If there is one thing I miss in extreme, living away from Bombay, is the city’s street food culture. We do not have a dearth of tiny restaurants selling pani puris or bhel puris in Dubai but it takes away the joy of going out with friends to a beach side or taking a shopping stroll in a market followed by stuffing ourselves with multi-cultural food offered on a road-side shack for mere pennies. That said, Dubai being a melting pot of cultures, it’s street food isn’t far behind. I love how this place offers multiple choices from various countries, the people of whom have begun calling this city their home. My favorites being Al Mallah, Zaroob, Cucina, Spice Affair, Mama’esh, Yalla Momos, Moti Roti, Saj Bistro from the list of restaurants I can recollect at the moment.

As soon as I entered Senior college, I took up part time job with a telecommunications company to support my finances and have that extra freedom to hang out with friends as we were growing up. Also, that we had morning classes, it was alot easier to allot time to everything in life. That was also the time I got to explore my city streets a bit deeper. Some afternoons, my friends and I would take a bus to Juhu Beach and spend time in not one of the cleanest beaches in Bombay, but a brilliant place to watch different cultures and people from a myriad of states coming together for a plate of their favorite street food. After taking a stroll on the beach and dipping our feet in the water, we’d rapidly retreat to a line of dainty street vendors with aromas of mixed spices in the damp air where various stalls selling juice, ice-golas, chaat, betel leaf (paan), Indo-chinese, sandwiches and pasta awaited us. There were a lot of choices, however, an aged man with wooden benches and picnic mats offering chaat made from fresh ingredients picked up at a local Juhu market and exotic home-made condiments was the one I’d always ace to start my street-food trek from followed by sucking out juices from crushed ice-lollies and fresh betel leaf wrapped with cardamom and fennel for a delicious mouth freshener. 

Saturday noons were spent taking a shopping excursion to Hill Road in Bandra – a stretch of lane filled with tiny street stalls, resembling a lot like fashion street in South Bombay but smaller in size, that sells everything from shiny dresses to dingy accessories. It was here, we spent hours walking aimlessly picking up stuff that ruled the college fashion scene, returning home blissfully exhausted with shopping bags in hand and happy tummies from all the feast we’d treat ourselves to at the legendary Elco  pani puri centre. It is lauded as one of the best places to grab chaat in the area and has been consistently creating roadside delights while also maintaining taste and hygiene over the years. Actually, it’s only with a passage of time, it has dawned on me that people live varied lifestyles, yet the most delicious food bring them all together, from any part of the city/world. 

Spinning a fusion to favorite Indian street food by adding pita chips instead of puffed rice, offering a crispy, sweet, tangy and spicy mixture with minimum ingredients to satiate our street food cravings.

So, as a tribute to my love for street-food, I had an honor of contributing six recipes from different countries that are represented by their roadside delicacies in the recent issue of WKND mag that comes out every Friday with Khaleej Times in UAE. Here’s what I chose:

While I am discussing so much about the street food from Bombay, I’d also like to share one of my favorite Bhel recipes that has been altered over the years to reach a point it satiates my tastebuds. Well, it isn’t authentic Bhel Puri, per se, because I switched puffed rice with pita so abundantly fresh available in Dubai, almost in every bakery. Pita inspired me to add a spin of fusion to my regular Indian street food by breaking them and baking to crispy perfection; and it came out so great I don’t miss puffed rice in bhel anymore when I am making this at home {on repeat}! Here, bits of unripe mangoes from Oman add extra bit of delicious fresh zing to an already tangy filled dish. Two chutneys – one made from coriander, mint and chillies and the other from tamarind and dates doesn’t overwhelm each other offering a riot of flavors and a spicy sweet mixture of many edibles.

Spinning a fusion to favorite Indian street food by adding pita chips instead of puffed rice, offering a crispy, sweet, tangy and spicy mixture with minimum ingredients to satiate our street food cravings.

Spinning a fusion to favorite Indian street food by adding pita chips instead of puffed rice, offering a crispy, sweet, tangy and spicy mixture with minimum ingredients to satiate our street food cravings.

Follow this youtube tutorial I posted months ago to get a recipe for green chutney while I brave myself to do another one for dates tamarind chutney soon. 

Print
Pita Bhel
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

Spinning a fusion to favorite Indian street food by adding pita chips instead of puffed rice, offering a crispy, sweet, tangy and spicy mixture with minimum ingredients to satiate our street food cravings. 

Course: Snack
Cuisine: Fusion, Street Food
Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 3 pcs pita bread
  • 1 no onion chopped
  • 1 no tomato chopped
  • 1/3 cup nylon sev
  • 2 tbsp coriander chutney
  • 2 tbsp dates and tamarind chutney
  • 1 tsp black salt
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped unripe mango
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180 Degrees C. Cut the pita bread length wise and line in a baking tray. Rub them olive oil and bake for 5-7 minutes until crisp and light brown. Remove from the oven and crush them lightly with hands. In a bowl toss together all the ingredients and serve immediately.

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