Flattened rice or chindé is one of the most common evening snacks in Bengal. Whether its chindé bhaja (fried flattened rice) with roasted nuts or grated coconut or the chindé doi (sweet yogurt with flattened rice) – chindé has its own special place as the evening cha-er sathe ta. Chindé is so popular in Bengal that even grocery stores sale packed chindé bhaja.
Other than being such a hyped snacks dish, chindé is one of the many homemade remedies for keeping you cool during the summer months. Eating chindé doi for breakfast during the summer months is one of the many things which make a Bengali a true Bong. Probably because of its cooling effect you get to eat chindé doi on the very dawn of your wedding day. I remember y wedding day, my mom calling me at the crack of dawn and before I could understand anything she had wrapped a saree over my pj’s and t-shirt. And, there I was sitting in front of all relatives eating a bowl full of chindé doi.
The other very popular dish made with flattened rice is chirer pulao. This is almost similar to what rest of India calls poha or pohé. But, just like what happens when you say golgappa is better than Kolkata phuchka, the same thing happens here too. Ask any Bengali and he’ll surely say chirer pulao is far better than pohay. This is probably because a simple reason, the size and texture of the flattened rice that is available. Chira that we generally get in Bengal is a little smaller, softer and whiter than what the rest of India calls poha. While poha is made with roasted chillies, onions, mustard and cumin seeds and curry leaves, chirer pulao contains peas, cauliflower and the Bong favorite potatoes.
Chirer Pulao - Flattened Rice Pilaf
- 3cups chira
- 1 medium size potato, chopped to tiny pieces
- 1 floret of cauliflower, chopped to tiny pieces
- ¼ cup of peas, fresh or frozen
- A handful of peanuts, roasted
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
- 2-3 green chillies, chopped
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
- Salt to taste
- Pinch of sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Heat the oil in a wok and throw in the onions, potatoes and cauliflower, stir fry till the vegetables are half cooked. Season with green chillies, salt and sugar if using.
- Add the peas and cook till the vegetables are properly cooked. Add the chira and stir fry to mix the vegetables and chira together.
- If you want the chira to be crispy, take it out of flame garnish with the roasted peanuts and lemon juice and serve. If you like the softer version, sprinkle some water and let cook for a minute or two and then serve.