Jhal muri jhal muri, the omnipresent snack of kolkata that you find a version of on pretty much every street corner there.A snack supreme. Jhal means hot, not chilli hot but hot for the blood for the spirit and muri is the puffed rice. You puff the rice by cooking it in hot sand till it swells with popping noises.
There are as many types of jhal muri as there as different types of people and is for a bridge between meals, with drinks, to accompany a travel, in the cinema, or slowly slowly with your love because everybody lovelove the jhal muri.
It is about the texture- the dry ingredients- the muri, roasted peanuts, channa dal, and sev( crisp noodles made from the chick pea flour) in the pot mixed with the fresh ingredients chopped fine. The tomato, cucumber, coconut, indian onion, coriander leaf, the sprouted mung. Then given the flavours that please all the avenues of the taste buds- the black salt, the amchoor, fresh ginger, green chilli if you like, roasted cumin powder, special masala, tamarind chutney, fresh lime squeezed and the mustard oil to wrap it a Bengali blanket. In a cone it comes and with a wooden spoon it goes.
From the north west with the moguls came the yoghurt- the curd- and many volume have been written on the goodness it brings to the goings on in the tummy.Since early days drinks have been made with the curd – in Turkey they drink ayran, Pakistan it is chaas, in Iran dough and Armenia Tahn.
In India it is Lassi.
A lassi you make by breaking the curd (yoghurt) into liquid adding water or milk and crushed ice. They can be sweet or salt.
Add sugar of jaggary for sweet, rosewater too if you like and for salt add salt. Roasted cumin ground and black pepper also if you like.
With electric blender or hand whisk give time to the beating and then a little more. This is important. It gives it new life and in the air the fat is held, suspended between thick and thin, cushioned from the hard edges, becoming voluptuous and cooling with a perfect smile. Settling to the tummy and its appetite.
There are many variations with the lassi. Mango pulp can be added- as can other fruit purees. How much liquid depends on how thick the yoghurt is to start and how sweet is a personal taste.At the whirled do we shall sweeten with palm sugar and flavour with rose water and cool with ice. Very nice.
Wherever you are, you are were you want to be with the ghugni.
The variations are many and when you understand the ways of the ghugni many doors will be opened and hats raised for this is strong food that make you grow roots.
In Kolkata white dried peas-the mutter- or the chick peas are used but here I use the masor dal, the split red pea. It needs no soaking, cooks quick and has good flavour.
The dal is cooked with panch paron- the bengali five spice and tumeric to a thick sauce
Served in a leaf plate with tomatoes chopped, fresh coriander, pinnk onion pieces, ginger, roasted cumin powder, chaat masala, coconut slivers, a squeeze of lime and sour sweet tamarind sauce. On the top for texture and taste the sev goes, the chick pea flour noodle.
The phuchas is puri- the hollow golf ball sized fried bread- filled with bengali flavoured smashed potato, tamarind water, green chutney, masalas and topped with thin sev.
In one you eat and the in your mouth the soft potato the crisp puri and the liquids explode taking you to other places and straight back for more. And then there is the sweet option.
Chaana masala is like a salad. Cold and mostly raw.
IN Kolkata they use the sprouted bengal gram, the chick pea relation., i use the sprouted mung bean. A sprouted pulse is still living, still growing when you eat. Fortifying food to see you right.
In a cup they are mixed like a cocktail with the soft potato, cucumber, tomato, coriander, indian onion, special masalas , sqeezed lime and tamarind chutney and served to eat on a leaf late.
Clean and uplifting.
Made from the cardamom, cinnamon, clove, star anise, fennel, bay, black pepper, mace, nutmeg and ginger powder. Sweetened with jaggary and sharpened with lime.
The Bengali’s maybe the greatest sweet makers and sweet lovers. Nothing can compare with what you find over there but from Tooting they versions are up there. the jelabi, the rossogolla and the chumchum mali.
And all these you will find in the transformed Whirled cinema to eat before, during and after the film about the food.
£15.00 for everything.
PLEASE PASS IT ON.