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Monday, April 24, 2006

Bombay Bhel Puri

Friday night dinner are always one-shot meals with no left overs - the perfect time for me to come up with some new experiment. My pantry was stocked with ingredients for chutney - tamarind, coriander,mint etc. and it all seemed to point to one dish - Chaat

A bit of history - Chaat is really the Mumbai term for sweet and hot - basically it refers to dishes where a number of ingredients are thrown together and dressed up with sweet chutney and hot chutney.
Bhel puri (a mix of ingredients which are mixed with sweet chutney and hot chutney and tossed,almost like a salad)
Pani Puri - this is a variaion where we have a puri which filled with some savory sprouts, beans, potato etc. and topped with the chutneys
Ragda patties - Potato patties drowned in a bed of spicy peas gravy and topped with chutneys
Other variations are dahi puri, sev bata puri etc.
We grew up on this street-side fare back in Mumbai, and now, I like to put these together and get creative with it.

This is my recipe for a really mouth-watering bhel puri


For the bhel
3 cups of puffed rice or kurmura
1 1/2 cup sev ( fried chick pea flour noodles)
1 onion chopped finely
a handful of cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
1/2 tsp chaat masala
a pinch of kala namak ( blacksalt)
1/2 tsp red chilli powder

For the sweet chutney

1 cup tamarind
3/4 cup jaggery
1/3 cup dates
1 tablesp sugar
a pinch of salt

For the hot chutney
2 cups coriander leaves or cilantro
3/4 cup mint leaves
5-6 green chillies ( depending on your spice threshold)
a handful of peanuts

Sweet Chutney
Put the tamarind,jaggery, sugar and dates in a bowl with enough water to barely drown all the ingredients and simmer on a medium fire for 7-8 minutes. Cool and make sure that all the tamarind and date seeds are removed. Grind the mixture and strain to get a thickpuree. The puree should be thick and yet runny. Bring this to another boil with the salt. At this point, taste the chutney to see of the sweet-sour quotient works for you and if not, you can always adjust it by adding a bit of jaggery or tamarind paste. After the first boil, switch off the flame - your chutney is ready

Hot chutney
Grind all the ingredients in the mixie till well ground. This chutney can be thinner than the sweet chutney

For the bhel.
Mix all the puffed rice, onions, cumin, chaat masala, salt and kala namak in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of sweet chutney and 1/2 cup of hot chutney and mix well. Taste to check if the chutneys are well balanced and make adjustments if necessary.
To serve, ladle some of the above on to a plate, top with a generous portion of sev and decorate with a few sprigs of coriander leaves and serve with 3-4 papdis.

Some addition touches - My Bhel Puri has evolved over time and i have made a few changes to the basic recipe above. I like to add a a few cubes of boiled potato, some chopped tomato, roasted peanuts and chopped spring onion leaves to by bhel. To give it an extra dimension, I even add a teaspoon of tomato ketchup. You can get as creative as you like with this dish - add boiled garbanzo beans ( cholay) , sprouts, little diced cucumber, some mixed chewda, a handful of finely chopped raw mango etc.
The list is endless.


  • hi it was good...thanks.

    By Blogger aishwarya, at 9:50 PM  

  • hi thank you. It was good. Appreciate your efforts for sharing.

    By Blogger shanthi, at 11:30 PM  

  • thanks, bhelpuri turned out good> i agree, the best & tasty indian dishes are made at home!

    By Blogger Nina, at 12:28 PM  

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