I have gotten into this annoying habit of taking afternoon naps. Now I know they say that afternoon naps are good for health; power naps provide a boost in energy and enhance your productivity etc etc… But when that nap stretches to over an hour it is too powerful for my liking. I mean think of it, I can get so much done in that time—play Harbor Master on the iPad or Penguin Diner on the PC. :D Jokes apart, I really could use the siesta time to get some work done without the supervision of my rambunctious and super-energetic son. It is quite impossible for me to get any work done if Devansh is not kept busy elsewhere. If I’m in the kitchen he’ll follow me, open the trolleys, and pull spoons and vessels out, try to climb on the platform by using the handles on the trolleys as steps, drag a chair from the dining room and place it next to the sink and insist on me washing his hands then and there in the kitchen sink. If I’m folding the clothes, he’ll jump on the clothes shouting “jump jump” with glee—as if his actions need subtitles. If I’m loading clothes in the machine, he’ll insist that he’ll do it. After loading the clothes he’ll open the detergent tray and give instructions “Aai ithe taaban (saaban) ghaal.” (“Mom put the detergent here.
While I can’t deny that his antics are endearing and entertaining, it means I can hardly get any work done when he’s around. Doing my chores when he’s sleeping is a good solution. But the problem is he will go to sleep only if I sleep. He is one of those kids who will fight sleep with all his might. This reminds me of my friend Ashwini’s kiddo, Ashvik, who is 6 months older than Devansh. Ashvik thinks sleeping is a waste of time. Although Devansh hasn’t articulated that thought, even he probably thinks along those lines. I am sure most moms of toddlers and kids can totally relate to this scenario. Moms of babies, your time will come. :p Anyways, like I was saying, Devansh doesn’t sleep if I don’t sleep. So I have to sleep next to him—actually “sleep”, not just lie down. Till the time he actually falls asleep, he gets up every couple of minutes to see if my eyes are open. If they are and we make contact, then game over. He’ll spring up in bed immediately—somersaults, jumping on the bed etc etc activities start and we have to begin all over. In the process of lying still for 10-15 minutes and pretending to sleep, I actually do fall asleep and have now gotten very used to taking afternoon naps.
Then the other day, I had slept for only 5 hours the previous day and was feeling quite sleepy. So I ended up sleeping for two hours in the afternoon; Devansh and I woke up at the same time. I had to make him his evening snack in shortest time possible for two reasons—he was hungry and because he wouldn’t let me cook in peace. I considered my shortcut phataphat options; sheera, rava upma, vegetable poha (cooked in water not kanda poha style) came to mind. But Devansh had eaten rava upma for breakfast so I eliminated that option. Sheera would have meant repeating rava, so that too was eliminated. I had a packet of organic poha lying with me for a couple of weeks. Now organic poha or any organic product for that matter has a shorter shelf life as compared to its non-organic counterpart. So less cooking time and the urgency of finishing the poha packet were the deciding factors in my choosing poha.
As you know, poha or flattened/beaten rice doesn’t take long to cook; in fact it can even be eaten without cooking. Many people have raw poha, soaked in water or milk. My mother sometimes has it with curd. Although I have never had eaten raw poha except the occasional “dadpe pohe” that I must have had at some relative’s place. Somehow this Maharashtrian dish wasn’t made at my place all that much. It’s on my to-do list but waiting for some time till Devansh is more enthusiastic about food that requires proper chewing. To come back to Devansh’s evening snack, I didn’t want to make vegetable poha for him because my cooking style for that is almost identical to vegetable upma. I could have made poha carrot kheer but that would have taken at least half an hour to make. In my spinach poha post, I’d mentioned that my doc’s assistant had suggested feeding Devansh, poha cooked in milk. I decided to give that a shot; I added some cardamom, clove, and jaggery, and work it did—Devansh liked this sweet poha porridge. Hope your li’l one does too.
Sweet Poha Porridge Recipe
- 3-4 tbsp poha (flattened/beaten rice)
- 3/4th cup milk (see note below)
- 1-2 cardamoms
- 1 clove
- jaggery as per taste
- Soak poha in some water for 5 minutes or so. (You needn’t do this if you are using thin poha. Currently I’m using thickish organic poha that has few pieces of rice husks in it—by-product of it being less processed. So I wash it, take out the rice husks, and soak it in water for sometime to soften it.)
- Transfer the poha to a pan, add half a cup of water and cook it on medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes. As we’re using less water, the poha can get stuck to the pan. So make sure to keep stirring the poha as it cooks. (I don’t use a non-stick pan for this recipe. Planning on reducing it’s usage to only when necessary.)
- After the poha is cooked, add milk. Now cook the poha on low heat. You can cook poha in (1 cup) milk directly if you want; especially, if you’re using thin poha that doesn’t take long to cook. I cooked poha in milk the first time. But I get scared of milk curdling, so now I cook the poha in water first and then add milk after it’s cooked.
- Extract seeds from the cardamom pods, and then add those to the mixture along with a clove. You can powder the seeds if you are making the porridge for babies who won’t be able to chew them properly.
- Keep stirring the mixture till it reaches desired consistency.
- Turn off heat and then add jaggery. Keep stirring till the jaggery melts. If you grate the jaggery before adding it, it’ll melt faster. As I’ve written in my Carrot Poha Kheer post, adding jaggery earlier will cause the milk to curdle. So add the jaggery only after turning off heat.
- Remove the piece of clove from poha before serving it to your li’l one.