Thursday, 9 September 2010

Jhaalmuri, authentic

So I've made jhaalmuri (or jhalmuri, or jhalmoori or jhaalmoori) before, but it lacked the crucial ingredient -- jhaal chanachur, descriptively translated as hot mix and available in most South Asian shops. While earlier I never made chanachur at home and always bought it off street vendors, this summer it has become a staple of mine, when the heat makes eating elaborate rice-daal-curry-fish meals impossible.

Interestingly, my parents both refer to the jhaalmuri I make at home as "muri makha", framing sentences like, "Ei, tui ki muri makhbi aekhon?" whereas the exact same thing when bought from vendors become jhaalmuri or moshlamuri/masala muri. Having noticed this discrepency in terminology, let me clarify that muri-makha, which literally translates into "the act of mixing muri [puffed rice]" but actually indiates the product thereof, is an umbrella term of considerable diversity, unlike jhaalmuri. Muri can be mixed with fried onions, a little of the fried oil, chopped onions, and peanuts. It can be mixed with samosas/shingaras. It can be mixed with gur [jaggery] and chopped coconuts, even. And the list goes on. The following is a how-to for the most common kind.

Hot mix/chanachur
Puffed rice/wheat.
Table salt/sea salt/black salt/"current" salt
Mustard oil.
Potatoes -- boiled and chopped (optional)
Soaked and sprouted beans (optional)
Onions -- peeled and chopped (optional)
Cucumbers -- peeled and diced (optional)
Aamchur (powdered dried mango) (optional)
Tamarind water/lemon slices (optional)
Coconut -- chopped or sliced (optional)
Coriander leaves/cilantro -- chopped (optional)

How to:

I retain the soft core of the tomatoes, but one may discard them (or eat them separately) if one wishes.

The process is one of utter simplicity. Put the chopped vegetables in a bowl. Shake the hot mix in, as much as you like. Add a pinch of salt and aamchur and mix well with your hands. Add muri, twice the amount of hot mix, to the mixture. Pour half or one teaspoon of mustard oil. If your hot mix isn't hot enough, add chopped green chilies. If you like a slight tang, squeeze couple of slices of lemon on top, or add half a teaspoon of tamarind paste soaked in a tablespoon of water. (I advise the lemon, unless you're an expert at making thick tamarind-water). Mix thoroughly. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves.

Please note: this can be made without the muri, soaked sprouted beans -- not bean sprouts -- acting as the main ingredient for the dish.


PreeOccupied said...

I felt a little puddle of drool collect in my mouth! I don't get the jhaal chanachur here, not even in the Bangladeshi store. I have to make do with Haldiram bhujia. No good in Jhalmuri.

Monidipa said...

You're making chanachur at home? I'd like to know how. (Or is that a typo?)

Dea-chan said...

You and your crazy spiciness!

Rimi said...

Pree, I agree completely. The two don't even compare. If mailing parcels wasn't so ridiculously expensive I'd ask my mum to send me some from home.

Mandy--typo! I wish I could make chanachur at home, but I can't. My grandmother and greataunts could, though. I can ask. It's not hard, unless you propose making the long sheubhajas at home too.

Tegan--haha, yes! But the tomatoes compliment it in a very nice way.

The Owl said...

nice..was looking for this. But you forgot the peanuts and shev.

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