Bhel puri holds a prized spot in the Indian street food list. This savoury snack is a combination of puffed rice tossed with vegetables, an assortment of spice powders and condiments.
To me though, bhel puri is a salad of sorts with the veggies, carbs, dressing and interesting elements. This can be made as indulgent or healthy, depending on your preference. With bhel, I tend to get naughty and add all the indulgent and deep-fried stuff. That is the best way to have bhel, no? ☺
This chaat or snack is made in many parts of India. My first taste of this chaat was when I was a little girl; my mum would make it on weekends for my sister and me. It was extra special to see her make some of the ingredients like the chutneys and sev from the scratch.
Bhel puri is famous in many parts of India, and is called different names in various regions. Some of the other names it goes by are jhal muri and churmuri. I have the variants in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru. I can’t really pick a favourite because each one has its own special touch, which makes bhel unique to that region.
So, I present to you my bhel puri. I unfortunately did not manage to get my mum to pass on her sev and papdi recipe while she was alive; however, on the bright side, the tamarind-date chutney in this recipe is almost similar to hers. ☺
Sev – 1 large cup full + a little more for garnish
Papdi – 12 pieces crushed + a few whole ones to serve
Puffed rice – 1 medium pack
Vegetables & herbs
Onion (large) – 2, peeled and finely chopped. Reserve ¼ cup for garnish
Potato – 1 large potato, boiled, peeled and lightly mashed
Tomato – 2, deseeded, finely chopped
Cucumber – 1, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped
Raw mango (optional) – 1 cheek, finely chopped
Green chillies (optional) – 2, finely chopped
Coriander – ¼ bunch, cleaned and finely chopped+ reserve some for garnish
Mint (optional) – a few sprigs, cleaned and finely chopped
Aamchur (dry mango powder) – ½ tspn.
Chilli powder – ½ tspn.
Chaat masala – 1 heaped tspn or more depending on your preference.
Black salt/ pink salt – 1 tspn.
Salt – To taste
Mint chutney – As required (Recipe: Grind a handful of mint and coriander leaves with green chillies and a small pinch of salt.)
Tamarind-dates chutney – As required - Recipe here
Lemon juice (optional) – 1 tblspn.
In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients first.
Add the chopped vegetables and herbs. Give it a mix.
Add the spice powders.
Drizzle the condiments. Add or reduce the quantity of the condiments depending on how sweet or spicy you like your bhel.
Mix all the ingredients to combine well.
Serve in individual bowls. Garnish it with some chopped onions, papdi, sev and coriander leaves.
Serve immediately as the puffed rice tends to get soggy with the inclusion of vegetables and condiments.
- Add or omit ingredients depending on your preference. Try not to skip the chutneys, as they are ingredients that lift the taste of bhel puri.
- There are so many variations you can make with this base recipe. You could also add veggies like chopped carrots, mung sprouts, corn and peas.
- You may want to take the spice levels down a notch if you are feeding kids or have very low threshold for spicy foods.
- If you are watching your weight, you could eliminate the papdi and sev.
- Unfortunately, making this in advance is never an option because the puffed rice loses its crunch once mixed with the wet ingredients. So, prep the veggies and other ingredients. Assemble it all just before you plan to serve it.