Angry Cat in a Glitter Collar

Tonight Chutney Challenged hosted a somewhat impromptu viewing party, focused around Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s State of the State address. I fantasized, briefly, about making ragda patties. Then I realized that would be a crazy-making amount of work on one night’s notice. I decided on bhel puri. I decided on this over pizza because while my record-low blog readership hasn’t generated much buzz about my trial run as America’s Next Chaat Chef, my big mouth has. Once a few friends know you make “Indian food” no Pizza Hut kajillion calorie $12.99 special will do.

So I made bhel puri with a new mix, pictured below. I whipped up some green chutney, chopped the cilantro, onion, tomato, diluted the tamarind chutney with lime juice and a bit of water. Then it was showtime.

Let me tell you, the speech was a bunch of warmed-over talking points about tools, mining jobs, budget cuts and cheap digs at Washington D.C. and “the federal level.” If you want a more detailed analysis of the address please give me a day or so but, really, I can’t promise you anything.

But the bhel puri was a winnah!!! I think it was the new mix and my total commitment to super-saucing the bhel. I added lots of chutney. That bowl of puffed rice and chaana glistened and hissed at me like a mildly angry cat in a glitter collar. Bhel puri has never spoken to me like that before.

The gals on the couch were ready for a second bowl of bhel before Scott Walker could even say “our reforms are working.” Also, those reforms are not working. Actually, they are not reforms. More like taking money from school kids, or taking tamarind chutney from bhel puri.

Jasmine and Jennifer, thanks for your insight, friendship, expertise and late-night edits these last two years. To Maria, who came late, I commend you for line-of-the-evening, delivered as you politely declined a bowl of bhel: “No thanks. People think because I’m Mexican I eat cilantro and salsa and all that, but I don’t.”

That’s the best “no” I’ve heard in a while.


This is the bhel mix I’ve been waiting for.

America’s Chaat Chef

Well, it’s over. The Packer’s season, the sev puri, the illusion that everyone everywhere is delighted to have freshly made chaat in abundant supply in their kitchen. Sometimes chaat is too much: onion, spice, chutney, crunchy things you can’t pronounce. As America’s Chhat Chef, you also don’t do yourself any favors arriving after kickoff and serving sev puri after everyone has eaten dinner. Lessons learned, universe!

Chutney Challenged commendations do go out to my onion-averse friend for trying a bite of sev puri and to her sister, who went all-in on a full piece (that’s one “biscuit,” with all the toppings) of dahi puri (that’s sev puri, topped with a dollop of yoghurt). Thank you for being there for Chutney Challenged, Anne and Ellen.


Dahi puri on a platter. I think maybe I used too much dahi and not enough sev.

Soon enough I will post a recipe. It will be located in a clearly marked blogpost titled something like:




Which one do you like?

After Saturday’s sev-puri situation, I sevved face (good time to be reminded, sev sounds like “save”) by inviting over two other friends. Together we ate 5-6 biscuits, each.

And that’s how sev puri should go down.


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