Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bhel puri with pomegranates

Bhel puri may be called the king of all chaats. Chaat is small plate of savory snack, usually associated with street-side vendors. But these days they are served even in five star restaurants. Bhel puri and Pani puri are the two most popular chaats and they are soooo yummy!!

The first time I ever tried bhel puri (any chaat, for that matter) was when I was in my first year of college (yes!! you read it right). My friend Tasneem took me to 'Gangotri', the chaat and sweet shop in Chennai. I enjoyed it a lot and started trying different varieties of chaat at every opportunity I got and loved every one of them, especially the ones with yogurt.

Bhel puri is a mixture of puffed rice (bhel), cooked potato cubes, sev (fried and crumbled besan noodles), papdi (fried flat savory snack made from all purpose flour) and an assortment of vegetables. Adding pomegranates was my idea and is not part of a typical bhel puri. I also replaced the sweet chutney (Tamarind-Date chutney) with my own pomegranate chutney.

Lets gather the ingredients.
Puffed rice - 4 cups
Thin sev - 1 cup (to mix in and garnish)
Potato - 1 large, steamed and cubed
Pomegranate arils - 1 cup (to mix in and garnish)
Papdi - about 10 - 12 pieces
Tomato - 1 medium, finely chopped
Red onion - 1, finely chopped
Carrot - 1, grated
Cilantro - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Green chillies - 3 finely chopped (or to taste)
Freshly squeezed lime juice - few drops
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp
Chili powder - 1/4 tsp

Chat masala - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Green chutney - 2 tbsp (ground cilantro, mint, ginger, green chillies and lemon juice)
Pomegranate chutney - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

All the above ingredients are available in Indian stores (of course, except the pomegranate chutney)

Mix puffed rice and thin sev in a large bowl and set aside (dry). Add rest of the ingredients into another bowl and toss thoroughly (wet). When it is time to serve, add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well. Garnish with more sev and pomegranate arils. Serve immediately, or it will get soggy.

This was our starter /snack during the POM dinner party I recently hosted. Check out the recap here.


  1. Super recipe Renu.. Am hitting the chat shop tomo. You've tested my patience ;)