Our very good friend and adopted family member (we’ve cross adopted families) , Kanchan showed us how to make a party favorite junk food from India, “Bhel”. Bhel is Indian for “mix”. It’s also a party in your mouth! Much healthier than the Death Dip I like to make too. Death Dip is the Rotel Tomato recipe for Velveeta based dip with sausage and ground beef and the Velveeta and pepper jack cheese, and of course, the can of Rotel chili tomatoes. I call it death dip, because it’s so good tasting, but, you can feel it hardening back up in the arteries. I’m not saying I’ve eaten large quantities of the Death Dip with Tostitos dipping chips and I’m not saying I haven’t either. I chose to bring the Bhel to this year’s Christmas party at work after bringing Death Dip for the last 10 years. Some were asking “Where’s the Death Dip?” I was like “this is better, trust me”
Bhel is most popular in India as a freshly made, crunchy mix, but Kanchan and I like it soft too.
This is my first attempt at publishing a recipe, bear with me please!
The hardest part of the recipe is getting all the stuff together:
You need to go to your local Indian grocer and get these products. I’m including photos of the labels so you know what to get.
Now that you’ve got the hard stuff, lets do this!
1/3 bag of the Thin Shev
Small Box Rice Crispies
1/2 Bag Behl Puri
Good handful of Papdi Chat crunched up
1/2 a green apple diced into small bits. You can use the whole one if you want. Sprinkle a little lemon juice on there to keep it from browning up.
2 whole medium onions diced really fine. Like, really fine.
One whole tomato cut small. I used 2 Roma tomatoes
2 Medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced medium small. Don’t over cook them. They’ll moosh up. (that’s a highly technical cooking term)
Cleaned and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Yes, I know, that’s a lot of cutting. It’s worth it. Stop whining. It’s best to have all this stuff in separate bowls before you start mixing.
Pour the entire bottle of Coriander chutney into a container big enough to add water to it too, then add about 3/4 of a jar of water to the chutney to thin it . Save the bottle so you can pour the thinned mix back in if you have too much.
In a different conatainer, put the Date-Tamarind chutney in with about half the jar of water. Again, save the jar.
Mix the dry stuff in a big bowl. You might have to do this in two batches. We usually do. If so, just cut the stuff above in half (duh). Precision isn’t important. Just get it close. Don’t mash them, get some big ladles and mix them in your big bowl by going to the bottom of the bowl and lifting gently and repeating til the dry stuff is all mixed up.
Now, add your veggies (cutting in half if you’re doing it in two waves). That’s the potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and apples. Just spread them around the top of the dry stuff.
Do a light mix (from the bottom again) to spread the veggies in, but not all the way.
Now, add your Coriander Chutney and the Date Tamarind chutney spreading it over the top of the lightly mixed stuff. Using your ladles or big spoons, lift gently from the bottom and get that stuff all mixed together. It kind of clumps at first but it doesn’t take long to mix it in. DON”T MOOSH IT, MIX IT.
Garnish the top with some of the Thin Sev, another crushed up handful of the Papdi Chat and the chopped cilantro.
This part is critical. If your guests have not had this before, it’s cool. Just casually put it on the table and let them serve themselves. After they have gotten their piddly “test spoon fulls” you should get a big old helping. However, I can’t emphasize this enough, IF THEY HAVE HAD THIS BEFORE, PUT IT ON THE TABLE AND GET OUT OF THE WAY OF THE STAMPEDE TO GET THE STUFF. You have been warned.
When the first batch is empty, go ahead and make your second batch, it only takes a few minutes, since you did all the hard work chopping stuff before.
In the unlikely event you have any of the mixed Bhel uneaten, you can refrigerate it and eat it for a few days. It will get a little mooshy , but it still tastes awesome. Apparently the vast majority of folks from India disagree and won’t eat the leftovers, but, my dear readers, that leaves more for you!
I should probably have done some photos for this, but I wasn’t actually planning on sharing the recipe when I made it and took it to the party.
If there’s enough interest, let me know in the comments and next batch we make, I’ll do better photos with something other than my trusty iPhone.
Thanks Kanchan for letting me share this!