Bhel Puri

Duh! I can’t believe I never thought of using the microwave! Now I just have to keep potatoes on hand at all times.

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(post deleted by author)

Hello @grumpyspatient
I’ve am the owner of an Indian restaurant chain in the US.

We frequently receive praise for our food. The Bhel is of our best-sellers.
You can come in any time and have a discussion with our chefs to attain the authentic recipe of Bhel.

Check our blogs if you wish to gain a perspective of Indian cuisine & its incredible flavors.

In case you crave the original taste, place an order now to enjoy pure tangy bliss!

After reading some of these additional responses, I cannot recall ever having potatoes in Bhel Puri that I’ve had at a restaurant (namely Neelam and Bollywood Tadka).

I’m honestly shocked that they are included at all! Thanks for the info. Ya really do learn something new every day.

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I’ve had Bhel Puri many times but don’t recall it ever having potatoes. I thought that I might be doing it wrong, so did a bit of research ( found the Wikipedia page). The potatoes may be a Northern Indian thing. I’ve always associated it with Mumbai.

I don’t fully trust Wikipedia but on the potato point at least there is a citation, though obviously that might not mean much.

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I was wondering if it was a regional variation. I will do a little more research at the restaurant this weekend. :fork_and_knife:

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Wotcha mate. Good to see you.

I’m pretty sure that bhel puri is a northern dish, at least originally. Our two favourite local restaurants are both owned by northeners - one from Mumbai, the other from Rajasthan. Both have potatoes in their version.

I’m sure there are bound to be exceptions but my guess is that most well known Indian dishes including potato will originate in the north. The likes of aloo gobi, ragda pattice, aloo tikki, vada pav. On the other hand, I struggle to think of other than masala dosa as southern.

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Aaah Wikipedia.

But NO.

From Bombay, now everywhere but of course it’s not the Bombay version once you starting adding and subtracting things. (Just call it chaat then.)

Bombay Bhel contains:
Puffed rice
Sev
Puri / papdi
Onions
Boiled potatoes
Green chutney
Garlic (red chilli) chutney
Sweet (date & tamarind) chutney
Finished with:
Cilantro / fresh coriander
Salt ot chaat masala
In season: finely minced green mango

The end.

Mixes from other parts of india contain stuff like peanuts, other fried crunchy bits, and they may add things like tomatoes and cucumber (blasphemy) and switch out chutneys.

But NO.

Here is proper bhel (ignore the tomato, though):

https://www.tarladalal.com/bhel-puri-mumbai-roadside-bhel-puri-2795r

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Alright, so here it is! Authentic Bhel Puri, including boiled potatoes and all three kinds of chutney!

Like I said, I cannot believe I didn’t know about the potatoes. They’re a real game-changer. Their softness does wonders in counteracting the crunch of everything else.

THANK YOU FOR THIS THREAD

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Looks delicious, @gcaggiano!

Yes, I love the softness of the potato against the crunch too, and also the bite of the onion against the melded chutneys.

Next thing to experiment with: the soggy vs crunchy spectrum. I am firmly in the crunchy camp - meaning freshly mixed, so the puffed rice hasn’t gone completely soggy.

If you were eating this on the street from a Bhelwala (street vendor who specializes in bhel), it would be just-mixed and so the crunchy puffed rice wouldn’t have gone soft from sitting in chutney. But in restaurants, given the lag between mixing and table service, what shows up is usually soggy as the (dry) puffed rice absorbs all the chutney water.

(Ready mixes counter this by adding other crunchy elements that don’t exist in street bhel.)

(And then I’ll throw out bhel’s cousin for you to try after — sev puri. These are the flat puris/papdis that are crumbled into bhel, but in this dish the puris are laid out whole, then topped with the same ingredients that go into bhel — boiled potato, onion, the 3 chutneys, and then a liberal dousing of sev to finish. Same flavors, but super crunchy. You just need to buy a separate packet of the flat puris.)

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At our favourite Indian restaurant, I sort of alternate between ordering bhel and sev, as a starter. When we were there a couple of weeks ago, it was sev and it was as good as always. The owner often brings us a little freebie - maybe a dish he’s testing out or just something he thinks we’ll like. This time it was another puri - same toppings, I think, but a crisper base. Now, he did tell me what it was but a combination of his quite strong accent and me having forgotten to wear my hearing aid meant I really can’t recall the name. Looking at the menu I think it must have been dahi puri. He asked which I preferred - the dahi or the sev. Thanked him for the opportunity to try but thought the sev was better. Apparently, most other customers have said the same.

By the by, they also do pani puri but I’m not that keen on it.

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In the dahi (yogurt) category there are two popular versions of chaat — dahi papdi/papri chaat (from the north) and dahi batata puri (from Bombay).

The latter is served in pani puri shells - stuffed with potato, then powdered spices and chutney, seasoned yogurt poured in, and finally some more spices and chutney.

I grew up with the latter — my grandmom and dad both love it, so whenever we have pani puri at home, the last round (or two) is dahi batata puri as it uses the same shells

I didn’t meet dahi papdi chaat until deeply into adulthood (and in a different country, lol) when a friend’s mom made it, but what’s not to like?!

That one uses either the puri/papdi from sev puri — or more often a ribbon-like version of it, then is topped with some combination of potatoes, chickpeas (kabuli chana ie the white chickpeas everyone in the west is used to, not the dark brown chickpeas Indians usually have with pani puri or in other preps), thinned yogurt, green and sweet chutneys, and spices. Very tasty — and yet I never make it at home, somehow…

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