Cornflakes bhel is a spicy, tangy but healthy version of the popular street food of India; bhel puri. It is filled with different textures, colors and flavors, and with every bite, you will indulge in the crunch of healthy cornflakes, texture of peanuts, tanginess of tamarind and chaat masala powder, sweetness of jaggery and spiciness of green chilies with an aroma of coriander leaves and other aromatic Indian spices.
I love (as does any Indian!!) any type of chaat (types of street food with “chatpata” taste), be it bhel puri, sev puri, pani puri etc. You will find this chatpata (spicy, tangy, sweet and savory all in one!!) popular street food at any street corner all over India. Due to hygienic reasons, I always prefer to make them at home; some of them involve many steps. My craving for chaat can hit any time!! At times like this, cornflakes bhel (a totally vegan dish) is a very easy and quick recipe which can be prepared in no time!!!
Bhel puri is a commonly made street food in India using puffed rice with a combination of different vegetables smothered in spicy, tangy and sweet chutneys, mixed with crunchy savory fried snacks like boondi (deep fried gram flour batter balls), sev (deep fried gram flour batter noodles), matris (deep fried flour dough flatbreads) and healthy crunchy peanuts!
Normally, 2 types of chutneys are used: spicy coriander chutney and sweet and tangy date-tamarind chutney. I have made this favorite easy chaat with healthy ready-to-eat breakfast cereal, cornflakes, and for an instant (spell-lazy!!) version, I made only one chutney, with both sweet and savory flavors in one go!!
I had some premade tamarind-date chutney (you will always find this in my refrigerator), so added some of that in my serving of bhel as I like my chaat on the sweeter side!! You can serve on the side. You can choose to adjust this sweetness in the green chutney itself.
Along with cornflakes, for additional crunch, I have added ready made papdi, and some spiced peanuts. Papdi can be used like a spoon. Addition of fine sev and boondis gives this spicy and tangy dish an additional crunch. You may leave these out for a healthier option. Some people add raw mango (when in season for a sour flavor), grated carrots etc.
Once you try this, you will love it and will make this more often than the original version! If you have the ingredients ready, all you need is to assemble and enjoy this quick savory and sweet bhel with the goodness of ready to eat breakfast cornflakes.
- 2 cups breakfast cornflakes
- 1 medium tomato (deseeded), chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 boiled potato, peeled and cubed
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fine sev (deep fried gram flour noodles)
- 8 to 10 papdis
- ¼ cup spicy boondis
- 2to 3 tablespoons plain salted/spicy/roasted peanuts (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala powder, or as required
- Black salt as required
- Coriander leaves/cilantro for garnishing
- Pomegranate pearls for garnishing (optional)
- 1 big bunch coriander leaves
- 3 to 4 green chillies/jalapenos
- 1 small lemon-sized tamarind or 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 4 to 6 cloves of garlic
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated jaggery or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon jeera/cumin powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder (optional)
- Tamarind-date chutney (optional)
- Salt to taste
- First, roast the cornflakes in a kadai or saucepan for a few minutes to make them more crisp (optional). Allow to cool.
- Blend all the chutney ingredients in a blender with a little water to a fine paste. Taste and adjust the salt and jaggery according to your taste. Some people prefer more sweet and some more savory; so add accordingly. Remove from the blender jar.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the cornflakes, sev, boondis, few papdis (broken into pieces) and few peanuts. Sprinkle the chaat masala and mix gently.
- Stir in the onions, tomatoes, carrots and boiled potatoes along with a few tablespoons of chutney (use as much as needed). Mix gently, taste and add additional chutney (either green chutney or additional tamarind chutney) or chaat masala if needed.
- Sprinkle with fine sev, pomegranate pearls and coriander leaves and serve immediately with a papdi (which can be used as a spoon!!)
- Roasting cornflakes makes it crispier. You can choose to avoid it.
- Addition of papdi and boondis is optional. You can even substitute Ritz crackers or Monaco biscuits for the papdi.
- Amount of chutney added is according to your taste. Chaat masala powder and black salt can be added for additional flavor.
- Cornflakes bhel must be eaten immediately as keeping them even for a few minutes will make them soggy!!