If there’s one street food snack that nearly everyone in Kolkata loves and eats regularly, it would have to be jhal muri. It’s a snack food, not a small meal, but more just a flavorful snack to munch on while walking around or while sitting traffic or just while hanging out and enjoying life.
But what is jhal muri, this famous Bengali snack? There are many different mixtures of the snack, but in Kolkata, the main version first begins with puffed rice – similar to rice krispies. A handful of puff rice is first tossed into a metal tin along with some fried nuts and maybe some toasted chickpeas – these are all dry ingredients. The vendor then adds fresh coriander, chopped up red onions, chillies (up to you if you would like it spicy or not), spices, and finally a squirt of Bengali famous mustard oil. All the ingredients are then stirred up using a stick until everything is even and then the contents are normally added to a newspaper cup and ready to be served.
During this video, it was my very first time to eat jhal muri, and I quite liked it. It’s not a snack I would eat on a frequent basis, as there’s not much to it, but it would be good every now and then, especially while sitting on a bus or something like that. What I really liked about jhal muri is mixing dry ingredients with fresh ingredients. It’s sort of like taking a bag of chips (crisps) and added fresh onions and spices and chillies to the bag. Makes for a nice little contrast of both textures and flavors and really spices things up.
Jhal muri is available all over the streets in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and you’ll specifically notice a vender selling it when you see a huge bag full of puffed rice sitting on the side of his cart or stall. You’ll know right away that you can order a cone full of jhal muri from him! In the video, I ate this bag of jhal muri right outside the Kolkata National Museum, very near the entrance of Sudder street, but you’ll find the snack all over the city if you look.
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