar in water. It would be better to use castor sugar as it easily dissolves in water. I used approximately three teaspoons of sugar because I like this pulao a little sweet. Do not use too much water for dissolving the sugar.
Dissolve the turmeric powder and the Kashmiri chilli powder or any red chilli powder of your choice in very little water.
Soak a few strands of saffron in water and grind to a coarse paste.
Heat a little oil or pure ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel else the dish may have a tendency to burn as you need to use very little water while cooking.
Add the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf to the oil/ghee, once they begin to crackle, lower the flame and add the chopped cashew nuts and stir fry for a while.
Add the poha/flattened rice. Stir a bit.
Now add the turmeric powder and the Kashmiri chilli powder that was dissolved in water.
Add the sugar dissolved in water. Finally add the raisins.
After stirring switch of flame.
Add the saffron paste.
Serve as a snack or maybe at breakfast too.


  1. wow ! Indeed its ea to make, am going to try it this week.

    1. It is easy, Rajee try it and let me know how it turns out.

  2. How interesting this is! I make poha at least once a week (my daughter, especially, is very fond of it), but I always make it savoury, with peanuts, mustard seeds, boiled potatoes, onions, and peas added to it. This one reminds me of zarda pulao - the ingredients are pretty much the same, barring the turmeric and red chilli powder.

    1. I make the savoury version too, it is filling and what's important the safe version, you do not have to worry about the fat but this one does have sugar but once in a way it is yum.