This has been an incredibly productive week in terms of food prep. I've had so much fun making my favorite Mumbai street foods, & I have the entire food52 team to profusely thank! Although in the end, this is a contest that will be judged & a winner selected and editors picks nominated, for the first time since I started participating in food52, It feels that adding these piquant offerings has been a labor of love. My entries may win or may not even be nominated for an editors pick, doesn't matter, I've already reaped my rewards!
Mumbai is the city of my childhood & youth, She's nourished & enriched me socially, culturally & academically. Its to Mumbai & its culinary heritage that I fall back upon when going nuts developing my unique creations of fusion cuisine. Picking just one street side food item would be like asking a mother to pick a favorite child!
I may as well make this a Bombay's big five series count down.. lets see.. Vada pao, Vegetable chutney sandwich, Pani puri, Sev batata puri & the one & only Bombay bhel puri.
Bhel puri is the only one of the set of dishes in this series that requires a spoon to eat. Bhel may be described as a colloquial term for 'mixture' As the name suggests, its a mixture of unsweetened puffed crispy rice, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, potatoes bound together by a piquant sweet & savory blend of green & brown chutney. the sev used to liberally garnish the finished product, adds an extra crunch. Of course, the extra heat that is added in the native version in the form of finely minced green chilies, has been omitted.. —Panfusine
puffed rice OR unsweetened rice krispies cereal
pieces of puries (Deep fried crisps available from the Indian store)
finely chopped heirloom or vine ripened tomatoes
For the cilantro mint chutney,please refer to http://www.food52.com/recipes/12414_basic_cilantro_mint_chutney and the recipe for the tamarind sauce may be found at http://www.food52.com/recipes/10460_sweet_sour_tamarind_sauce
Crumble the puries into small pieces and add them to the puffed rice in a large mixing bowl.
Add the finely chopped tomatoes, cucumber, onion & the potatoes, stir to combine.
Add the sweet & spicy chutneys & mix lightly till the chutneys coat the puffed rice.
Quickly ( this is of the essence since the puffed rice begins getting soggy), sprinkle with salt, pepper & paprika if desired. Ladle onto a serving plate, garnish with sev and chopped cilantro.
Serve immediately. the snap crackle & pop indicates the freshness. when that stops, you'll be left with a moist chewy mass of deflated puffed rice. Its still tasty though!