I grew up in a family of the culinary curious. My dad made friends with everyone, from everywhere. I thought I knew pretty much all there was to know about Indian cuisine, now I’m not so sure. I’ve made dal and pilafs, puris and pakorhas, curries, masalas and kormas, naan, parathas, chapatis, chutneys, and I’ve even made my own panir cheese. Then my daughter sent me this bag of deep fried puffed rice, noodles and crackers along with some chutneys and a recipe for bhel puri. Now I suspect I’ve just scraped the surface of a complex cuisine with regional dishes I’d never imagined existed.

For you Cape Cod folk, getting the essential puffed rice for this recipe will require going off Cape. I can’t find it from any of my distributors. Watertown seems like a good bet, if you happen to be passing through. You might also pick up the tamarind and coriander chutneys, not to be found in my catalogs. If you do find it, you’ll be rewarded with a taste experience unlike anything you’ve ever eaten: sweet, tart, crunchy, and addictive. And one bag of bhel and one jar each of the chutneys makes 3 full recipes!

This is the exact recipe my daughter sent.

Bhel Puri
serves 4

2 C cubed peeled baking potato
4 C bhel puri mix
1 C seeded chopped tomato
1 C seeded chopped cucumber
1/2 C chopped red onion
1 mango, peeled and chopped (she likes green, I like ripe)
1/4 C chopped cilantro
3 T tamarind chutney
1 T coriander chutney
1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped

Boil the potato and drain, about 7 minutes. Mix together the chutneys and the serrano. Then mix everything together in a large bowl and serve immediately. Serves 4 as an entree (it’s supposed to be a snack but I eat it for dinner).

I often prep all the veggies, mix them, and stash in the fridge. Same with the sauce. When I want a serving, I mix one cup of the bhel mix with a quarter of the vegetables and 1 T sauce. Crunchy every time.


When I first received the package of bhel mix, the coriander chutney had popped its cap in transit. I just used the tamarind, and it’s great, a little heat, enough for me without the serrano. Don’t know what the coriander chutney has to offer, but I imagine it would be nice. [Ed. Looks like she adds some chopped cilantro?] The bhel mix comes from the province of Gujarat, north of Mumbai. Ahmadabad is the big city there.