Friday, May 8, 2015

Snacktime Favorite ~ Jhalmuri

If it had been the case, that I could cook anything and the dishes would have been cleaned all by itself!! How wonderful the scenario would have been. But sadly..this is not the case. I don't have any maid for more than 2 weeks....and the household chores have already started to give me creeps. How wonderful it would have been if I woke up to a clean, scrubbed and polished house with all the utensils washed and ready to be used and washed, dried and pressed clothes hanging in the armoir waiting to be admired. Why life can't be a fairy tale like this??? Why can't I just write "they lived happily ever after " and sleep again??? I don't want to the washing. I just get so mad when I can wash out a sticky grain of rice from the plate or a when I can't clean a corner of a cooker. All these washings and cleanings are dreadful. Although some people do find them necessary and useful, as they teach you the perks of cleanliness....but I am not one of those. I will do anything but all these.

how to make jhalmuri

how to make jhalmuri

To escape this living nightmare, I cooked a massive amount of dal and alu posto, and stored them in the fridge. Every day, I only took out a little portion of the food, thawed them and ate. Husband and I have already become bored of eating the same thing over and over and over again. Currently I am craving for some Chinese!! I don't know when I will be able to eat them...as currently I am strictly concentrating on one pot meals. Clean clean and clean....!!

how to make jhalmuri

However on such a day, heart craved for spicy meal and I made jhalmuri. I made a big bowl of jhalmuri and ate that in the lunch. You can not imagine the satisfaction I got from that meal. Reminded me of my school days when eating jhalmuri after school was synonymous to freedom. I was looking for the history of jhalmuri, when I read that, at first everything used to be homemade. From sweets to fritters / chop. However after the inaugration of British Raj and the so called "Babu Culture", some people recognized the business aspect of feeding all the new service men, and open up their food business in front of the offices. Even today, you will see massive amount of food stalls around Writer's Building or Calcutta High Court and College Street. You can never forget the taste of chop / fritters of Mouchak, if you are lucky to taste at least once from there.
In case of Jhalmuri, there are many bests. You can try from the vendors in front of the schools. Then you can get beutiful spicy jhalmuris from Howrah and Shealdah stations. Vendors in local trains serve nice jhalmuris. But I find their jhalmuris a little on the drier side.

how to make jhalmuri

I have gained this recipe of jhalmuri from my careful observation over the years. And also I asked some vendors, from whom I used to buy jhalmuris very often. Jhalmuriwalas use a special spiced mustard oil in making jhalmuri. Use of mustard oil is very very important in jhalmuri as this gives the snack the much required kick. I have used mustard oil from my spicy raw mango pickle, but simple mustard will do the work too.

Jhalmuri


how to make jhalmuri
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of puffed rice / muri
  • 1/4 cup of chanachur/ any haldiram sev
  • 1/4 cup of boiled black chickpeas
  • 1 small potato - boiled and cut into very small pieces
  • 1/2 of a medium tomato - chopped very finely
  • 1/3 of a medium potato - chopped very finely
  • 1 small cucumber - finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil (I used a spicy raw mango pickle oil)
  • 2tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 3-4 green chilies
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp bhaja masla / roasted spice (dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns and dry red chili. Then grind them to a fine powder)
  • salt
Method:
  • At first dilute the tamarind pulp with some water. Add 2 chopped green chilies, 1/2 tbsp bhaja masla / roasted spices, black salt, and half of the lime juice. Mash the green chilies with your hand, so that its flavor and aroma can be well blended with the tamarind water. Wear gloves if the chilies are very hot, as your hand can burn with heat afterwards. Let the water sit like that for at least 30 minutes. If you can let it sit for 1 to 2 hours, it will be very good.
  • After that strain the tamarind pulp and keep the strained water.
  • Now take a big bowl. You need a big bowl as you have to mix everything properly, and should ensure that every grain of the muri / puffed rice is evenly coated with the spices.
  • Add chopped and boiled potatoes, boiled black chickpeas, rest of the bhaja mosla / roasted spices, rest of the chopped green chilies, chopped cucumber, chopped tomatoes, chopped coriander, black salt and rest of the lime juice. Mix everything properly without mashing anything.
  • Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  • Now add the puffed rice and chanachur. If you don't find that typical spicy chanachur (very popular in Bengal and in Maharashtra. There it is known as chivda), then you can add any kind of haldiram sev. Haldiram's Aloo Sev goes very well with Jhalmuri.
  • Add the mustard oil and strained tamarind water. Use tamarind water as much as you prefer. Some like their jhalmuri to be very tangy and spicy while others prefer jhalmuri to have a mild tangy flavor. Choice should always be yours.
  • Mix everything and serve immediately. If you keep it like this the puffed rice / muri will become soggy and chewy and will loose their crunchy texture. If you plan to eat it later, prepare everything and keep the puffed rice/ muri and chanachur seperately. When you wish to eat just mix everything.

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