The IPL season is upon us and my house is sounding more and more like a sports bar. And when the Mumbai Indians play, lusty cries of ‘Sachin, Sachin’ erupt from my husband’s lips. I don’t think he’s ever chanted my name that faithfully!
The Mumbai Indians are the local Mumbai cricket team and are playing the Bangalore Royal Challengers today at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.
The home crowd is in full frenzy and all that zesty cheering made me nostalgic for some true-blue Mumbai food.
Eating Bhel Puri at Chowpatty Beach is one of the quintessential Mumbai experiences.
The setting Sun, the Arabian Sea, the noise and crowds, the hawkers selling balloons and other paraphernalia and of course, the food carts selling Chaat and Golas: everything comes together to create a scene like no other.
Bhel Puri is part of the ‘Chaat’ family, which I had referred to in my Samosa Chaat post. It is basically puffed rice (Bhel) that is tossed together with onions, tomatoes, boiled potatoes, spices and tangy chutneys. Quite healthy, really and yet so, so delish!
It is one of those dishes that comes together in 10 minutes, but requires that you have all the ‘special’ ingredients on hand, such as the ‘bhel’ (puffed rice), the ‘sev’ (super-thin fried noodles made with chickpeas flour) and the ‘puri’ (fried discs made with flour and spices) and the chutneys already made. The chutneys freeze really well and can be made in bulk and kept frozen for up to 6 months.
Bombay Chowpatty-Style Bhel Puri:
2 cups Puffed Rice (Bhel) *
1/2 cup Thin Sev *
1 teaspoon Spicy Green Chutney (See below)
2 tablespoons Sweet Date and Tamarind Chutney (See below)
1 medium Red Onion, finely chopped
1 large Tomato, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
2 teaspoons Lime Juice
1 Large Potato, boiled and chopped into cubes
10 Puri or Papdi, roughly crushed *
A few sprigs of Cilantro, finely chopped
In a large bowl, toss together the puffed rice with the chopped onions, tomatoes and potatoes. Add the chutneys and the chaat masala and mix. Finally, add the papdi and the lime juice and toss together lightly. Plate up and top with the sev and cilantro. Serve immediately.
* You should be able to find these at Indian grocery stores.
Spicy Green Chutney:
1 large bunch Cilantro or Coriander Leaves
1 small bunch Mint Leaves
6 – 8 hot Green Chillis
Juice of half a Lime
1 inch piece Ginger
1 large clove of Garlic
Salt and Water, as needed
Grind together all the above ingredients in a blender, using minimum amount of water, till you get a smooth paste.
Will store frozen for up to 6 months.
To use, simply thaw to room temperature and add water to get the right consistency.
Sweet Date and Tamarind Chutney:
15 Dates, deseeded and chopped roughly
1 small ball of Tamarind or 2 tablespoons Tamarind Pulp
1 tablespoon Jaggery (Substitute with Brown Sugar, if unavailable)
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
Salt and Water, as needed
Cook the dates with just enough water to cover them for about 15 minutes, or till turning mushy.
If using Tamarind, add the tamarind to the dates and cook together. If using tamarind pulp, skip this step.
Once the dates are cooked, cool and blend to a paste.
In a medium sized pot, add the dates paste, (tamarind pulp), jaggery, red chilli powder and salt as per taste.
Add about 1/4 cup of water, mix and cook till the consistency is thick like that of tomato ketchup.
This should take about 15 minutes.
Cool and use as needed. This chutney also freezes well and can be stored frozen for up to 6 months.