Good times with Bhel

Bhel Puri is a savoury Indian snack loved by all - small children and adults. It is available in different varieties, some like it dry and some prefer the wet version. The variations also exist depending on the spiciness - sweet, medium spicy and very spicy. Usually identified with the beaches of Mumbai, this chat is also very popular in Pune. Wherever you go in Pune, every street vendor has added their twist to Bhel Puri, but as is the case with most street food in the city, hygiene remains a major concern with this popular snack as well. We tried to find out some places in the city, where you get clean and tasty Bhel without compromising your health.

Bhel Puri at Om Jai Shankar Panipuri

“It has to be eaten as soon as it is prepared; the quantity is usually more than that of an appetiser, so it does fine as a meal too,” says Ramesh Kondhare, owner of Kalyan Bhel. The prices at this Bhel joint in Kondwa varies anywhere from Rs 40 to Rs 50. “We try to serve clean and authentic bhel to our customers so that they come back again. We have repetitive customers for more than 25 years now,” he adds.

Kalyan Bhel. Pic/  Ashish Pol

Like Sneha Kulkarni, a student from the city. “I prefer bhel because it does not fill your stomach completely, yet it is filling for the time being. And it’s yummy. My favourite is the plain Gili (wet) Bhel,” she says.

Pushkarni Bhel 

The price of Bhel Puri in the city varies anywhere from Rs 30 to Rs 55 depending on the ingredients. And it’s usually served in a paper folded in the form of a cone and is consumed using a paper spoon or papdi, a crisp puri served with it.

Sachin Yande, one of the partners of Om Jai Shankar Panipuri said, “We have maintained our taste for all these years. The masalas and the ingredients that we use are hygienic and we also train the people working with us to be hygienic.”

Yande added that the snacks joint make new additions to the list of mouth watering items every two months so that customers get more variety.

Simple Bhel
1 cup puffed rice (kurmura)
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped coriander leaves
1/2 cup boiled and mashed potato
For Seasoning
4 chopped green chilli
1/4 table spoon garam masala
2 table spoon tamarind chutney
2 table spoon coriander
and mint chutney
1/2 cup nimkis
1/2 cup sev
3-4 puri
1 table spoon lime juice
Mix the puffed rice, tomatoes, onions together. Drain the water from the grated
potatoes and mix that as well. Mix all the seasoning ingredients and add it to the mixture. Lightly crush and add the nimkis and puri Add the sev directly and mix well. Finally garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice. Serve immediately. 

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