Street food – Mango Masala Bhel In Bangalore, India
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In the South Indian city of Bangalore, bhel, a staple street snack, which means different things in different states takes on a healthy twist. Bhel, all over India, is a mix of crunchy puffed rice with chutneys, chopped onion and tomato and topped with fried chikpea batter strings and cilantro. Its flavors differ from region to region.
In Bangalore, the Garden City of India, you find that they add grated carrot and mango to the mix, making it a healthier, juicier, crunchier snack.
Eating my way through the dosa capital in the afternoon afternoon, I decided to go light that evening make bhel my dinner. As I was waiting my turn at the wheeled street food cart filled with bags and jars of nose-ticking ingredients, I heard a lady next to me ask for mango masala bhel. Never having tried that before, I decided to go ahead with the adventure of something completely new.
The vendor, or street food artist as he should be known, started by grating a whole unripe mango into a bowl, topping it with a spice mix of rock salt, cumin, sugar, and a dash of garam masala. Into that went a dash of hot, tangy green chili and lime paste. As the juices of the mango started releasing because of the salt and sugar, he pulled out one plump red tomato and one spicy red onion, and chopped it finely into the mango mix. Half a carrot got shredded into it next. He stuffed the juicy chow into a paper cone and topped it with chopped roasted peanuts and freshly picked cilantro leaves.
The mix was a mouth-watering crunchy sour-sweet-spicy-salty mix of happiness. All made of vegetables and spices, almost like Thai papaya salad som-tam in its idea, but so different in its flavors.
To get the best street food in a city, sometimes all you have to is eavesdrop on the locals.
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