Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Here is a Guest Post by my friend Dhananjay Joshi - a multifaceted personality - an ex-navy buddy, an engineer, a teacher, an artist, a painter, a raconteur, a philosopher, a thinker and a foodie. 

KANDA POHA ( aka Kande Pohe )

The explosion of global cuisine in our metros is gastronomically exciting. 

But what excites me is the word play associated with these foreign dishes. 

Sample this – “…lightly stir fried handpicked shiitake mushrooms served with a dash of jankanoo pepper sauce and delicately seasoned in rosemary-thyme syrup served with an array of five eclectic dips..

This is enough to even start a non-foodie salivating. 

There is an element of consumer psycho-graphics in the careful crafting of these menu cards. 

They are designed to re-assure the customer that they are indeed getting value for its ridiculous price. 

The “cooler” it sounds, the higher the price.

So, I tried to make the humble Marathi “kanda-poha” sound exotic on the menu. 

Here is my effort:

A lightly steamed affair of the choicest hand flattened rice grown on the Western coast of exotic India. Mouth wateringly spiced with a sprinkle of popped mustard seeds, curry leaves, garden fresh green chillies and native asafetida. Served with a topping of the choicest roasted unskinned peanuts and lightly garnished with finely chopped window sill coriander…”


How much would you pay for it? 

Isn’t it more about marketing it cleverly?  

Look at what the Italian moms did to the pizza! 

Its humble origin was to get rid of dinner leftovers.

The kanda-poha is indeed a delicacy. 

Soak the poha incorrectly and it either becomes a messy ball or a chewy feed. 

Steam it inconsistently and it becomes a crispy chivda. 

Toss the roasted peanuts in too early and they lose their crunchiness. 

Garnish it too early and the coriander loses its aroma. 

Getting it right is not easy.

We just need to make it all sound cool, and people will pay.

My Comment:
Just have a look at the mouthwatering gastronomic jargon on menu cards of some fancy restaurants describing rather prosaic dishes, and you will fully agree with what the author has to say.


Meghna said...

Wow that description of "Kandaa Poha" did sound cool. Only if my mum could ever 'market' her Karela, Cabbage and Methi that ways..haha

Unknown said...

Totally agree with you.... Loved the way you described Kande pohe..... I was smiling all the way when i read it.... Immensely creative

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ meghna @cynthia - Do you know that in earlier times, when a boy used to go to "see" a girl, the girl made "kanda poha" and it was the deliciousness of this dish that clinched the marriage.

Unknown said...

Oh yes.... Have heard of it :)