Every Indian state has its own favorite street food snacks and in Kolkata, one of the most popular street food snacks is jhal muri. Jhal muri is a highly addictive snack with pungent flavor and crunchy texture that will leave you craving for more. In this post, we’ll introduce you to the original jhal muri recipe and teach you everything there is to know about this Bengali snack.
But first things first…
What Is Jhal Muri?
Jhal muri is a Bengali snack that consists of laal muri (puffed rice), a mix of fresh vegetables (like peanuts, onions, garlic, cucumbers, chilies, tomatoes, yellow peas, etc), a special jhal muri moshla (mix of local spices), and a few generous sprinkles of mustard oil. The fresh vegetables add a nice crunchy flavor while the myriad of spices adds some nice aroma and a very rich flavor, while the mustard oil rounds up this already delicious snack taking it to the next level. As hard as I try to describe it, the best way to experience jhal muri is by trying it.
Jhal muri is predominately a street food snack and in West Bengal (and especially Kolkata), you can find jhal muri stands everywhere- from schools and colleges, to train stations, parks, and city squares. It’s a tasty, light, and affordable snack that’s beloved by everyone and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it too as soon as you taste it.
Jhal muri is a relatively new snack that originates from the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent but today, it’s also available in many other Indian states. In its essence, the jhal muri recipe is a modified version of the bhel muri mixture but the preparation method is quite different. The best jhal muri can be found in the eastern parts of India, namely the states of West Bengal and Odisha, and in Bangladesh. However, throughout the years, a few different local variations have emerged. This brings us to the next point…
Jhal Muri Variations
Many Indian states have their own puffed rice snack. Some of the most famous examples include bhel puri in Maharashtra, churumuri and mandakki in Karnataka, and uggani or borugula upma in Andhra Pradesh. In addition to this, many other states also have chaat snacks (like aloo chaat) that are not made of puffed rice but are quite similar in flavor and texture.
The main difference between jhal muri and bhel puri is that jhal muri is dry while bhel puri uses a lot of chutneys that give the snack a very different texture despite using similar ingredients. Instead of using different chutneys, the jhal muri recipe uses mustard oil. This also differentiates jhal muri from the South Indian versions like churumuri and mandakki that are usually prepared with coconut oil.
Additionally, you can also find slightly different variations of jhal muri in places outside of India and Bangladesh that have a strong Bengali diaspora, like London and New York.
Last but not least, every order of jhal muri can be different because people have different preferences and most of the street food vendors keep all of the ingredients premixed. So, whether you want more potato, fewer spices, more chilies, etc. you are free to choose. This is one of the things about jhal muri that I love the most!
Jhal muri is served as soon as it’s prepared. Street vendors usually serve it in paper sticks from old newspapers but you can also serve it in a bowl. Before serving, note that a good jhal muri should be crisp and crunchy. So, if you let it stay for too long, the rice grains might become soggy. If the puffed rice you’re using is not crunchy enough, you can dry roast it for a few minutes before serving. Jhal muri is usually paired up with masala chai or filter coffee. Usually, it’s eaten as a snack in between your meals but you can have it whenever the hunger strikes.
Is It Safe To Eat Jhal Muri From Street Food Vendors?
In its original form, the jhal muri recipe derives from the streets of West Bengal, meaning it’s a street food snack and it’s completely safe to eat on the road.
As soon as taking your order, the street food vendor grabs a metal can and tosses a handful of puffed rice, fresh vegetables, and crunchy items, starts seasoning the jhal muri with some fragrant mustard oil, fresh lime, and some masala powder, and a bunch of other spices. Then he proceeds to stir everything very quickly and a few moments later, he’s handing you your jhal muri before you know it.
The snack is served in recycled newspapers and there are different portion sizes, mostly for 10, 15, and 20 Indian rupees.
Do not make jhal muri and leave it for later. If you do this, the puffed rice will turn soggy. Instead, you can cut and store your ingredients a few hours ahead and then mix the jhal muri right before serving.
If your puffed rice is already crisp, you don’t have to dry roast it or microwave it for up to 30 seconds.
Serve immediately after preparing because the fresh vegetables might release liquids that will make the puffed rice soggy.
We suggest getting muri made using red rice. It’s much more flavorful than the white muri and it also doesn’t contain any chemicals.
If you want to experiment with ingredients, you can try adding sprouted chana, chanachur, yellow peas, or even raw mangoes. None of these are a part of the traditional jhal muri recipe but they all taste very nice.
Don’t try to use sunflower or olive oil, the jhal muri will not be the same. Mustard oil is a crucial part of this recipe.
A Few Things You May Need
Enjoying this post? Then you may also want. to check out some of our other Indian street food recipes.
- 4 cups puffed rice (muri)
- 1 potato, boiled and chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onions
- ½ cup finely chopped cucumber
- ½ cup finely chopped tomato
- ½ cup roasted peanuts
- 2 green chilies - finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped or minced ginger
- 4 tablespoons sev
- 4 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons mustard oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coconut (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- ½ teaspoon chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder or white pepper powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
- 2 teaspoons dry mango powder
1. Chop all the vegetables into tiny pieces. The onions and ginger can be minced.
2. Once done, keep the vegetables aside and heat up a kadai (deep circular cooking pot), and keep it at a low-medium flame.
3. Check if your puffed rice is crunchy enough. If necessary, dry roast your puffed rice for 2-3 minutes until it’s nice and crunchy.
4. Turn off the flame and add all the spices from the ingredients list into the puffed rice. The remaining heat should be enough to roast the spices and give the muri a nice aroma.
5. Let the muri cool off at room temperature for a few minutes before proceeding to the next step.
6. Add the roasted peanuts to the muri. Stir well.
7. Add the rest of the vegetables to the mix.
8. Drizzle a little bit of mustard oil (bits by bits, not all of it at once).
9. Squeeze the lemon juice evenly over the muri.
10. Gently mix all of the ingredients and top the jhal muri with sev and fresh coriander leaves.
11. Check for taste and add more salt/black pepper if necessary.
12. Serve it right away alongside a cup of masala chai or filter coffee and enjoy!
Serving Size:1 Bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0.5mgSodium: 931mgCarbohydrates: 23gNet Carbohydrates: 23gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g
How did you like our recipe? did you ever try jhal muri? If you tried to make this recipe at home, please share your feedback and if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below!
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