Bhelpuri USA

Bhelpuri my way

This recipe idea just came to me one day as I was trying to figure out a snack for my daughter. As with many good ideas, it took a couple of trials and some thought of getting it to this point and I am sure it will keep improving over the next few attempts. It’s an amalgam of several other recipes – very American –  that you can find in this collection. But it can also be made as a stand-alone dish.

One of my neighbors, Lauren Southerland, introduced me to a homemade, spicy trail mix which has developed into a signature dish my daughter and I make to give all her teachers for the holidays. It is keenly awaited and enjoyed by her teachers.  The other is a variation on Kentucky Chow Chow which I learned from another dear neighbor, Mrs. Tuttle.  This too has become a staple in our kitchen and is made and consumed in many ways and its ingredients morph with the seasons. Sometimes it is unripe mango which adds a crisp tartness. Sometimes its is dried cherries or cranberries. Even pomegranate seeds add a splash of color and flavor.

And then there is our vegetable tapenade or thogaiyal.  My daughter and friends love it so much that I always have some in the fridge and work on a new batch before one is over. Judiciously mixing these together, you can arrive at this bhelpuri.


  1. Puffed rice is available in most Asian/Indian/Pakistani grocery stores. Ask for murmura.  It’s just like puffed rice cereal but without the sugar. You will want to toast a couple of quarts of this in a heavy pan with a tsp of ghee or vegetable oil. Stir often and add a bit f salt and cayenne powder and remove before it starts to brown. It will have become crispy.  Set aside or store in an airtight container
  2. Roast a cup of peanuts with a bit of vegetable oil and cayenne powder. I like Virgina Peanuts. You can get them with or without the redskins and the roasted ones can be added directly.
  3. Make a batch of trail mix following the recipe here.
  4. Peel and cut a potato into small cubes and steam them covered in the microwave until they are fully cooked but still slightly firm. Toss with a bit of salt and pepper and allow to cool to room temperature
  5.  Cut a handful of cherry tomatoes into half or dice a Roma tomato
  6. A generous handful of freshly diced cilantro
  7. Blend a half cup of plain yogurt ( I prefer Trader Joe’s plain European style nonfat with a tablespoon of the vegetable tapenade. Alternately, you can blend the yogurt with a diced green chili or jalapeno, some fresh cilantro and fresh mint, lime juice, salt and pepper and ripe tomato and salt to taste.
  8. Make some Kentucky chow chow or make a bowl with shredded cabbage, diced cucumber, carrot sticks, diced celery and diced onions all tossed with fresh lime juice and some apple cider vinegar.
  9. Add all the vegetables and the potato into a large bowl and toss gently.
  10. Mix the puffed rice and trail mix together with the peanuts
  11. Mix equal quantities of the vegetable and the trail mix blend and add enough yogurt mix to lightly cover the mix and toss quickly and spoon into serving bowls. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.