Friday, January 20, 2006

Jhaal moori- Kolkata Street Food

My husband was in Kolkata for a few years and he loved being there. The one thing he misses and often raves about is the street food. Street food in Kolkata can be anything from dosa, to Chinese food to the usual chaat. We keep trying to make the famous Jhaal moori, a dry version of bhelpuri. Recently, a Bengali friend mentioned her way of making it. The key is to use mustard oil. But before you run to get a bottle, I warn you- mustard oil is an extreme food. It has a wasabi like kick when you use it raw like in this recipe. If you are not a Bangla, chances are you will not like it. But I am an exception and I like it. My husband, having lived on foods cooked with mustard oil for two years, hates it. So if you buy, get the smallest bottle you can find.

My friend has a solution too-if you don't want to buy mustard oil, use the oil that collects on top of Indian achaar. Simple enough...

Jhaal moori- for one

1 cup bhel
2 T sev
a sprinkling of finely chopped onion
1 green chili, finely chopped
1 T roasted peanuts
a sprinkling of chopped cilantro
a pinch of red chili powder
salt, as required
1 tsp of mustard oil or more to coat
a good squeeze of lemon juice

Mix and serve at once. It is easier to make individual portions and serve. In my experience, larger portions become too oily or get soggy before you eat it.

I used Nupur's Quick Bhadang and left out the sev. Bhadang is great on its own and this way it was even better. It is really worth making a lot of the bhadang and storing it up for eating as a snack, bhel puri or jhaal moori.


  1. Ooh that looks so good! Mika, thanks for trying the bhadang recipe...and I am glad it worked. I have some puffed rice left over and I will try this.
    Thanks for your tip of substituting pickle oil...neat trick!

  2. Hey Mika,

    I remember reading about this street food in Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Namesake'. A Bengali woman substituting rice krispes for bhel and craving the mustard oil. Anyway just thought I ought to let you know!! Thanks for recipe!

  3. Sounds yummy! I love bhel puri and this is a quick version of that.

  4. Oh I love bhel puri and in fact my first time eating it as in the streets of Kolkatta! It was so good I bought some to eat in the car to the airport. Never dared to try to make this myself though. I might timidly attemp to one day based on your recipe. Thanks for posting it!

  5. Hello Mika! I bumped into your blog while I was casually searching for Indian food. It is just awesome! I love the recipes that you've given.I have blog on Indian food and it is relatively new. Please visit it and let me know if you are interested for link exchange or if you mind including my blog in your favorite list.Have a nice day!