Having been advised, and sometimes disciplined about eating anything selling at street stalls, we were in for our biggest treat while visiting our uncle in Bombay. Most likely, he decided that at 17 and 15 we would be manageable even if we fell ill. He bought us pani puris and bhel puris selling @ Chowpati beach :)
That was the first time I ever tasted something khatta-meeta-thikka all in one dish. But that was only once. Back home we were to forget even looking at street vendors. We were allowed generously, to purchase any item that sold in the college canteen. So we indulged ourselves in the puffs and cream rolls that were prepared at the college's very own bakery under strictly hygiene conditions.
Later with a group of boys and girls who were friends of a nephew, I treated myself to a Kaiyendhi bhavan style bhel puri in the X-cut road - Ghandhipuram market corner while working in Coimbatore. Then it was a Thursday evening treat from my husband to drive to Bur-Dubai from Khor Fakkan before exploring the many shopping options that Dubai has to offer.
The time I purchased a few cookbooks, my sister's neighbour had taught her to make the puris. That is all we needed. Now it is a regular chat affair at home. Two days ago we met with a friend to celebrate her daughter's birthday. It was meant to be a Pani puri and junk food party but the junk part was a whole lot of health ones.
That reminded me of the fact that I have in pictures the Bhel puri I made for my husband's birthday in July, yet in my picassa album. So, I put aside all procrastination this afternoon and am typing.
Bhel puri my style:
For puris: (Source: Mallika Badrinath's 100 snacks special)
3/4th of a cup Fine variety semolina
1/2 cup All purpose flour
2 teaspoons roasted and powdered urad dhal
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tiny pinches baking powder
Ice cold water or sparkling soda water to knead a stiff dough
Oil for deep frying
Mix all the dry ingredients, salt and the baking powder well. Using the ice cold water or the soda water, make a stiff dough. Knead repeatedly yet stiff.
Cover with a damp cloth and keep aside for 10 minutes.
Knead again until dough is elastic.
Make small puris and deep fry on low fire as and when you have rolled them. Let them not dry in the air. This may result in the puris not puffing enough.
The puris should be rolled neither too thick nor too thin. The fire also has to be medium to low. The puris have to be fried very crisp.
These can be made ahead and stored upto a fortnight.
Ompodi or sev for the bhel puri:
1 cup Gram flour
1 tablespoon rice flour
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Mix the flours with water and salt to make a smooth dough that can be pressed over hot oil using a very fine perforated fitted plate in a murukku press.
Heat oil and deep fry the pressed sev.
Mint Chutney and Sweet chutney:
Grind the following:
A fist full of fresh mint leaves
A tiny bunch of coriander leaves
A marble size ball of tamarind soaked in warm water
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons jaggery powder
Black salt to taste
2 or 3 dry red chillies Adjust as per requirement
Juice of 1 lime
Pass this through a strainer and add another cup of water to this juice.
Soak the following in water for 1/2 an hour and grind to a semi thick paste:
A big lemon size ball of tamarind
3 table spoons powdered jaggery
10 numbers dates seeds removed
2 table spoons raisins
4 red chillis
A little amount of salt.
Other Ingredients for Bhel puri:
2 tablespoons grated carrots
2 tablespoons grated cucumber
1/2 of a raw mango grated
1 big potato boiled and mashed
2 tablespoons green peas cooked till tender
1 red onion sliced very finely
2 teaspoons coriander leaves chopped
1 tomato chopped finely
1 cup puffed rice
Keep all the ingredients ready and before seving, mix them well and serve garnished with additional ompodi and grated vegetables and coriander leaves.
This goes to RCI - Event started by Lakshmi of veggiecuisine, currently held @ Lakshmi's Kitchen Chronicles celebrating RCI- Mumbai.