Written by Ujjayini Paul
From couples romancing at the Victoria Memorial and school children coming back from class, to age old friends gathering every weekend for the quintessential adda – life in Kolkata would be almost impossible without the mouth watering street foods. It adds that additional flavor to life as supposed by many. Then again, street food of Kolkata is incomplete without jhal muri or spiced puffed rice. Truth be told, most Bengali homes can’t consider not having it as a consistent snack, and they try to replicate the exact flavor of the roadside stalls at home.
(Picture Courtesy: http://bit.ly/2dSDSCO )
The unique preparation
The preparation of this amazing snack is very simple yet unique. Ingredients like puffed rice, tomato, chopped boiled potato, cucumber, slices of coconut, roasted peanuts and chopped green chilies are mixed together. This mixture is then tossed with a special mix of spices and of course mustard oil. Finally it is served by squeezing lemon, fresh coriander and a bit of sev. This is a customized treat in the true sense of the term. Onions are generally avoided in jhal muri unless someone requests it which is the rarest case.
The special spice mixture
It is the special mixture of spices that makes jhal muri stand apart from all other street food. This spice mixture is created by grinding several ingredients like roasted cumin seeds, black or rock salt, salt, dried red chili powder, a pinch of garam masala and amchoor. Some prefer to mix roasted bay leaf and grind everything together to create a fine powder. This special mixture is the only thing that needs to be prepared from before and should be stored. This one of its kind street of Kolkata is the adopted version of bhel or dry bhel. But, this is prepared quite differently and is a very Bengali thing. People in and across Kolkata have grown up loving this street food the most and each one comes up with their own preferences. Some love their jhal muri plate with less chili, less potato, more spice, less coriander and so on.
( Cover Picture Courtesy: http://bit.ly/2eM1vyn )
Do you like Jhal-Muri? Let us know in the comments below.