A Recipe for Bhel Puri

Bhelpuri, a variety of chaat in Indian cuisine
stu_spivak/Creative Commons
  • 20 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: Serves two people
Ratings (25)

A snack with almost iconic status in the western region of India, bhel puri, also recognized as bhelpuri, is a low-fat, nutritious and delicious food. It is a chaat, which is a spicy food that is typically sold via street carts throughout the region. Essentially, it is a puffed rice snack. You can eat it by the spoonful or scoop it onto a flatbread or chip. Some places serve it in a paper cone and it's eaten directly from there.

Some say that this snack originated in Mumbai, which, according to research, is common belief. The dry version of it is made from Bhadang, while the Kolkata version is named jhaal muri. Another kind is known in Bangalore as Churumuri or Churmuri. Bhadang is a dry version of bhel puri that is spiced with lemon juice, coriander and onions.

In general, bhel puri is made with Sev and puffed rice. The dry ingredients can be mixed with onions, potatoes, chat masala or chutney. It is spicy, but also sweet, tart, and salty depending on how you get it. Chilies and tomatoes can also be added to the base.  Chutneys give it different flavors, too. A saunth chutney is a dark sweet chutney derived from tamarind and dates, while the green spicy chutney uses green chilies and coriander leaves for its distinctive taste.

What You'll Need

  • 3 cups puffed rice (available at Indian stores)
  • A handful of roasted and salted peanuts
  • 2 potatoes boiled, peeled and chopped into tiny cubes
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • Half a bunch of coriander, finely chopped (approximately 1/10 pound or 50 grams)
  • 2 green chilies, finely chopped
  • Tamarind chutney to taste
  • Mint-coriander chutney to taste
  • A handful of coarsely crushed papdi (savory biscuits made from flour)
  • 1 cup sev (vermicelli-like snack made from gram flour and available at Indian stores)

How to Make It

  1. Mix the puffed rice, peanuts, potato, onion, tomato, coriander and green chilies together in a large bowl.
  2. Add the tamarind chutney or mint-coriander chutney according to your own taste preferences (that's the beauty of Bhelpuri)!
  3. Mix the entire contents of the bowl well.
  4. Garnish with plenty of sev and papdi. Serve and eat immediately.

Tips for Great Bhel Puri

Assemble the Bhel Puri just before you are going to eat it to prevent the puffed rice from getting soggy.

To make this snack even more quickly, simply store the puffed rice, ​sev and ​papadi in air-tight containers. Then pre-make and refrigerate or freeze the chutneys. This way, you can toss ingredients together on a whim, and do so without allowing any wet ingredients to absorb into the rice and therefore make it soggy.