Skip to content
Back Back to Insurance menu Go to Insurance
Back Back to Holidays menu Go to Holidays
Back Back to Saga Magazine menu Go to Magazine
Search Magazine

Bhel puri recipe

Alice Hart / 17 March 2016

Alice Hart shares her recipe for the popular vegetarian Indian street food bhel puri, made with puffed rice, tamarind sauce and vegetables.

Bhel puri
Bhel puri

Cooking time

30 minutes




  • 8 medium-sized salad potatoes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp mango chutney, plus more to serve
  • 100g natural yogurt – handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tsp palm sugar
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1–2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 small pomegranate, arils (seeds) only
  • ½ cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped
  • Large handful of cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 5 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 shallots, very finely chopped
  • 25g puffed brown rice
  • 6 cooked poppadums, 2 roughly crushed, the rest to serve
  • 2 limes, halved


Thought to originate as a Mumbai street snack, this is such a riot of flavours and texture. With so many versions in circulation, I don’t feel I need to apologise for this recipe being heavier on the fresh additions than most. Change it up at will, but bear in mind that it hinges on the contrast of sweet, sour, crunch and heat. Whatever the incarnation, a chilled beer on the side would be most welcome.

Put the potatoes in a small saucepan and cover with cool water. Add a large pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 18–20 minutes, until tender to the point of a knife. Drain and set aside to cool slightly, then peel and finely chop.

Combine the mango chutney and yogurt in a small bowl. Finely chop 1 tbsp of the coriander, add that, then season with a little salt.

Separately, in another small bowl, mix the sour tamarind with the sugar to take the edge off and splash in a little water to loosen.

Put the potatoes and all the remaining ingredients – except the yogurt and tamarind mixtures, puffed rice, poppadums and limes – in a large bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper and mixing together gently. Now fold in the puffed rice and crushed poppadums and divide the bhel puri between 4 serving bowls, cups or plates.

Add spoonfuls of both the yogurt mixture and the tamarind mixture to each portion, stirring through gently if wished.

Eat while the puffed rice and poppadums are still crunchy, using the rest of the poppadums for scooping up the bhel puri. Offer lime halves and more mango chutney alongside, so everyone can sharpen or sweeten their plate as they like.

The New Vegetarian by Alice Hart is published by Square Peg at £25

Visit our Indian recipe section for more delicious cooking ideas, or try one of our many other vegetarian recipes, including Alice Hart's sweet potato cakes.


Saga Magazine is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site or newsletter, we may earn affiliate commission. Everything we recommend is independently chosen irrespective of affiliate agreements.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.