Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Who says you can't have street food at home?

Indian Street Food, if we were playing the word association game, by now there would be a really long list of associated words like chaat, pav bhaji, masala dosa, grilled sandwich, samosas, jalebis, vada pav, etc. etc. etc!! Oh those glorious streets of Bengalooru! The enticing aroma of spices, the hissing sound as a splash of water hits the hot grill, the crowd, the bustle, the lip smacking food, the experience. The bajjis never tasted as good anywhere except on the streets, the secret - oil that's used and reused (God knows how many times!). The samosa chaat is finger lickin' good, the secret - rustic bare fingers of the man who smashes the samosa in a quick blow. And the dosa, oh the dosa is divine, crisp yet spongy, the secret - a very hot griddle frequently splashed with a generous dose of oil and deftly spread with a stiff broom! Well, pardon my almost oxymoronic description. But I think that's entirely the essence of Indian Street Food, pure deliciousness amidst small 'eyebrow raisers' that can be easily ignored. I mean, come to think of it, we've been enjoying eating out for ages now and we've survived (!), so I guess we've kind of settled on the fact that reused oil, tap water and not the cleanest of kitchens can all be dismissed as 'not that big a deal'. But then again, maybe I can't generalise the conclusion. Maybe I speak only on behalf of my Indian counterparts who, by now, seemed to have developed a 'withstand-all' kind of a gene. Delhi Belly was coined for a reason, I'm sure! Nevertheless, if not in Bengalooru, then I'm sure some place else, most of us would know the true sense of an evening enjoyed gorging on street food.
Having said that, the effects of street food can be created at home as well. The same feeling of heightened senses as the spice hits just the right spots, the same medley of flavours and with some Bollywood numbers blasting from the iPod dock, voila! it's the street food experience right at home, and with clean water and washed hands :)

Bhelpuri - a (very) popular Indian street food item, tangy, sweet, crunchy and oh-so-yummy!

Ingredients - (will serve 2, 1 if you have a very strong craving)
(I haven't mentioned the quantity of some ingredients as it's totally up to your taste and liking. More if you love it, less if you don't so much)
  • puffed rice 2 cups
  • finely chopped onion
  • finely chopped cucumber
  • grated carrot
  • roughly diced boiled potato
  • finely chopped tomato
  • finely chopped fresh coriander/cilantro
  • a handful of roasted peanuts
  • a splash of lime juice
  • ready made papdi (available in Indian grocery stores), optional
  • salt, chaat masala powder (available in Indian grocery stores) and tamarind chutney (available in Indian grocery stores to taste
  • sev (available in Indian grocery stores) to garnish, optional
Method -
  • Simply combine everything, except puffed rice and sev, in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add puffed rice just before you're ready to serve and toss it well.
  • Garnish generously with sev and some extra chopped coriander and serve immediately.
Apparently, bhelpuri is considered a low fat snack, minus the papdi and sev. That's how I made it yesterday.

So hope you try this street food classic at your place and maybe it will inspire you to try it on the streets of India, if you haven't already!

Until then, cook, serve, love!


R said...

u said it, inspite of all the unhygenic conditions, street food is still so attractive :) ur bhel looks delicious, with all the healthy ingredients!

R said...

I have a sweet surprise waiting for u on my blog:


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