Bombay bhel is a savoury and delicious Indian snack. It is a must-try street food originally from Mumbai, Maharashtra.
If you have ever eaten on Mumbai’s street, you would have come across this bhel. Specifically from the street vendors on the seashores or the Mumbai beaches. The dish is one of the favourites for the people there.
It is rightful to make this snack popular. The reasons are valid enough. Firstly, this snack is flavourful. You can easily have a party of different flavours in your mouth with just one bite.
Secondly, it is so filling and at minimal prices. It’s also a vegan and gluten-free dish. Moreover, this doesn’t taste great but looks appetizing as well. Have you ever seen the street vendors making this? Well, you must!
The making process there is just as interesting and somewhat entertaining. You’ll rarely see a hawker who would use a chopping board to cut the vegetables. Even assembling all the ingredients is like a show, carried out in a record time. The Non-Indian tourists visiting there are always left awed.
Other Names Of Bhel
Although the process and ingredients are similar, this snack item has different names in different parts.
- Jhal Mudi or jhalmuri in West Bengal.
- Churumuri or churmuri in Karnataka.
- Bhel in Maharashtra, Gujarat, UP & MP.
- Jhala mudhi, kadle puri, masala mudhi in Orissa.
Even if people all over India make this snack with their style and touch, it won’t be wrong to say that Mumbai’s version is the most popular.
Now we know enough about this snack. We then proceed to see what we will need to make this.
Pre Preparations of Bombay Bhel
Bombay Bhel has multiple ingredients, some are replaceable, and some are not. It would be best if you kept in mind that this needs to balance the various flavours of all the ingredients combined. It makes the dish so loveable.
That is up to you how you want to do that. In this version, meethi and green chutney are used heartily for that burst of flavours. If you add chutney in a limited amount and any other wet ingredients, it will turn out to be dry bhel.
Puffed rice will be making the base of the dish.
Chopped tomatoes and onions are common ingredients in almost every type of bhel. Boiled potatoes are second to them. We are using all three here.
And as I mentioned, chutneys will play a significant part in this recipe. Don’t overuse them, or else the bhel will be too soggy to enjoy. You can adjust all the ingredients as per necessity, especially the spices.
Lastly, sev and coriander are great for the finishing part. Sev will add to the crunchy texture of the bhel. You can replace this with aloo sev.
What Else To Add?
The bhel is wholesome as it is. But to make it even better, here’s a suggestion of a few things to add for the same.
- Peanuts – These are a great addition to the bhel. Roast the nuts before adding them to get a crunchy, nutty flavour. If possible, roast them a little more than required to add a smokey flavour. You won’t regret it!
- Pomegranate – Pomegranate pearls are the next level add-on to your dry bhel. They add to the beauty of the dish immensely. Oh, and the sweet and tangy flavours are a plus.
- Cumin Seeds – Roast cumin seeds and blend them. Make coarse powder and add to your bhel. They increase the taste more.
- Mango – Make sure to add raw mango pieces to their available bhel. It will make it taste heavenly and also crunchy. Slices of cucumber can replace this but will not provide the tang.
- Papdi – We are not using many crunchy ingredients. If you want, add papdi to it. Or you can even use crushed puchka for the same.
- Coconut – Coconut is an important food product in South India. Hence, that version of bhel contains chunks and pieces of dry coconut.
- Chivda – To add to the flavours and texture, you can use any chivda you like. Or readymade chana jor garam and spicy roasted Bengal gram are good options.
- You can roast the puffed rice with salt and spices before using them. Then, you can add whatever spice you like to it.
- Do not store the dry bhel after adding chutney and lemon juice. It won’t stay crunchy. If you want to keep your bhel, don’t add liquid chutney. Instead, add only when you plan to eat the bhel.
- Add red chutney and sugar syrup for more flavours.
- You can add pieces of carrots or beetroot to the bhel as well. Also, flaked rice is an option to add.
- Add soaked dates while making the meethi chutney, and then use it in the bhel. It will be worth the taste.