Bhelpuri for a vegan potluck

Bhelpuri for a vegan potluck

bhel2.jpeg

When I'm not writing about vegan food, I also write fiction, and I was lucky enough this year to have a few pieces of my writing featured in Oh Comely Magazine. As someone who's been obsessed with magazines for as long as I can remember- from scouring out the single copy of i-D in my Yorkshire Co-op to counting down the days until the next Elle Girl came out (and getting my parents to drive the 30-mile round trip to the nearest Borders to buy it!) - seeing my own writing in a tangible, printed form never stops feeling special, so I am so happy to have been able to experience that this year. 

I made this bhelpuri for an Oh Comely Christmas pot luck dinner last week- it was a lovely night to bring the year to a close, and so great to put some faces to the names I've worked with a little this year. I bought along this bhelpuri as I thought it would be the perfect food to eat cold and share around with everyone. But travelling with a GINORMOUS bag of food on the underground at rush hour is apparently not the thing to do. As the dry components in this recipe are best kept apart from the wet ones until they're ready to eat, to keep it nice and crispy and crunchy, the minute you take a kitchen out of the equation, bhelpuri becomes a bit of a military operation! One I think Brixton will appreciate if I don't repeat again at 6 'o clock on a Thursday night...

bhel5.jpeg

A note on the ingredients list- bhelpuri is an Indian snack food that a lot of people wouldn't even write a recipe for- from my research it is often a mixture of staple ingredients along with things that are to hand. I've swapped a few of the traditional ingredients with ones I could find in my local supermarket (rice crispies!). The salad in itself is like a super tasty, more substantial bombay mix. It's sweet, sour, soft, crunchy and spicy, and would be perfect with some beers before heading out. Serve straight away and get all your friends to dig in to a bowl or mugful with a fork.

Makes A L O T (easily enough for 12)

n.b. You won't need entire packs of the dry ingredients, but once you have them in you can make this bhelpuri again and again by saving back the dry stuff and just buying in the fresh and wet ingredients. I made this recipe four times last week and it must have served between 12-16 people as a snack.

Wet:

200g peeled potatoes, boiled until cooked but not soft

1 mango, cubed

1/2 red onion, chopped small

4 tomatoes, seeds scooped out and cubed

1 tin chickpeas, drained

A handful of chopped coriander

Juice of 1/2 lemon

2 tsp mint sauce

2 tsp of fruit or onion chutney

Dry:

1 small pack of salted peanuts

1 pack of papdi- which look like small, thick papadums, and I found a pack in the bakery section of my Morrisons

1 bag of sev, which is like the thin parts of bombay mix

1 pack of rice crispie cereal, or puffed rice if you can find it

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

bhl4.jpeg

Gather all the prepared ingredients together and then add to a large serving bowl in the order listed above, mixing as you go. When you get to the dry ingredients, just add as much as you think works. The puffed rice should make up a third to half of the mixture, so once you've mixed it all together, finish with the spices and taste, and then just add more of each ingredient if you think it is lacking a certain flavour.

bhel6.jpeg

First corn of autumn, with lime, chili and coriander

grilledcorn.jpeg

With the final days of August came the first corn of autumn. So fresh, so juicy, so different from tinned sweetcorn, so moreish. This is a really quick recipe to make while something else is cooking in the oven or marinading or stewing away. It does yield a fair amount of dressing for the corn, so I used the leftovers to mix into salad leaves. 

corn2.jpeg

Makes enough for four, so scale up for how ever many you need

Ingredients

50ml vegetable or sunflower oil

Juice of two limes

Handful of chopped coriander

1 green chilli, chopped small

Salt and pepper

4 fresh corn cobs

Mix together the dressing in a large bowl, and then roll the sweetcorn in the dressing. If you can leave it to marinade for a bit, all the better, and spoon some of the coriander on top of the sweetcorn while it rests. 

If not, go straight to a hot frying pan or barbeque, and fry the sweetcorn on a medium high heat. You can spoon some more of the mix on the sweetcorn as you go, and add a little extra salt if you prefer things saltier. 

Once some parts of the corn have taken on a charred colour, take it off the heat and eat straight away. You can also sprinkle the cooked corn with a little paprika if you really like things hot!  

corn3.jpeg