Bhelpuri is the king of chaat dishes and street food in the Indian subcontinent. Easy to make and super tasty, bhel puri is said to be originated from Mumbai. But people in all parts of India love it!
Famous as Bhel in Gujarat and Maharashtra, Churu muri in south India, Belfuri or jhal muri in Bangla. Bhel puri is famous in Nepal with the name chat pate.
Bhelpuri is not just a mix of tastes. It is also a mix of cultures in the Indian subcontinent! Nearly every region and every community have contributed to making this dish tastier and tastier! Communities such as Gujarati, Marathi, and Sindhi have contributed much to this dish.
The origin of the Bhel has multiple stories; one of them says it was invented in a restaurant named Vitthal near victoria terminus. It was considered a beach snack due to its connection with Juhu beach. Vendors sell it on the beach a lot.
Another story says that migrant workers and labourers from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar working in Mumbai invented it since it is easy and affordable to make.
No matter what origin story is true, Bhelpuri has won so many hearts it has become a part of Indian cuisine and people’s favourite list. Some people even play games like who can eat the spiciest bhel with friends! It is a fun game you should try it with your friends, too.
Few things to keep in mind
- Consume chaat, especially the Bhelpuri that we have made immediately after mixing the chutneys for the best taste.
- If you keep it for an hour after mixing everything, the puffed rice will lose its crunchiness. However, if you keep it for a few hours, Bhelpuri may also start to smell bad.
- If you make puri at home, it is much healthier and more hygienic.
Variations of Bhelpuri
Chaat dishes have multiple variations and versions. If you add/replace even one ingredient, then chances are high that you create a different version.
- Dahi bhel puri: Using dahi as a spread over the final version of Dahi puri can make the Bhelpuri taste a lot different. It gives a creamy and royal flavour to the dish. It is used in many chaat dishes such as bhel, raj kachori, etc.
- Mumbai Bhel: Pretty similar to Bhelpuri, but there is an addition of chutneys, Sweet Chutney, Green Chutney, and Red Chutney. Check out the Mumbai bhel here.
- Cheese bhel: The addition of cheese will take the essence of bhel to the next level. The smooth and royal taste of cheese will go along with the flavours of bhel. Cheese Bhel is a chaat dish you should try out at least once! Don’t miss this feast!
- Sweet corn: Adding corn or sweet corn will introduce you to Sweet Corn Bhel.
What more can I add to Bhelpuri?
- Ragda: Ragda (From ragda patties) can be a good addition. Some bhel vendors sell it too. So if you are up for new experience in bhel, this can be an excellent territory to explore. Try with a small amount, and if you like it, you can go for more.
- Cucumber: Cucumber is a very close member of the chaat family. Wherever there are tomatoes and onions, Cucumber too can work its magic.
- Raw or unripe mango: This ingredient might be seasonal, but it is one of the best! It gives an extra tangy flavour to the bhel.
- Aloo straws (Or just mashed potato): Potato straws or mashed potato add a nice texture and improve the taste.
- Pomegranate: Another fruity addition is pomegranate. Very commonly used, pomegranate will surely give
- Different flavours of sev: Sev has different versions and flavours such as Jheeni sev, aloo sev, tomato sev, and Ratlami Sev. And each sev can give you a different taste.
Ways to eat Bhelpuri
Puri is a significant and crucial part of bhel. One of the reasons I say this is because it creates multiple ways to eat it.
- Using flavoured puris: Puris have different flavours such as jeera, spicy, regular, and methi. You can use these flavours to explore the tastes of bhel.
- Crushing puri in the bhel: An extra crunchy and tasty version of the bhel.
- Using puri as an eatable spoon: This is my favourite one! I know the paper spoon from vendors doesn’t add to the taste. But using the puris to eat bhel is the most fantastic way to go! However, it may taste like papdi chaat but without chutneys on top of it.
What is the difference between jhalmuri and Bhelpuri?
Apart from the region, Jhalmuri and bhel puri have just one difference. And that is that Jhalmuri is spicier than Bhelpuri as it contains more green chillies. You can check the difference between the two in the Jhalmuri recipe here.
For how much time will Bhelpuri stay fresh?
If you have mixed all the ingredients, it is best to consume them within the first hour. But if you store all the ingredients separately, it depends on how long they stay fresh. Generally, the elements remain fresh for a couple of days easily.
Is bhelpuri junk food?
I don’t think so. Since it is famous as street food, you may ask that, but the ingredients are primarily vegetables and natural spices. So it is safe to say it is not junk food. Eating it on the streets can be less hygienic, but it is entirely healthy if you make it home with homemade ingredients.