Authentic Kolkata Jhal Muri


I am perfectly convinced that Jhal Muri (Savory Puffed rice) is one of those snacks that was discovered by accident, rather than by painstaking re-tries and refinements. How could a rational mind conjure that throwing some chopped veggies, peanuts, spices, sprouts on a lot of puffed rice and stirring vigorously would produce one of the tastiest snacks of West Bengal, a large state in India. Why puffed rice, you'd ask, it doesn't even have an aroma, you'd say, how can it taste good without cooking, you'd wonder - if you have never experienced Jhal Muri. In West Bengal - any kid that routinely stops at their favorite roadside stall, any office-goer that steps out for a quick afternoon snack, any housewife that wants a quick bite before heading home after grocery shopping, could tell you. Or you could just taste a spoonful and feel for yourself the light, spicy, tangy, crispy potpurri of flavors bursting into your mouth. It is a feeling of epiphany! 

The term "Jhal Muri" is synonymous with its flavor - "Jhal" means spicy and "Muri" stands for "puffed rice". It is traditionally served in a paper cone, called "Thonga". Jhal Muri's ease of preparation, light and healthy nature, and great taste provides ample reasons for its popularity. Having spent my growing years in West Bengal, I naturally crave for Jhal Muri often. In my recipe, I have tried to replicate the great street taste of my childhood days, hope you enjoy sharing some of my past with me.

AUTHENTIC KOLKATA JHAL MURI RECIPE


Serves 3-4

INGREDIENTS:
    3 cups Puffed Rice (Muri/Murmure); available in Indian Grocery Stores
    1 tsp Lemon juice
    3 tbsp finely chopped Onion
    1/2 cup peeled & diced Cucumber
    1/4 cup chopped Tomatoes (optional)
    1/4 cup peeled, boiled & diced Potatoes (optional)
    1-2 Serrano Green chillies or to taste; destemmed & finely chopped
    2 tbsp finely chopped fresh Cilantro (Coriander) leaves
    1 tsp Chaat Masala (available in Indian Grocery Stores)
    1/2 tsp Black salt or to taste
    2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
    1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (red chilli powder) or to taste
    1 tsp Mustard oil
    2 tbsp sprouted Bengal gram (Black chana); optional
    2 tbsp roasted, unsalted Peanuts (optional)
    1 tbsp thinly sliced fresh Coconut(optional)
    1/4 cup Sev (Gram flour Vermicelli); available in Indian Grocery Stores

    How to make Jhal Muri

      1. In a broad bowl, toss in all the ingredients except salt, tomatoes, lemon juice, Mustard oil & sliced coconut. Mix well. 
      2. Now add the chopped tomatoes, lemon juice and mustard oil. Mix again.
      3. Add salt as per your taste.
      4. Garnish with coconut.
      5. Serve immediately in bowls or paper cones.

        TIPS:
        1. Mustard oil is a key ingredient in this dish so do not substitute this with any other oil.
        2. Puffed rice should be crisp for best results.
        3. To enjoy the crispiness of Jhal Muri, serve & consume immediately as mustard oil, lemon juice & tomatoes makes the puffed rice soggy.
        4. If you are calorie-conscious then skip the potatoes.
        5. If you prefer crisp Jhal Muri then skip Tomatoes as they make the puffed rice become soggy faster.
        6. Puffed Rice, Chaat masala & Sev are available at Indian Grocery stores.

        6 comments:

        1. Love the crunchy taste!

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        2. I had jhal muri the 1st time when i was traveling from Kerala to Kolkata by train. I loved it. Crunchy, salty, tangy and spicy....it tastes awesome!!!

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          1. You described it perfectly. It is such a light & delicious snack & really easy-to-make!

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        3. What is this dish called in English?? Do we get puffed rice in Nuremberg?

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          1. This is a traditional Indian snack so it does not have an English name - however, in english the name "Jhal Muri" translates to "Spicy Puffed Rice". Puffed Rice is easily available in almost all Indian Grocery stores. The Indian name for it is "Muri" or "Murmura". Hope you are able to find it :)

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