Friday, August 15, 2014

Bhel Puri

Bhelpuri is a savoury Indian snack, and is also a type of chaat. It is made out of puffed rice, vegetables and a tangy tamarind sauce. Bhelpuri is often identified with the beaches of Mumbai (Bombay), such as Girguam or Juhu. Bhelpuri is thought to have originated within the Gujarati cafes and street food stalls of Bombay, and the recipe has spread to most parts of India where it has been modified to suit local food availability.

A simple dish that can be mixed up within minutes once you have a few basic things on hand. A tasty chaat item loved by most Indians, especially people from Mumbai; who can find a chaat vendor on many streets and beaches. You can prepare the sweet chutney and freeze it for weeks. The puffed rice are readily available and so are the veggies and sev and puri. So just make some spicy chutney, and you are all set!

3 cups puffed rice
1 cup thin sev
Round flat puri
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 boiled potato, diced
1/2 raw mango, diced
Sweet Chutney
Spicy Garlic Chutney
Spicy Green Chutney
Any type of chivda
Cilantro, Lime Juice
Rock salt, Salt, Ground Cumin
Chaat Masala


Dates Tamarind Chutney as shown here: Pani Puri

Spicy Garlic Chutney

Blend 3 cloves of garlic, 1 inch ginger, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp rock salt, 1 tsp roasted cumin and 4-5 red chilies till you get a smooth paste. Add water if required to blend the mixture.

Spicy Green Chutney

Blend 1 clove of 1 cup cilantro, 1/4 cup mint, 6-7 green chillies, a pinch of salt,1 tsp sugar, some lime juice and a pinch of roasted cumin till you get a smooth paste. Set aside. This chutney can be used in any type of chaat and be refrigerated or frozen for days.

Putting the bhel together

The traditional chaat corner heats the puffed rice by putting a clay pot with burning coal in a big clay pot that contains the puffed rice. This keeps the puffed rice nice and crispy. Instead of this method, I microwave the puffed rice for 30 seconds. It gives the same effect! You can also choose to heat a tsp of oil and add the puffed rice, a tsp of turmeric powder and a tsp of salt to it. Mix and wait till the puffed rice are crisp on medium flame. Transfer to an air-tight container and it stays that way for a week atleast.

In a big mixing bowl, add the puffed rice, onion, tomato, potato and raw mango. Mix well. Then add dates tamarind chutney, spicy chutney and mix together. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Get the bhel out in bowls, or in paper cups to get a more authentic effect and garnish with sev and cilantro and serve with a couple of flat puris.

Try out other chaat items like Pani Puri here.

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