My favourite, make it most favourite (wordy, eh?), chaat (Indian snacks) moments growing up have to be with my childhood friend, lovingly called Chikoo by her ma. Till I was some 14 or 15 years old, she was my best friend, philosopher and guide. How to drive away that boy in class who was acting silly? How best to tuck your shirt into your skirt so it doesn’t crinkle? What movie to watch this weekend? Girly problems? Chikoo had an answer to everything under the sun!
Chikoo’s maternal uncles were businessmen and owned factories. And you know what those factories produced? Murmura (puffed rice) and sev (fine vermicelli made of gram flour)! At any time, they’d have two huge bins, each full of these two lovely snack ingredients. Which is also why it was always a treat to go to her place in the evenings. Every single day without fail, Chikoo would prepare an impromptu bhel (Indian snack) for the two of us.
Most days, we’d also be joined by another friend of ours, R. No khatti-meethi or green chutney here. Just puffed rice, sev, chopped onions and tomatoes, green chillies, fresh coriander and a squeeze of lime, and tadaa! The three of us would start off the evening gossip session with Chikoo’s bhel puri for company!
Last week, when I was preparing a light Chaat platter for the evening, I just had to include R’s bhel puri. To make it even more fun, I served them in cute little baked katoris. In addition to the Katori Bhel, I also made Paapdi Chaat and Chilled Rooah Afza and a cute fruit platter with fruits cut into little hearts. I made this as as one of the entries for Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon. Click here to see what the other members of BM#16 are doing. Today’s post is also special since it is my 99th post — my last 2 digit post! Look out for my 100th!
For the katoris: makes 10-12
Maida/APF – ¾ cup
Oil – 2 tbsp
Ajwain (Carom seeds) – ½ tsp
Curd/Milk – 2-3 tbsp
For the bhel:
Puffed rice – 1 cup
Sev – ¼ cup
Finely chopped onions – ¼ cup
Finely chopped tomatoes – ¼ cup
Chopped fresh coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
Finely chopped green chilli – 1 OR Red chilli powder – ¼ tsp
Fresh lemon juice – to taste
Amchur (dry mango powder) – ¼ tsp
Kala namak (Black salt) – to taste
Making the katoris
Preheat oven to 180 deg C
Add salt and ajwain to maida/APF and mix well
Add oil and rub in with your hands
Add milk or curd a little at a time and knead into a soft pliable dough
Roll out the dough into a thin sheet
Using a cookie cutter or the rim of a small bowl, cut into circles big enough to line the reverse side of muffin cups
Place the dough cut-outs on the reverse side of muffin cups and press them to shape
Bake in the preheated oven for 12 mins
Remove and allow to cool
Making the Bhel Katoris
Microwave puffed rice on high for a minute OR dry roast in a hot pan for a couple of mins. This is to make it crisp
Mix all the ingredients for the bhel
Fill baked katoris with bhel and serve immediately else tomatoes with make everything soggy