I am a person who generally loves temples (actually any place of worship). I rarely miss an opportunity to visit a place of worship anywhere in the world. It happens so often even on vacations that I often promise myself that I will NOT visit temples on a particular trip. 🙂
One great thing about Mumbai is that it has some great temples and a particular favourite is the Siddhi Vinayak temple in Prabhadevi. It is about 8 kms from my home, and I often walk to it early in the morning with my friends CKV and his wife, CVS. If you get to Siddhi Vinayak temple by about 7 AM, it is quite quiet and peaceful.
Siddhi Vinakayak temple has these Silver Mooshikas. It is said that if you whisper your wish into the ear of the Mooshika, it is sure to be fulfilled. When you are whispering your heart’s desire into one ear, be sure to cover the other ear of the Mooshika with your palm. 🙂
For my non-Indian readers, Vinayaka is the elephant headed god, who also goes by the name Ganesha or Ganapati. He is Vighnaharata (destroyer of obstacles), Sukhakarata (harbinger of all things good), and Dukhaharata (destroyer of sorrows). Before we start any new activity, we always invoke Vinayaka.
The mouse or Mooshika is dear to Vinayaka, and his mode of transport.
In addition to the spiritual nourishment, we also look for nourishment for the body, and that means a visit to Prakash, near Shiv Sena Bhavan in Dadar. Prakash is this traditional Maharashtrian eating place that serves delectable snacks like Thalipeeth (only after about 8 AM), Sabudana Khichadi, Sabudana Wada, Bhajni Wade, Misal, Kothambir Wadi, Piyush, and and and….
While the traditional pohe is available all the time, Sundays mean Prakash serve Vangi Pohe or Pohe with Brinjals. The first time I was offered this dish, I was reluctant to try it, but I am so glad I did. The Vangi adds a touch of je ne sais quoi to the pohe.
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 Minutes
- Pohe/Beaten Rice – 1 Cup
- Baby Brinjals – 3
Or Thin Long Purple Brinjal – 1
- Green Chillies – 3 or 4
- Mustard Seeds/Rai – 1/2 tsp
- Cumin Seeds/Jeera – 1/4 tsp
- Grated Coconut – 3 tbsp
- Curry Leaves – A Few
- Chopped Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
- Asafoetida – A Pinch
- Sugar – 1/4 tsp
- Salt to Taste
- Take about 3 cups of water and dissolve 1/2 a tsp of salt in it.
- Add the pohe to the salt water and let it sit for exactly 2 minutes. Be careful not to leave the pohe in the water for too long. If you do, you will have a lumpy mess on your hands.
- Using a colander, drain all the water and let the pohe sit for about 30 minutes so that all the residual water is drained. You should be left with soft fluffy pohe.
- Chop the brinjals into 1/2″ pieces. Put them in water till you are ready to use them.
- In a kadai, heat the oil.
- Add mustard seeds and wait till they splutter.
- Add slit green chillies and cumin seeds.
- Fry for a minute.
- Add brinjals and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Add about 2-3 tbsp water and let the brinjal pieces cook till they are soft.
- Add asafoetida, turmeric powder, salt, sugar, and curry leaves.
- Stir fry for about a minute or till the sugar dissolves.
- Add the pohe and mix well.
- Garnish with freshly grated coconut and finely chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve hot.
In Maharashtra, typically, pohe is served with a wedge of lemon that is freshly squeezed over the pohe just before it is eaten. It adds a nice tangy taste to the pohe!
- I soak the pohe because then the pohe remains soft and moist. You could also hold it under running water for a minute or two. If you do that then drain it for about 15-20 minutes. more than that and the pohe will be dry.