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Sunday, March 11, 2007

bhel puri

easy recipe chaat indian snack bhel puriBhel Puri is a popular street food in India. On a dull, rainy weekend afternoon, it acts as a quick pick-me-up when served along with aromatic, steaming chai. Bhel Puri has been a favorite at home as it is an easy snack to put together.

I like it for its simplicity. A couple of chutneys, some toppings, some store-bought sev (thin fried noodle-like dish made with chickpea flour usually) and puffed rice (sometimes sold as murmura in indian stores) and it is ready to be assembled to taste.

My mom makes sev and maida biscuits and such at home so it is always handy, and makes the bhel puri extra special, but, this version here uses sev and murmura readily available at indian stores. I like to zap them in the microwave briefly to "revive" the packaged sev and murmura before adding the toppings and chutneys.

A couple of times, I have served bhel puri with store-bought asian chow mein-style, deep fried crunchy noodles instead of sev, as i didn't have sev handy, and it turned out just as tasty :-)

Also, indian stores sell "chaat masala" powder, which can be stirred into the bhel puri for extra flavor. Chaat masala can be made at home in large batches and stored in air-tight containers as well.

Chutneys: Typically, there is a
used for this snack. I had some cranberry-rhubarb chutney handy, which acted as my sweet-and-sour chutney, so, I just made a simple cilantro-chili-mint "green" chutney¹ as in footnote below.

Toppings include (but are not restricted to):
  • finely diced onion
  • finely diced tomatoes
  • finely diced green chilies
  • cooked and crumbled potates, spiced with turmeric, salt and chili powder
  • cooked chickpeas
  • finely diced green mango
  • grated carrots
  • peanuts
Assembly is easy, and is left to each one's taste: just throw the sev, murmura, and toppings together in a bowl, add a little of each of the chutneys, adjust to taste, stir and enjoy!

Some like it soggy and wet, so, stir in a lot of chutney. Some like it pretty dry, so, not as much chutney... plus, some like it sweet-and-sour, some like it hot-and-spicy...
easy recipe chaat indian snack bhel puri

puffed rice
mint-cilantro-green-chili "green"¹ chutney
tamarind-date-raisin "sweet" chutney OR cranberry-rhubarb chutney
potatoes, cooked but not mushy, crumbled
finely diced onion
finely diced tomatoes
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper powder
chaat masala powder (optional)
salt to taste
1 tsp oil

heat oil in a pan, and sauté the potatoes with a pinch of turmeric powder, cayenne pepper powder and salt; stir gently till well-incorporated
assemble the ingredients in an individual serving bowl, adjust to taste, serve immediately

¹ For "green" chutney: sauté chopped mint, green chilies and cilantro; grind to a chutney, adding cayenne pepper powder, salt and water as needed; optionally, add a splash of lemon juice; adjust to taste


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