Instant Poha: Global Cuisine on a Budget

When it comes to family meal planning and the grocery budget I pretty much take charge in our house. Mr. T has many skills, but grocery shopping on a budget just isn’t one of them. Managing the meal plan also lets me add more Indian dinners to the rotation. Indian food and budget grocery shopping are actually a perfect match, and as a bonus, it’s generally very healthy. (Like the instant poha recipe I’m sharing below.)


Recently I was approached by the team behind PC Plus to try out their new rewards program at my local No Frills grocery store. I was instantly intrigued with the idea of collecting points for groceries we were already buying, but I wasn’t so sure about doing my grocery shopping at No Frills; my biggest worry was finding the desi ingredients I regularly use.  But what’s life without a little challenge right? So over the next few weeks, I’ll be creating Indian inspired recipes using ingredients I find at No Frills and sharing my experiences with the PC Plus program. I’m happy to report that there was actually a lot of ethnic foods to choose from, and I didn’t feel like I was “missing out” on my regular sabzi vegetable choices either. (Insert sigh of relief).

Since the kids are finally back at school after the extended strike in BC, I decided to create an easy lunch recipe for myself. When the kids aren’t home I tend to work through lunch and get very “hangry” in the late afternoon. Since mason jar salads work so well, and I love poha (flattened rice), creating an instant poha mix seemed like the perfect choice. I’ve seen a few versions of this on Pinterest, but I had to play around with water proportions quite a bit to get the consistency how I wanted it. I found most of the other recipes called for too much water and I ended up with sticky poha. 


Instant Poha Recipe:

3/4 cup of poha (flattened rice) for each jar
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 – 1 chopped green chili (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp of oil

{Side Note – if you are looking for poha at your local No Frills I found it in the section with the packaged spices.}


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add in the mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds start crackling, add the cumin seeds and chilies if you are using them. (I usually add kadi pata/curry leaves to my poha tempering also but couldn’t find any this week, if you have them on hand go ahead and add a few).
  2. Turn the heat down on the oil and add in the salt and turmeric, and mix well. Add the poha to your tempering mixture, remove from heat, and mix well. Remember; you aren’t trying to cook the rice flakes right now, you are just mixing the flavours.
  3. Pour the poha into a glass jar and top with layers of your favourite flavour combinations. This week I made three jars each with a unique flavour combo; carrot & ginger, boiled potatoes & onion (a classic kandha-poha), and a sweet & salty cashew and coconut flake option. Store in a glass airtight container in your fridge for up to a week. instant-poha
  4. When you are ready to eat, add hot water about 3/4 of the way up to the top of the rice flakes, and let it sit for 10 minutes. 
  5. Fluff the poha with a fork and eat it from the jar or transfer it to a bowl and enjoy!instant-poha

I have to say, this is one of my favourite recipes to date; simple, quick, and healthy. I was pleasantly surprised that the cashew and coconut poha was my favourite. If you decide to do that one, toast the cashews and coconut before adding them to the jar and top with a little red chili flake before eating – so yummy!

How did I make out with my PC Plus points? Since it was my first week using the program, my shopping habits weren’t loaded into the app, so the only two offers I claimed were for strawberries and laundry detergent, but I still collected 1300 points. (I only bought things that were actually on my shopping list to make a fair judgement of the program). However, I checked my current offers just before writing this post and they already match my shopping habits a little! Butter, spices, and fruit are all part of my personalized offers this week – not bad for just one week of analysis! PC-Plus-Program


Basically the app keeps track of what you buy most often and then you are rewarded with points for buying those things. I like this idea much better than getting a random coupon for an item that may or may not be on your list this week, and then scrambling to create a meal around that item. 

Images by: Aziz Dhamani

*This post was brought to you by PC Plus & No Frills. As always, I only share brands and products I like and actually use with my readers. All the opinions in the above post are all mine – pinky swear. 


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