Friday, October 14, 2005

Bhelpuri



The colorful bhelpuri has a fan following like no other street food in India. It is found as gilla (wet and saucy) and sookha (dry) bhel. Even our part of South India has a drier version. The original Bombay Bhel uses three different chutnies to spice up the otherwise dull puffed rice- sweet date chutney, mint chutney and some garlic chutney. Deccanheffalump has neat recipes for the garlic and date chutnies. The mint chutney is made by grinding equal quantities of mint and cilantro with a small piece of fresh ginger and a few serrano chilies. Squeeze some lemon juice and add salt as needed. Unless you are entertaining a lot of people at home, it is quite uneccessary, not to mention, time-consuming to prepare the three chutneys. Besides, homemade ones do not keep well. If you are interested in trying this spicy snack, a visit to the Indian grocery store should provide you with all the ingredients.

Normally I mix varying amounts of the three chutneys together according to my taste. But it is quite difficult to get the spiciness of the chutneys that a bhel-waalas makes. Besides, the 'ready-made' taste is overwhelming.














During the course of my constant experimentation, I found that this not-so-authentic mix of bhel, chutneys and sauces seem to work well. The taste of my homemade bhelpuri has gone up to a new level.

Bhelpuri (a not-so authentic version)

2 cups of Store-bought bhel mix (consists of toasted puffed rice, sev and potato chips)
1/4 cup of roasted, salted peanuts (optional, but adds a great crunch)
2 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 large tomato, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (I like to leave it out sometimes)
1 small slice of green mango, finely chopped with skin (optional, a nice addition by Chennai bhel-waalas)
2 T finely chopped cilantro
1 slice of lemon

Chutneys:
Mix together 2 T
sweet chutney
, 1 tsp
mint chutney
, 1/4 tsp garlic chutney, 1 T maggi Hot and sweet sauce and 1 tsp of red chili sauce (I used Thai sauce but this is optional), 1/2 tsp chat masala. The sauce should not be very thick but more like a bechamel. I use some water to dilute it. Some lemon juice can be used instead.

Keep the bhel mix in a large mixing bowl. Add potatoes, onion, tomatoes, peanuts, mango and cilantro. Now add just enough chutney to coat the mixture without making it too soggy. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon juice.

4 comments:

  1. God, I miss Bhelpuri... my favourite snack. My aunt once sent me the "readymade" bhel pack but it all tasted of plastic. Ugh. I didnt think I could make authentic bhel at home but I'm gonna try your recipe, Mika :)

    Btw, the best bhel in Chennai, IMO, was at Shanti Vihar hotel in Luz Corner :) Dunno if the hotel still exists...

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  2. Hi Shammi- If the bhel mix is fresh, you should not have any problems. That is one of the reason I wanted to use it up ASAP. And no the Shanthi vihar does not exist anymore. I have never had anything there and I always used to go to Bombay Halwa house next to my NIIT class.

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  3. wow, this blog is making my mouth water.

    I lived in Sri Lanka for 3 years and I miss the food terribly.

    Thank you for sharing!

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  4. hi mika, that looks and sounds so mouth-wateringly good...i really must make my way to the indian grocer's and find myself some bhel mix...

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