Bhelpuri~ One of the most popular chaat/ street food! Indians need no introduction for this quick to whip up, tangy mixture of puffed rice, boiled potatoes, chopped onion, farsan (crispy or crunchy, mixed fried munchies) mint and coriander chutney (dip), sweet tamarind/sonth chutney topped up with some crunchy sev (thin, fried, salted gram flour noodle strings). I sometimes wonder if its just Sindhis, who have a strong affinity for chaats or does it apply to all the communities of India? I doubt whether anyone can resist any type of lip smacking chaat, be it Panipuri, Sevpuri, Dahi puri, Raga patties or Bhelpuri .
My son is very fond of Bhelpuri, sookha bhelpuri , the drier version of regular bhelpuri, with the fresh tang provided by irresistible lemon juice (lime juice) instead of chutneys. Now, I would any day prefer to offer him a bowlful of ‘home-fixed’ bhel as after-school snack, than the addictive packaged chips or sugar loaded tetra packed fruit juice. And to make sure that the junk quotient of fried munchies is somewhat balanced by few healthy ingredients thrown in, I add in some chopped vegetable salad, coated with honey, lemon juice and red chilly dressing! Little sweet, little tangy, bit savory, crunchy and healthier Bhelpuri to curb the mid meal hunger pangs, sounds good deal, eh?
And while the young lad savors the drier version, I am always happy to throw in a dash of fiery green chilly chutney, some sweet date and tamarind chutney or Sonth chutney, some mint and coriander chutney and voila! the spicy salad bhel is ready to relish!
- Kurmura (Puffed rice) 3 cups
- Mint coriander chutney 2 tsp
- Date tamarind chutney/Sonth chutney 1-2 tsp
- Red chilly powder ½ tsp (or as per taste)
- Mixed Farsan (Bombay mix or any other variety) ¼ cup or less
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- ½ small potato boiled, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped red bell pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped yellow bell pepper
- 2 tbsp shredded/chopped cabbage
- 1-2 tbsp of diced tomato, without pulp
- 1 tbsp of finely chopped Raw mango (optional)
- Salt for seasoning
- Few drops of honey (optional)
- Red chilly powder, as per taste
- Fresh coriander leaves
- Chaat masala ¼ tsp (optional)
- Crispy Bombay Puris (Deep fried Maida puris) * 2-4
- 2 tbsp Nylon sev,
- Mix all the ingredients listed under 'For Salad', in a small bowl.keep it aside.
- Now in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients(except those listed under 'For garnish'), along with the salad mix. Toss well using two forks or spoons.
- Serve in a plate or bowl after garnishing with coriander leaves, some nylon sev and crispy Bombay Puri and make sure to consume it immediately or else the bhel will turn soggy.
A pinch of asafoetida
1 cup All purpose flour (Maida)
½ tsp cumin seeds/Ajwain (caraway)seeds
2 tsp oil (Ghee is preferred)
Salt to taste
½ tsp Red chilly powder
Sufficient water to make a dough
Oil for deep frying
Mix ghee/oil with maida together till the mixture looks like bread crumbs.
Add salt, chilly powder, hing, ajwain/ cumin seeds and knead a tight dough using water.Let the dough rest for a while.
Now divide this dough into 2 portions and roll each portion like a roti. Prick all over the surface with a fork.
Dip a circular cookie cutter, or a very small katori or lid of any small bottle in dry flour and cut out small discs from rolled dough and keep aside, well covered!
Deep fry, few pieces at a time, in hot oil,keeping the flame low, so that the puris do not remain uncooked from inside. Drain on kitchen towel and let these cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Stays well for several days at room temperature, if kept away from moisture.
For sookha or dry bhel, you can skip all sorts of chutneys and just add freshly squeezed lemon juice in puffed rice mixture. To bring in some sweet flavor, use around 1/4 tsp of honey in salad dressing or a pinch of sugar or so!