Homemade Bhel Puri
I arrived in Bombay from London a few days back for a business meeting. I'm staying the weekend to hang out with my parents and friends. As always, it feels so terrific to be back here in Bombay. I'm being totally pampered in every way you can imagine. And I'm soaking up the sun, glad to be far away from the bitter cold in the U.S. I so wish I could stay longer and extend the luxury of being thoroughly spoilt but I have to hop back on the plane tomorrow and make my way back to New York. Agh!
Our cook at home, Gulabibai (GB), knows all my favourite foods and starts cooking them for me from the minute I arrive. I almost have to beg her not to stuff me so much that I sleep all day long. Yesterday GB made me some lip-smackingly delicious bhel puri at home.
Bhel is very simple if you have the right ingredients. In the U.S, you even get dry bhel ingredients in readymade packets and all you need to do is add a couple of chopped boiled potatoes, fresh ripe tomatoes, raw onions, tamarind chutney, cilantro chutney, fresh cilantro, a bit of lemon juice and salt. I love the flavour of garlic in my bhel so when I make this in Manhattan I also add some freshly chopped garlic or some garlic paste. But GB would never dare to add garlic though I love it so much because it is banned in my parents' house. Many South Indian Brahmins do not use garlic in cooking because it is considered to be a flavour enhancer for meat and therefore not to be found in the kitchen of a strictly vegetarian home.
Next up: Aviyal (including the recipe)