Puffed rice makes for a great snack and is a favorite among most kids. This dry bhel recipe combines spiced puffed rice and peanuts with fresh, crunchy vegetables, topped off with a drizzle of lemon juice, pink Himalayan salt and some zesty red chili powder! A perfect accompaniment to tea, this dry bhel recipe is a sure-shot tantalizing way to snack and very reminiscent of the street food in Mumbai.
Ingredients (makes 4 medium servings):
- Puffed rice (murmura) (3 cups)
- Raw Peanuts (1/2 cup or more if you like)
- Oil/Ghee (1 tbsp) (I used ghee)
- Asafetida (hing) (a generous pinch)
- Cumin (jeera) powder (1/2 tsp)
- Turmeric (haldi) powder (1/2 tsp)
- Red chili powder (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- Sugar (1 tsp)
- Fresh raw vegetables (finely chopped) (I used green apples – you may also use raw mangoes, Persian cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, white onions, coriander leaves)
- Lemon juice (1 tbsp)
- Pink Himalayan salt (to taste)
- In a flat large pan, heat oil/ghee on medium. Add dry spice powders like asafetida, cumin, turmeric. Saute for a few seconds (ensure that you don’t burn the spices). Add peanuts and saute until slightly browned. Add puffed rice and saute until the puffed rice is nice and crispy. Keep stirring continuously to ensure that all the puffed rice gets evenly heated, without getting burned. Add salt, sugar and chili powder. Turn off the heat.
- When the puffed rice and peanut mixture cools down, add freshly chopped vegetables. Drizzle the lemon juice. Add pink salt, chili powder and adjust tastes as necessary. Serve immediately.
Sweet (puffed rice, peanuts), sour (lemon juice, green apples/raw mangoes), salty (salt), bitter (coriander leaves, turmeric), pungent (chili powder), astringent (asafetida, cucumber).
Puffed rice is dry and light (a great spring food addition) and hence potentially vata aggravating, but relatively easy on the digestion. Adding ghee and peanuts gives that heaviness to the recipe. You may substitute the peanuts with any nut of choice or even avoid it if you don’t want to include it for whatever reason. Ghee is highly tridoshic and digestive. Digestive spices like asafetida, cumin and turmeric enhance the taste, flavor, aroma and digestibility of the end product. Also sauteing the puffed rice in spices makes it more crunchy, which makes it tend to become less soggy when the vegetables get added. Raw vegetables are slightly difficult to digest in excess especially for vata types, but in summer and in moderation, they are a great addition to your diet.
If this is made too sour, salty or spicy, it ends up becoming rajasic. Otherwise, this is a sattvic recipe if made using fresh vegetables, digestive ghee and spices. Peanuts are considered tamasic in Ayurveda. So avoiding these completely or even substituting with something else like pumpkin seeds is completely okay.