Flattened rice, commonly known as poha, (also called beaten rice) is a rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids. The thicknesses of these flakes vary between almost translucently thin (the more expensive varieties) to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain.
This easily digestible form of raw rice is very popular across India, Nepal and Bangladesh, and is normally used to prepare snacks or light and easy fast food in a variety of Indian cuisine styles, some even for long-term consumption of a week or more. It is known by a variety of names: Pauaa/Paunva (પૌંઆ) in Gujarati, "Poya" in Rajasthani, Chuda in Odia(ଚୁଡା), Atukulu in Telugu (అటుకులు), Aval in Tamil(அவல்) and Malayalam(അവൽ, അവിൽ), Chiura in parts of Bihar and Jharkhand, Chira in Bengali (চিঁড়া) and Assamese, Chiura (चिउरा) in Maithili, Nepali, Bhojpuri and Chhattisgarhi, Poha or Pauwa in Hindi, Baji in Newari, Pohe in Marathi, Phovu in Konkani, Avalakki (ಅವಲಕ್ಕಿ) in Kannada,
Poha can be eaten raw by immersing it in plain water or milk, with salt and sugar to taste, or lightly fried in oil with nuts, raisins, cardamoms, and other spices. The lightly fried variety is a standard breakfast in Malwa region (surrounding Ujjain and Indore) of Madhya Pradesh. It can be reconstituted with hot water to make a porridge or paste, depending on the proportion of water added. In villages, particularly in Chhattisgarh, flattened rice is also eaten raw by mixing with jaggery.
In Maharashtra, pohe is cooked with lightly fried mustard seeds, turmeric, green chilli, finely chopped onions and then moistened pohe is added to the spicy mix and steamed for a few minutes.
Flattened rice can be viewed as a convenience food and is very similar to bread in usage.