An editor asked me to write a story on the Goan custom of making poha for Diwali. She thought since I was a Konkani, I would know the custom – I didn’t. I called up my aunt, a wonderful cook who knows practically everything about food, to ask her for info. She gave me poha recipes but the dishes are made not on Diwali, but on Krishnashtami, the birthday of Lord Krishna. I didn’t know there were so many poha recipes and so many special daysfor them to be prepared!
I called a friend who grew up Goa and she told me about all the Goan Diwali customs, including the making of 5 different fau (the Konkani word for poha and pronounced fo) on Diwali day. Armed with the recipes and the history behind their being made on this particular day, I was ready to cook for my story. I made 5 different pohas. Dahi poha, milk poha and batata poha were easy to make. Even rosathle fau – poha in coconut milk and liquid gur is a simple recipe. For the kaliyale fau or mixed poha, there has to be a special masala made, but aside from this, this poha is also not difficult to make. Apparently, the morning meal of poha was not supposed to take too much time to make because so many other preparations for Diwali needed to be done by the women on that day, so they purposely kept simple.
No one in my family wanted to eat the pohas that I made, so it was just me and the poha and I ate quite a bit – not wanting to waste, of course. I loved the coconut milk poha, the mixed poha and surprisingly the milk poha. It was soothing, meaty, and with just a little salt, it was a perfect filling and healthy snack. I kept thinking — I wish my kids would eat this!
However, by the end of the day I had enough of poha and felt like I had come concrete in my stomach. I forgot the rule of moderation that day and was reminded that too much a good thing is no longer a good thing! Check out my Goan Diwali story in Pune Mirror here.