Bhel puri is a chaat that is made from puffed rice bursting with flavors from the fresh veggies, roasted peanuts, and chutneys!
What is bhel puri?
Bhel puri is a popular Indian street food snack that has contrasting flavors and textures. It's made with puffed rice also known as murmura, veggies, tangy tamarind-date chutney, spicy green cilantro-mint chutney, and a variety of crunchy toppings. Every bite is a delicious combination of crispy, tangy, and spicy flavors, making for such a fun snack or appetizer.
Ingredients in bhel puri
Bhel puri like most chaats is customizable to your own taste buds. Here are the ingredients that are in this bhel puri recipe and how you can customize it to your liking...
- Puffed Rice or Muramura - Puffed rice is the crunchy element of this dish
- Roasted Peanuts - Roasted peanuts adds an another element of crunch for this chaat. In addition, it provides nuttiness and some added protein to this dish. Easily swap this out with your favorite nut.
- Crunchy additions - It is great to add some additional crunchy elements to bhel puri to keep it crunchy longer. Some crunchy additions include crushed papdi, crushed pani puri, and sev.
- Fruits and Veggies - The most common veggies in bhel puri are diced tomatoes and red onions. However, you can make a healthier version of this dish with added vegetables like shredded carrots, diced mangoes, and cucumbers.
- Cilantro-Mint Chutney - The green chutney also known as cilantro and mint chutney provides heat and a bright herbaceousness to the chaat. Customize the bhel puri with little or more of this sauce for a spicier snack.
- Tamarind Date Chutney - Tamarind-date chutney also known as Imli-khajoor chutney adds a sweet and sour sauce flavor to this chaat.
- Chaat Masala - Chaat masala is a complex and tangy spice blend that makes chaat so lip smacking-ly delicious. This spice blend can be purchased at an Indian store or online. It has a complex mix of dried mango (amchur powder), dried pomegrante, dried mint, black salt, as well as other warm spices to flavor the potatoes and chickpeas.
Tips to get crispy bhel puri
Nothing is worse than a plate full of soggy bhel puri. Here are some tips for serving crispy bhel puri for your guests...
- Toast your puffed rice in the oven - Puffed rice usually sits on shelves for months before you purchase it and becomes slightly stale by the time you use it. It makes a world of difference to bake the puffed rice in the oven at 325 Farenheit for ~8-10 minutes to really crisp up the rice. You can alternatively crisp the rice on the stove top on medium heat while constantly stirring.
- Add other crunchy elements. Puffed rice is inevitably very delicate so adding other crunchy elements like roasted peanuts, crushed papdi, crushed pani puri, and crunchy sev adds extra crunch and flavor to the dish.
- Limit the amount of water in chutneys - When making bhel puri, it is important to make your chutneys without excessive amounts of water to ensure that the bhel puri isn't drowned in water. You can checkout the cilantro-mint chutney and tamarind-date chutneys here for two chutneys that work great with chaat.
- Don't assemble chaat until you are ready to eat. When serving this chaat for guests, it is best to keep bhel puri as a DIY station or create a chaat-cuterie board with all of the ingredients for this dish. Guests can mix their ideal balance of vegetables, sauces, and crunchy elements to craft their perfect bhel puri. This makes for a fun and interactive dinner party idea but also keeps the bhel puri crunchy until guests are ready to eat.
Puffed rice and muramura alternatives
Puffed rice is also known as muramura in Indian grocery stores. You can find a large bag at most Indian grocery stores or online very cheaply. However, an alternative is to crush apart plain rice cakes that are sold as snacks in American grocery stores for an equivalent taste and texture.
Bhel puri sauces
The other two chutneys that are important for bhel puri are the cilantro-mint chutney as well as the tamarind-date chutney. The cilantro-mint chutney adds heat to the chaat while the tamarind-date chutney adds a sweet and sour flavor profile. The amount of each of these sauces can be customized depending on your taste buds which makes chaat such a personal experience. Checkout the blog posts on these homemade chutneys below as well as information on where to buy them. It is important that if you make these chutneys at home to limit the amount of water in these chutneys to lead to keep the bhel puri crispy longer.
Other chaat recipes you'll love
If you love chaats as much as I do, here are other chaats that you will love. Some of these are more traditional chaat varieties whereas some of them are riffs on classics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Puffed rice is easily found in local Indian stores or can be ordered online.
An alternative to puffed rice is crushed plain rice cakes. These are commonly found in American grocery stores for an equivalent taste and texture.
Bhel puri is best when eaten fresh. Other components of this chaat can be made days in advance but simply assemble the chaat right before you plan on eating to create a crunchy experience.
Yup! This chaat and its components are completely vegan!
You can create a DIY bhel puri or chaat-cuterie board for guests. Simply place the individual components of the bhel puri in charcuterie boards and allow guests to make the bhel chaat for themselves. This creates a bhel puri that is fresh and adds an interative element to your party.
The traditional vegetables used in bhel puri are diced tomatoes and red onions. However, other popular fruits and veggies include diced raw mangoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots, and pomegranate seeds.
Chaat masala is easily bought at local Indian grocery stores or online.