Trainwali Bhel|(Dry) Sukha Bhel

Trainwali Bhel refers to the dry bhel that you get in paper cones, on moving trains. It is a simple mix of ingredients that is not messy to eat, but super delicious. Let me show you how to make this (dry) Sukha Bhel in today’s blog post, served with a generous dose of nostalgia for long train rides and those carefree days when we seemed to have all the time in the world.

Trainwali Bhel or (Dry) Sukha Bhel

Long train rides, Sukha Bhel, nostalgia and more

I have extremely fond memories, as a young schoolgirl, of the dry bhel served on moving trains, by vendors who kept getting on and off at different stations. Years ago, when we stayed in Ahmedabad, we would undertake long train journeys in the summer holidays – to Bangalore or Chennai, usually – to visit my mom’s family down South. We would carry home-made food for the almost 36-hour journey, and I would be thrilled to see these chaat vendors with their huge baskets, metal containers (often repurposed from tin oil cans) filled with puffed rice, grated carrots, lemons, finely chopped onions and other accoutrements. The Sukha Bhel that they dished up would look mouth-wateringly delicious, but would have a questionable hygiene quotient.

Arguments with mom would follow – she won sometimes, I won at other times. The few times she let me have the bhel, I remember it being a blissful experience eating it – maybe it was the thrill of a hard-won snack, or the glee of having something different from the usual podi idlis and curd rice that my mom religiously packed for the journey. Maybe the massive waves of nostalgia I am rolling around in right now make me feel so. 🙂

As a family, we hardly take long train rides any more – we never seem to have the luxury of journeying for 30 hours or more to reach our destination. Covid put paid even to the shorter train journeys we sometimes used to undertake. This is an experience I feel sad the bub is missing out on – packed food, watching stations whizz by out of the windows, vendors calling out their wares, reading at leisure, stretching out whenever you get a chance because your muscles are taut from sitting for so long, et al – but it is what it is!

Ingredients used in Trainwali Bhel

Trainwali Bhel is made by mixing up several dry ingredients, so it is easy to prepare and eat on a moving train. Unlike the regular bhel poori available in restaurants, this version is made without any chutneys. A handful of sev and mixture (or chivda) is mixed with roasted puffed rice, along with grated carrots, finely chopped tomato, onion and cucumber, and coriander. Dry spice powders like red chilli powder, chaat masala and roasted cumin powder are used to flavour the bhel, as is a dash of lemon juice.

I have often recreated the Trainwali Bhel at home – albeit in more hygienic settings – and have my own recipe for it, arrived at after several trials and tribulations. I find that adding some powdered sugar makes the bhel even more flavourful.

Check out the detailed recipe for Trainwali Bhel below, the way I make it. It does not require too many ingredients and comes together in a jiffy. This bhel is quite similar to Churmuri, a streetside snack in Karnataka. Some vendors of Churmuri do add a sweet-sour tamarind chutney to it, though, which this train version does not contain.

How to make Trainwali Bhel| (Dry) Sukha Bhel

Here is how I go about it.

Ingredients (serves 2):

1. 3 big fistfuls of roasted puffed rice (pori/murmura)

2. 1 fistful of fine sev

3. 1 fistful of readymade mixture

4. 1 baby carrot

5. 1/2 of a medium-sized onion

6. 1/2 of a medium-sized cucumber

7. 1 small tomato

8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

9. Red chilli powder to taste

10. 1/4 teaspoon chaat masala

11. Salt to taste

12. 2 teaspoons of powdered sugar or to taste

13. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder

14. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste


1. We will start by prepping the veggies needed for the Sukha Bhel. Peel the onion and carrot. Grate the carrot medium thick, and chop the onion finely. Chop up the cucumber and tomato finely. Keep ready.

Top left and right: Steps 2 and 3, Below top right: Step 4, Bottom right: Step 5, Bottom left: Step 6

2. Take the roasted puffed rice in a large mixing bowl. Add in the sev and mixture.

3. Add the grated carrot, and the chopped onion, tomato and cucumber. Add in the finely chopped coriander too.

4. Add in salt, red chilli powder, chaat masala, roasted cumin powder and powdered sugar.

5. Add in the lemon juice to the mixing bowl.

6. Mix all the ingredients in the mixing bowl well. Your Sukha Bhel is ready. Serve immediately.

Related Event: Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, a group of passionate food bloggers that I am part of.

The members of the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge share recipes based on a pre-decided theme, every month. The members are divided into pairs for the purpose of the challenge. Each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the group. These two secret ingredients are then used by each member to prepare a dish that fits into the theme of the month. When their dish is ready, each member posts a picture of the same in the group, and the other members try to guess the two secret ingredients that have been used therein. I have been a part of this group for years now, and it has been a fun and challenging learning experience, all at once.

For the month of April 2023, Seema of Mildly Indian proposed the theme ‘Railway Recipes’, wherein bloggers could share how to prepare foods which they have enjoyed on train journeys. These could be dishes they carried from home or which were served on the train, by vendors or the pantry car. Needless to say, the theme induced nostalgia in most group members, and we had a great time wading through fond memories of train travels past to zero in on a recipe we could showcase. Seema prepared this absolutely delicious Indian Railways Aloo Curry for the theme which you have got to check out!

I was paired with Aruna of Vasu’s Veg Kitchen for the challenge. She suggested I make something using the ingredients ‘chaat masala‘ and ‘lemon juice’, which fit right into the Trainwali Bhel recipe I had been thinking of showcasing. I gave Aruna the ingredients ‘groundnuts’ and ‘red chillies’, and she prepared this lovely Pulihora she remembers carrying on train journeys with her family.

Dietary guidelines

This recipe is made using all-vegetarian and vegan ingredients. It is suitable for people following a plant-based diet.

Chaat masala has been used in making this bhel, which often contains asafoetida. It is, therefore, advisable to avoid the chaat masala if you are following a gluten-free diet – you may use a dash of black salt instead.

I have roasted the puffed rice with minimal oil. There is a little store-bought mixture and some powdered sugar used in this bhel, while the other ingredients are clean.

You can use puffed wheat rice (available in several departmental stores in Bangalore) instead of the puffed rice I have used here.

Tips & Tricks

1. Make sure the roasted puffed rice is crispy, for best results. Sometimes, if the puffed rice has been roasted prior and has been sitting around, it can lose its crispiness. In that case, give it a brief roasting in a wide pan till it crisps up.

2. I have roasted the puffed rice with some salt and turmeric here, using regular refined oil. If you like the flavour of ghee or coconut oil, you can use either of these to roast the puffed rice.

3. Be careful while adding salt to the Sukha Bhel. The puffed rice as well as the chaat masala both already contain some amount of salt.

4. You may use finely chopped green chillies instead of the red chilli powder I have used here. I prefer avoiding green chillies in this dish.

5. Sometimes, roasted puffed rice has red chilli powder and/or sugar powder added to it. In that case, do adjust the quantity of red chilli powder and sugar powder you add to the Sukha Bhel.

6. Use only powdered sugar while making the Sukha Bhel, as it gets well incorporated with the other ingredients. Grainy refined sugar is difficult to mix in.

7. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice you use depending upon personal taste preferences.

8. I have used readymade South Indian mixture from Bambino, which contains peanuts, fried gram and crispies. Instead of mixture, you may add in North Indian-style chivda or a handful  of crisp-roasted peanuts and papdi.

9. A dash of black salt can also be added to the Sukha Bhel if you so prefer. I have avoided it because I wanted to keep the recipe really simple, close to the way this bhel is actually made by vendors in running trains.

10. Use fine sev only, for best results. Do not use the thick variety of sev.

11. Serve this Sukha Bhel immediately after preparation. Not consuming it immediately might make it soggy and alter its taste.

12. Often, I have seen train travellers carrying the ingredients for this bhel from home, and then mixing it up for a snack on the train. You could do the same, too.

13. Pomegranate arils and/or raw mango (when in season) are great additions to this Trainwali Bhel.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!


Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji| Maharashtrian Drumstick Curry

Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji is a delicious drumstick curry from the state of Maharashtra. It is a gravy-based dish that goes very well with both rotis and rice.

When we visited some Maharashtrian family friends of ours in Indore some time ago, the hostess had prepared Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji for lunch. I fell in love with it at first bite, and immediately asked her if she could teach me the recipe. She was generous enough to do so, and now, this curry has become a staple at our dinner table too. I absolutely love this fact about my kitchen – how the food I cook on an everyday basis is a reflection of our families and memories, the changing seasons, our travels, the people we meet, the shows we watch, and the books we read. 🙂

Full of the goodness of drumsticks, Shevgyachi Shengachi Bhaji tastes beautiful. It has the robust flavour and fragrance of goda masala, the quintessential spice blend that you will find in several Maharashtrian kitchens. It is spicy (though we adjust the spice level to match our tastes), with just a hint of sweetness and sourness. Today, I am going to share with you all how to make this traditional Maharashtrian curry – do try it out some time and I am sure you will love it too! It is the season for drumsticks right now, and the markets are flooded with them – there’s no better time than now to make this dish.

Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji, served with rotis

Looking for other recipes using moringa? Check out this Saragva Ni Kadhi, a Gujarati curd-based dish, and this Shevgyacha Shengachi Amti, a Maharashtrian dal, both made using moringa pods. This Murunga Poo Poriyal from Tamilnadu uses moringa flowers. Murunga Keerai Rotti, Murunga Keerai Adai and Murunga Elai Podi are great ways to make use of the nutrition-packed moringa leaves.

Ingredients used in Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji

Drumsticks or moringa pods (called ‘shevgyacha shenga‘ in Marathi) are the main ingredient in this curry. You will need 5-6 big ones, fresh and full of meat.

There are different ways to make Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji, the ingredients used undergoing changes in different households. The recipe I am sharing today is based on what I learnt from our family friend, the way they make it at their place.

We start out by cooking the drumsticks in some water, along with some salt and turmeric powder. Then, they are cooked some more in tamarind extract. The tamarind isn’t exactly a common addition in this curry, apparently, but our family friend uses it and so do I – I rather love the sourness it adds to the dish.

A paste is made using onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes, with a little dried coconut and fried gram. The drumsticks are cooked with this paste for a while, with goda masala, a dash of jaggery for flavour, and some red chilli powder.

Many Maharashtrian families use kanda-lehsun masala – a dry blend of onion, garlic, ginger, dry coconut and other spices – in this dish. Our hostess suggested leaving it out if one does not have ready access to it, and I followed her advice.

Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji recipe

Here is how to make this curry. There are quite a few stages involved in the making of this dish, but the preparation is definitely not difficult.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

1. 5 drumsticks

2. A small piece of tamarind

3. 1 medium-sized onion

4. 2 medium-sized tomatoes

5. A 1-inch piece of ginger

6. 5-6 garlic cloves

7. 2 tablespoons dessicated coconut

8. 1 teaspoon fried gram (‘pottukadalai‘ in Tamil)

9. 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon oil

10. Salt to taste

11. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

12. 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

13. 2 pinches of asafoetida

14. Red chilli powder to taste

15. 3/4 teaspoon coriander powder

16. 2 teaspoons goda masala or to taste

17. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste

18. About 1 cup water or as needed

19. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander


Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Centre row, left, centre and right, bottom left: Step 4, Bottom right: Step 5

1. Soak the tamarind in boiling hot water for 10-15 minutes, for it to soften. Allow it to cool down enough to handle.

2. Remove the ends of the drumsticks and chop them into 2-inch pieces. Keep ready.

3. Now, we will prepare a paste that’s needed to make the curry. Peel and chop the ginger, garlic cloves and onion finely. Chop the tomatoes finely. Keep the dessicated coconut and fried gram ready.

4. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Saute on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till the onion starts browning. Now, add in the chopped tomato, along with a little salt and water. Saute on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the tomatoes are cooked and mushy. Add in the dessicated coconut and fried gram at this stage, and saute on medium flame for a minute. Switch off gas. Allow all the sauteed ingredients to cool down fully.

5. When completely cool, transfer all the sauteed ingredients to a mixer jar. Grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Centre left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Bottom left and right: Steps 10 and 11

6. Using a little water, extract all the juice from the tamarind. Keep aside.

7. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida, and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Then, add in the chopped drumsticks along with a little salt, turmeric powder and water. Mix well.

8. Turn the flame down to medium. Cook covered for 5-7 minutes or till the drumsticks are cooked through. You will need to uncover the pan intermittently to check on them, adding more water if needed. The drumsticks are done when they aren’t bright green any more and you are easily able to split them open with your fingers, as shown in the picture above (Centre row, left).

9. Once the drumsticks are cooked, add the tamarind extract to the pan. Mix well. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes.

10. Now, add the onion-tomato paste to the pan. Wash the mixer jar using about 1/2 cup of water, and add it to the pan. Mix well and cook on medium flame, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes.

11. Add salt and red chilli powder to taste. Mix well.

Top left and right: Step 12, Centre left and right: Step 13, Bottom left and right: Steps 14 and 15

12. Add goda masala and jaggery powder. Mix well.

13. Add in about 1/2 cup of water at this stage, or as needed to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the gravy thickens. Stir intermittently. Switch off gas when the gravy has thickened up, but is still slightly runny. Remember that it will thicken up further with time.

14. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji is ready.

15. Serve the Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji warm along with rotis or rice.

Dietary guidelines

This Shevgyacha Shengachi Bhaji is made with minimal oil. It does contain jaggery, but you may skip it if you do not prefer using it.

This is a completely vegetarian and vegan recipe, which is suitable for people following a plant-based diet.

If you want to make this curry gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour and are best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

Tips & Tricks

1. Don’t overcook the drumsticks. Cook them till just done. They will cook further in the gravy.

2. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the gravy you require.

3. Do use the goda masala for that authentic Maharashtrian flavour. Do not substitute it with Punjabi garam masala – that has a completely different flavour profile. I have used home-made goda masala here.

4. You will be adding salt at different stages. Make sure you don’t add too much, or the gravy will become too salty.

5. I have used store-bought dessicated coconut here. You can grate a whole dry coconut (kopra) too, and use the shavings in the gravy. I prefer using only dessicated coconut in this recipe for the authentic taste. However, in a pinch, I think fresh grated coconut should work as well.

6. Adjust the quantity of tamarind as per personal taste preferences.

7. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder depending upon how spicy your goda masala is.

8. Keep the gravy slightly runny because it tends to thicken up over time. If it gets too thick , before serving, add in a splash of water to loosen it and heat it up gently.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!

Mambazha Payasam| Aam Ki Kheer

Mambazha Payasam is a delicious kheer made using ripe mangoes, one of the best ways to use the fruit in the summer months. It is an easy-peasy dessert to make, too.

The season for mangoes is here, and I plan to use the ‘King of Fruits’ in as many dishes as possible. Mambazha Payasam (Tamil) or Aam Ki Kheer (Hindi) is one of my most favourite desserts using mangoes. Today, let me share with you all the recipe for this kheer, the way I make it.

Do try it out for the upcoming Tamil New Year or Vishu. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

Mambazha Payasam or Mango kheer
Mambazha Payasam or Aam Ki Kheer

I have shared several other delightful recipes with ripe mangoes on my blog so far. You might want to take a look at them too.

Mambazha Pulissery| Mambazha Sambar| Fajeto| Mango Kesari| Ripe Mango Dip| Chilli & Mango Grilled Cheese Sandwich| Stuffed Mango Kulfi| Mango & Hung Curd Parfait| Mango Bruschetta| Ripe Mango Hummus With Sriracha| Mango Lassi| Fruit Custard

Kalyani’s Thai Yellow Mango Curry sounds so very delicious, I’m surely going to try it out this summer!

A look at the ingredients used

Mambazha Payasam is made by cooking milk till it reduces and thickens, after which ripe mangoes are mixed into it. Check the detailed recipe given below to understand how to go about this without the milk splitting.

Milk and mangoes are the two major ingredients in this payasam. Full-fat, dairy-based milk is preferred. The slow cooking of the milk renders it creamy and delicious and, along with ripe mango, it makes for a heavenly summer dessert.

Regular refined sugar is used to sweeten the payasam. A bit of saffron is added in for colour, as well as cardamom powder for flavouring.

Mambazha Payasam Recipe

I prepare the Mambazha Payasam on the lines of the Kheer Komola i.e. Bengali Orange Kheer that I had shared some time ago. That is another beautiful fruit-based payasam, you all!

The detailed recipe for Mambazha Payasam follows.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

1. 1 litre full-fat milk

2. 6 tablespoons sugar or to taste

3. A pinch of saffron

4. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

5. 2 medium-sized ripe mangoes


How to make Mambazha Payasam
Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom right: Step 4, Bottom left: Step 5

1. Take the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place it on high flame.

2. Allow the milk to come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.

3. Add in the sugar. Mix well.

4. Drop in the saffron strands into the milk.

5. Continue to cook on medium heat till the milk reduces in volume to about half. You will need to stir intermittently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Scrape down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan, using a spatula, back into the milk. In 15-20 minutes, the milk would have reduced. Switch off gas at this stage.

How to make Mambazha Payasam
Top left: Step 6, Top centre and right, bottom left and centre: Step 7, Bottom right: Step 8

6. Mix in the cardamom powder. Now, allow the milk mixture to cool down completely.

7. When the milk mixture has cooled down fully, peel the 2 ripe mangoes. Chop the flesh of one into small pieces and add it to the milk. Chop the flesh of the other mango to pieces, grind coarsely in a mixer jar (or use your hands to make a rough puree) and add this to the milk too. Mix well. Your Mambazha Payasam or Aam Ki Kheer is ready.

8. Chill the kheer for at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Dietary guidelines

This kheer is made using milk from the dairy and is, therefore, NOT vegan. Vegans can use plant-based milk instead, I think, though I have never tried that out in this recipe.

This Mambazha Payasam is naturally gluten-free.

It uses refined sugar and is a high-calorie dessert, and is meant for occasional consumption in small amounts only, especially for people with diabetes and weight-watchers. I have not tried making this particular dessert with any alternative sweetener.

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use depending upon how sweet the mangoes are.

2. Use mangoes that are completely ripe, sweet, fragrant and juicy. Do not use fibrous varieties of mango. Banganapalli and Kesar are my favourite varieties to use in this kheer.

3. The Aam Ki Kheer will thicken up upon cooling, so make sure you switch off the flame when it is still on the runnier side.

4. If the kheer gets too thick, you may dilute it using some boiled and cooled milk.

5. Use full-fat milk for best results. I have used Nandini full-cream milk here.

6. You can use a mixer to puree one mango or do the same using your hands. For best results, make a coarse puree – do not make a fine paste.

7. This Aam Ki Kheer is best prepared fresh and consumed on the same day of preparation.

8. Make sure you use a heavy-bottomed pan to cook the kheer.

9. This kheer tastes best after chilling for at least a couple of hours. Please plan ahead and schedule the preparation accordingly.

10. Allow the milk mixture to cool down completely before adding the mango to it, otherwise it might split.

11. I prefer using fresh ripe mangoes when in season. However, if you don’t have access to fresh mangoes where you live, you can use canned.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Tomatillo Chutney| Mexican Husk Tomato Chutney

Tomatillo Chutney is a flavourful dip, South Indian style. It is a unique chutney made with the tomatillo fruit, a nice change from the usual varieties of chutneys we make regularly. I served it with idlis and dosas, and my family loved it to bits.

Read on to know more about the tomatillo and how to make this chutney.

Yummy Tomatillo Chutney

Tomatillos are not green tomatoes!

Native to Mexico, the tomatillo refers to a small green fruit enclosed in a papery husk. Also called ‘Mexican Tomatoes’ or ‘Mexican Husk Tomatoes’, tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked. They are very sour, and cooking helps in reducing their tartness to some extent.

Tomatillos are quite a commonly used ingredient in Mexican cuisine, but not very easy to come across in India. When I found them at Namdhari’s some time ago, I knew I had to get them home to experiment. I was thrilled with the Tomatillo Chutney I made with some of the fruit – other experiments are underway!

How pretty are these tomatillos!

Tomatillos might look like small green tomatoes, but both are different. Tomatillos come with a husk which needs to be removed and discarded, while that is not so in case of tomatoes. Unripe tomatoes are green, and they turn red upon ripening – however, tomatillos continue to stay firm and green even when they ripen. Tomatillos are more tart than tomatoes, too. From what I have read and understood, both tomatoes and tomatillos belong to the same family, though.

Ingredients used in Tomatillo Chutney

I have prepared this Tomatillo Chutney on the lines of the Green Tomato Chutney that is popular in Andhra Pradesh. It needs just a few ingredients and is very simple to make, but turns out very delicious. I will also share the recipe for the Andhra-style Green Tomato Chutney on my blog soon.

Tomatillos are the star ingredient of this chutney. To even out their tartness, I have used onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Some jaggery has also been used.

A handful of fresh coriander is added in, to perk up the colour of the chutney as well as for extra flavour.

I kept the tempering for this Tomatillo Chutney simple – just some mustard, asafoetida and curry leaves.

Tomatillo Chutney recipe

Here’s how I made it.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

1. 4 tomatillos

2. 1 medium-sized onion

3. A 1-inch piece of ginger

4. 4 cloves of garlic

5. 2 green chillis

6. A handful of fresh coriander

7. 1/2 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon of oil

8. Salt to taste

9. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste

10. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

11. 2 pinches of asafoetida

12. 1 sprig of curry leaves


Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Centre left: Step 3, Centre right and bottom left: Step 4, Bottom right: Step 5

1. First, we will prep the tomatillos. Remove the outer husk and discard. Wash the tomatillos well to get rid of the waxy film on them. Then, cut the tomatillos into quarters.

2. Peel the ginger, garlic and onion and chop them up roughly. Chop the coriander and green chillies finely. Keep these prepared ingredients ready.

3. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame for 2-3 minutes or till the onions start browning.

4. Add in the chopped tomatillos at this stage, followed by a little salt. Mix well.

5. Add a little water to the pan. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the tomatillos turn mushy.

Left top and bottom: Steps 6 and 7, Right top and centre: Step 8, Right bottom: Step 9

6. Add in the chopped coriander and green chilles at this stage. Mix well. Saute on medium heat for about a minute, then switch off gas.

7. Allow the mixture to cool down completely.

8. When the mixture has cooled down fully, transfer it to a mixer jar. Add in the jaggery and adjust the salt. Add a little more water if needed. Grind to a mostly smooth, slightly coarse chutney. Transfer the chutney to a serving bowl.

9. Now, we will prepare the tempering for the chutney. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard, and let it sputter. Add in the asafoetida and curry leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, then switch off gas. Pour this tempering over the chutney in the serving bowl. Your Tomatillo Chutney is ready to serve, along with idlis, dosas, upma, vadas, rotis and the likes.

Dietary guidelines

This Tomatillo Chutney recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan. It is suited to people following a plant-based diet.

To make this chutney gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour and are, therefore, best avoided when following a gluten-free diet. However, if you find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

This recipe for Tomatillo Chutney contains very little oil and zero coconut. It is made using onions and garlic, but you can also skip these ingredients if you do not prefer adding them (see the ‘Tips & Tricks’ section of this post for details).

Tips & Tricks

1. Do not use more than the specified number of tomatillos. They are very tart, and this can make the chutney very sour. It is for this reason that no tamarind or other souring agents are used in the making of this chutney.

2. Adjust the number of green chillies you use as per personal taste preferences.

3. You may skip the jaggery if you do not prefer using it, but I strongly recommend adding it. The jaggery rounds off the other flavours beautifully.

4. If you do not prefer using onion and garlic, you may skip them. However, in that case, you might want to add in about a tablespoon of peanuts and some sesame seeds to add some bulk to the chutney and even out the tartness of the tomatillos. A little bit of fresh coconut can also be used.

5. You may add in some mint leaves along with the coriander. This also gives a lovely taste to the chutney.

6. Do not add too much water while grinding the chutney. Add just enough to help in the process of grinding.

7. We prefer keeping this Tomatillo Chutney mostly smooth, only slightly coarse. However, you can keep the texture as per your personal preferences.

8. Sesame oil (‘nalla ennai‘ in Tamil) tastes best in this chutney. However, if you don’t have it, you may use any other oil of your choice.

9. You may also add in a ripe red tomato, along with the tomatillos. This also adds a beautiful flavour to the chutney.

10. The same kind of chutney can be made using green (unripe) tomatoes. You might have to add in a little tamarind in that case.

11. Any leftover chutney can be transferred to a clean, dry, air-tight box. Refrigerated, it stays for 3-4 days.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Bohra Gol Paani| Summer Beverage With Jaggery

Gol Paani is a special beverage popular among the Bohra Muslim community. It is made with all-natural ingredients, super flavourful and very refreshing. It is a wonderful thirst quencher, especially prepared for Iftaar in Bohra households during the month of Ramzaan. I have some really lovely memories involving Gol Paani, which I have learnt to make over the years. In today’s post, I am going to share with you all how to go about making it.

Utterly refreshing and delicious Gol Paani

What exactly is Gol Paani?

Like I was saying earlier, Gol Paani is a delectable and utterly refreshing beverage from the Bohra Muslim community. As the name suggests, there are two major ingredients used in this drink – ‘Gol‘ (aka jaggery) and ‘Paani‘ (aka water). Gol Paani is, basically, jaggery water with a few other ingredients added in to enhance its flavour. Jaggery contains a good amount of magnesium and iron, and is believed to help in improving intestinal health and maintaining normal body temperature in the summers.

Sabja seeds (also called ‘basil seeds’ or ‘tukmariya‘) are used in Gol Paani too, These seeds possess immense health benefits, including being rich in minerals and various vitamins, have anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties, and offer a cooling effect to the body. Sabja seeds need to be soaked in water for a little time to bloom, post which they can be used in the beverage – I have explained how to do this, in detail, in the recipe below.

Lemon juice and fresh mint leaves are used to add freshness to the drink. Several families also use a wee bit of black salt to add a unique flavour and fragrance to the Gol Paani.

Sweet memories with Gol Paani

In the year 2017, when I was big on attending various foodie events around the city, I had the opportunity to attend a cook-off by Chef Michael Swamy and Chef Aniket Das at Fairfield By Marriott. At the event, we were served a beautiful dark-coloured drink which was lemon-y and mint-y, just perfect for the hot weather we were facing at the time. I remember Chef Das telling us that the drink was Gol Paani, adapted from the family recipe of a Bohra Muslim team member of his. There was talk in the kitchen of Gol Paani doing the rounds of the family table, at the team member’s house, during Iftaar. This got Chef Das intrigued, and he went on to try out the beverage, deciding to serve it to us bloggers at the cook-off.

Later, in 2019, I enjoyed the experience of partaking of a huge Bohra-style thali by Rehana Nagaria of The Bohra Bohra Thaal, a provider of home dining experiences in Bangalore. Gol Paani was an integral part of the thali – Bohra food is typically high in calories and rich, and Gol Paani is served as a way to balance out all the richness. The dining service since closed down, but the memory of that Gol Paani lingered on.

The social media pages of The Bohra Bohra Thaal offer an authentic recipe for Gol Paani, and I adapted it to suit our requirements. It has been a part of our summer holiday treats for years now, along with my Home-Made Lemon Squash, Grape Squash, Kala Khatta Syrup, Nungu Sherbet, and Bonda Sherbet.

How to make Gol Paani

Making Gol Paani is an easy task, requiring but a few basic ingredients, as stated above. Here’s how to go about it.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

1. 1 teaspoon sabja (basil) seeds

2. 1 cup jaggery powder

3. 4 cups water or as needed

4. A handful of fresh mint leaves + a few more for garnishing

5. About 1/4 teaspoon black salt

6. Juice of 1 lemon or as needed

7. Ice cubes, as needed


Top left and right: Step 1, Bottom left: Step 2, Right second and third: Step 3

1. Take the sabja seeds in a small cup and add in a little water. Let them soak till the drink gets ready.

2. Meanwhile, take the jaggery powder in a large mixing bowl. Add in the water. Mix well till the jaggery is completely dissolved in the water.

3. Take a handful of mint leaves in a small mixer jar. Grind along with a little water. Add this to the jaggery water.

Top left and right: Steps 4 and 5, Right second and third: Step 6, Bottom left: Step 7

4. Add in the black salt.

5. Add in the lemon juice.

6. The sabja seeds would have bloomed by now. Add them to the jaggery water too. Mix well, making sure all the ingredients are well incorporated together. Your Gol Paani is ready.

7. Transfer the Gol Paani into serving glasses. Add in some ice cubes into each glass, as well as some torn mint leaves. Serve immediately.

Related event: Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge

I am sharing this recipe in connection with the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, a group of passionate food bloggers that I am part of.

The members of the Shhh Cooking Secretly Challenge showcase recipes based on a pre-decided theme, every month. The central idea of the group is fun and very interesting. The group members are divided into pairs. Each pair exchanges two ingredients secretly, unknown to the rest of the members. Every pair uses their two secret ingredients to make a dish that fits into the theme for the month. Upon completion, each pair shares a picture of the finished dish in the group, and the members try to guess what two secret ingredients were used in each dish.

For the month of March 2023, Sasmita of First Timer Cook suggested that we all make summer beverages, considering it is getting hotter by the day everywhere. Check out the beautiful summery Sabja Lemonade that Sasmita has made for the theme!

I was paired with the talented Sujata ji of Batter Up With Sujata for the month. I gave her the ingredients ‘chaat masala‘ and ‘grapes’, using which she prepared this sugar-free Grape Watermelon Refresher. Sujata ji assigned me the ingredients ‘jaggery’ and ‘lemon’, which fit right into this Gol Paani, one of my family’s favourite summer beverages.

Dietary guidelines

This recipe for Gol Paani is completely vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is also entirely gluten-free.

It is free of refined sugar, but does contain a good amount of jaggery. I’m no health expert, but I would suggest using discretion while serving this drink to diabetics and people who are on a weight loss journey.

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantity of water, jaggery powder and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.

2. I have used jaggery powder, which is easily available in several stores here in Bangalore. If you don’t have access to it, you can use regular jaggery blocks, crushed with a pestle.

3. Using jaggery that is lighter in colour will yield a beautiful-looking drink. I used dark brown-coloured country jaggery, which is why the drink is quite dark in colour. Irrespective of the colour of jaggery you use, I must say the drink does turn out fabulous – absolutely refreshing and delicious! For best results, use good-quality jaggery that is flavourful.

4. You may use regular salt in place of the black salt I have used here. However, the black salt does add a unique flavour and taste to the drink.

5. Make sure the jaggery is completely dissolved in the water, and all the other ingredients are well incorporated.

6. In my opinion, this drink is best prepared fresh and consumed soon after preparation.

7. If the jaggery you are using has impurities, make sure you strain the water after it has fully dissolved. Proceed to make the beverage only after the impurities are strained out.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!