probiotic foods | poha or flattened rice flakes go well into a smoothie..

Poha or flattened rice flakes are a good prebiotic and probiotic food, easily and cheaply available to all. I am surprised why it is not seen as one by nutrition and health professionals. I have discussed in one of my posts (mango poha) how it is a whole grain and brown poha is better than the white one. Not only because it has more fiber and more Vitamin B complex, because the white variety in markets seems to be bleached to make it perfectly white. Poha cannot be made using polished rice so there cannot be a white poha unless it is bleached, So always look for unbleached brown poha.

The process of making poha from paddy involves parboiling the grain and then beating it so the husk is separated and the rice inside becomes flattened. The separated flattened rice is then dried to get rid of all the water in which it was parboiled. Complete drying takes about two days and the grain gets partially fermented during this period, converting the starches in the grain as well as supplementing it with Vit B complex and a few probiotic bacteria, which cling to the flattened grain. Soak it again to make something like Mango poha or Dadpe pohe and reap the benefits of probiotics from a cheap and easily available food grain. Gluten free grain at that.

I had seen tribals of Jharkhand who used to drink rice flakes and rice puffs water to relieve a gassy stomach or irritable bowel. That is ancient wisdom that they have acquired through generations of practice. They would just soak a handful if rice flakes (poha) or rice puffs (moodhi or murmure) overnight and drink the water first thing in the morning for a few days to treat IBS. It was such a simple logic and I was awestruck at witnessing such a clever use of resources. I never took any probiotic supplements after that.

I would tell you a few easy ways to include this soaked poha into your breakfast so you don't feel icky using a soggy grain. Here is one tasty way.

Twelve soaked almonds, one banana and a generous tablespoon of soaked poha. All goes into the blender and gives a nice tasty smoothie for breakfast. I don't even peel off the skin of almonds. All seeds and nuts too have some microorganisms clinging to their surface. Why not use them whole?

Another smoothie is made using 4-6 strawberries, one medium sized steamed winter carrot, 12 soaked cashew nuts and a generous tablespoon of soaked poha.

This smoothie wont ever let anyone know it has carrots in it. Try it once and see how it is lapped up by everyone. Increase the amount of strawberries if they are not in season's best of flavors.

No milk is used in both these smoothies. The nuts and the soaking water is enough to make the smoothie liquid enough to be able to drink. So the smoothie is fit for vegans and lactose intolerant individuals too. Veganism I don't believe in but lactose intolerance is a serious concern.

You know good nutrition is not to be compromised even when your choices or budget is restricted. Probiotics and protein enriched smoothies to start a day is not at all difficult. Did you notice these smoothies have no added sugar. The mild sweetness of nuts and the fruity sweetness is enough to make them quite flavorful and sweet.


  1. Excellent recipe.....!! Very satiating.The write up is so lucid.
    I have spent some time in Dhaka and have seen the locals breaking there Ramzan fast with Moodhi...I mean the amount they stock seemed crazy...At that time I thought it helps filling up an empty stomach, but now I know better.
    Sunita Damodar

  2. wow, that is such a good recipe. These days probiotics has become so important, especially as everyone is taking antibiotics for all those diseases. Please do send it to my "Healthy Me & Healthy Us" event. Please do read the event rules :)

  3. This is neat on so many different levels. The puffed rice water thing was something I encountered as a kid (grandma wisdom) and I figured out how it works only after reading this post. Of course, it is a practice I have abandoned and this post is a reminder. Loved the smoothie idea. Adopting and sharing. :)

  4. i wonder why poha is not given its due credit. so much i see around with quinoa, oats, spelt and all videshi stuff. why don't we go back to our own roots. we have poha, amaranth seeds, makhana, dalia that can be used as great breakfast cereals.

  5. btw, try poha with coconut milk + jaggery or with some coconut milk just soaking them lightly too reserve the crisp texture + fresh coconut gratings + powdered/grated jaggery. too good :-)

  6. Your recipe is looks awsme, you give the easiest way to prepare this recipe, from your recipe tips many people gets advantage. Regards, Poha

  7. Awesome blog. I have verb suffering from lactose intolerance and not getting enough probiotics has been a nightmare. This is fantastic. When u say soak poha overnight, I should rinse poha few times and soak a handful with water right? In the morning, drink that poha soaked in water or make smoothie. Is that what you meant? Thanks

    1. Thanks Gayathri.
      Just rinse poha once and soak overnight. And yes, consume the soaked poha along with the soaking water as is or blend in the smoothies like the above.

  8. Hi Sangeeta,

    I am suffering from IBS-D. I have heard that flattened rice (poha) is heavy for digestion and hence not good for me. I do not understand why rice is easy for digestion whereas poha is not, even thought it is made from rice only. Can you please throw some light on it?


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