Bhel (pronounced bhale) and Chat (pronounced cha’at) are perhaps the only street foods well-known and available in every nook and cranny of India. Of course, these are made in different styles in every region but we were not looking at that when we decided to make it ourselves – at home.
The catalyst for the adventure came from the shelves of an “Indian” supermarketer in downtown Manama, from where we bought the bhel mixture as well as the chutney. All that we then needed to do was too churn some yogurt, boil some potatoes and finely chop an onion and coriander leaves, a green chilli and there we were – ready to roll!
It’s actually quite simple. To make the bhel, take the mixture from the supermarket (consisting of puffed rice, sev, roasted split chickpeas and roasted peanuts) and spread it evenly on a plate. Add the finely chopped potatoes and the onions and top it with the chutney. An assortment of chutney’s are available – among them garlic, tamarind and mint – so the choice really is your own.
The bhel is ready!
For the chat, use all the above ingredients and add papri (paapri – or fryers made of all-purpose flour). Also, top it first with the whisked yogurt and then with the chutney of your choice. Also sprinkle some chat masala and coriander leaves. The dish is then done.
Of course, we can make all the ingredients from scratch at home but now, when everything authentic is available off the shelves, one can afford to ‘cheat’ now and then – just for a change!