Bhel Puri – a Bowl of Bollywood


Bhel Puri: A tangy, crispy, easy Indian potato dish. Easy side dish, snack, or appetizer!

Anytime Donna comes to visit me – or vice versa – some culinary exploration is on the agenda, no matter how little time we have. Our most recent encounter was only over the course of two busy days, yet we still had to take in a little local flavor. Which, in the case of Portland, could mean just about anything!

Having not gotten my Indian fix in a good long time, we headed to Bollywood Theater, specializing in popular street food fare. I love chicken tandoori and aloo gobi as much as the next person, but I also love meandering off that well-worn path (well-worn for a reason, but still) to try some more esoteric offerings. Our favorite selection by far was the Bhel Puri, a simple potato dish punched up with chutneys, peanuts, cilantro and the texture contrast created by puffed rice.

Naturally I had to try to create a version at home. I used puffed millet rather than rice, substituted cashews for the peanuts, and loved the results. I can pretty much guarantee this will be a hit for any summer potluck you attend with this in hand. 


3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 large red onion, chopped
2 yukon gold or large red bliss potatoes, diced (about 1/2 inch or smaller)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tamarind chutney
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup roasted cashews, chopped
salt to taste
2 cups puffed millet (or another puffed grain)

Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Saute onions until softened and on the edge of starting to brown, then add the diced potatoes. Cook, stirring pretty frequently, for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through. (Yes, you CAN reduce the saute time by parboiling the potatoes first, but what can I say, I like to reduce steps if I can, and I liked the results here.)

Add in garlic and saute for another 4 or 5 minutes, then stir in the chutney, cilantro, lemon juice and cashews, and salt to taste. Let cool a touch before serving, but whatever you do, only stir in the puffed millet (or rice or what-have-you) RIGHT before serving.  Maximum texture blend achieved!

See how easy?

Other bloggers rocking some creative Indian sides:

Gobi Manchurian by Archana’s Kitchen
Yogurt and Cucumber Raita by The Perfect Pantry
Indian Spiced Lentils from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Dahl Makhani from The Greedy Gourmet
Kerala Spiced Peas by The Kitchn
Aloo TIkki and Corn Bhel by Sailu’s Kitchen

— posted by Anne


      • Param Vyas says

        Wow! A blast of nostalgia! I wandered here looking for the recipe of tomato-basil pasta and ended up reading a discussion about raita!

        Bhel-puri is missing an essential ingredient – puri. I could give you the recipe I know – If you like. And several others. Least I could do, seeing as I have benefited from your blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *