Thursday, May 14, 2009
Speaking of chaat, think it won't be such a bad idea to have some on the side as I write this post...excuse me, will you, while I go and fix myself some bhel puri?
So as I was saying, we love our chaats, especially bhel puri. And though there are restaurants here that serve very good chaat, nothing compares to the chaat that is served on the streets of almost any and every city back home. In fact, one of the first things we do when we go to India is to hit the streets for some chaat.
Wait for a minute - think I need to add some more spice to this plate...
Almost everyone who has had chaat on the streets would have that one chaatwala who, they will aver and insist, makes the best chaat ever. Terradaze and I have been going to 'our' chaatwala since the time we were in college. Back then, given our very slim monthly allowances, even a..
(eats a few spoonfuls...hmmm. nice, really nice)
.... 5 buck bhel puri was a big indulgence - especially given the fact that we would have it at least twice every week - so more often than not, we'd end up sharing a plate, savouring every mouthful.
(a few spoonfuls more, the bhel puri is fast disappearing)
Then, we got jobs and moved to Bombay. Now, we could afford to have a plate of bhel puri all to ourselves, but unfortunately, could visit our chaatwala once every few months. And though there were so many chaatwalas all over Bombay, we still felt that 'our' chaatwala was better than the best. And so whenever, we went back home, very dutifully, we would seek him out. On one such visit, I managed to coax him to tell me how he made his bhel puri.
(eats the last spoonful)
And though I love the way my bhel puri turns out, I still think that nothing, absolutely nothing, can beat the taste of street food eaten on the streets!
(stares at the empty plate....ummm...why don't you take a look at how I make my bhel puri while I go and fix myself some more)
Puffed rice - 11/2 cups
Sev - 1/2 cup
1 Onion, chopped
1 Tomato, chopped
1 large potato, boiled and cut into cubes
Raw green mango, chopped - optional
Roasted masala peanuts, optional
Papdi, crushed into a few big pieces
Coriander leaves, for garnish
For the tamarind chutney:
Soak some tamarind - 2 lemon sized balls - in warm water for about half an hour. Extract the juice, strain it. To this add some pureed dates (soak 10 dates for a few hours, take the seed off and then puree in the mixie), 6-8 tbsps jaggery, 1 tsp roasted jeera powder, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder, rock salt and 1 tsp chaat masala. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 15-20 mins till the juice thickens. Adjust the sweetness to your taste by addingmore or less jaggery.
For the green chutney:
Grind these together to a fine paste - 1 cup coriander leaves, 3/4 cup mint leaves, 6-8 green chillies, 1 large clove of garlic, juice of 1/2 a lemon and rock salt.
Making bhel puri:
Assemble all the ingredients listed from puffed rice to roasted peanuts. Add a few teaspoons of the tamarind chutney and the green chutney according to your taste preference. Mix it well. Add rock salt, if needed. Garnish with some chopped coriander, chaat masala, some crushed papdi, chopped onion and sev.
And though I now prefer to not share my bhel with anyone, I really would like to share it with Sunday Snacks : Chaats/ Indian Street Food hosted by Pallavi and with JFI:Mint hosted by Ashwini, event conceived by Mahanandi.
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!