Isn't it awesome when you think you're indulging in a mid morning snack, except the snack just happens to be really healthy? Today's recipe is a salad that's under the guise of a snack. We have a huge variety of street cart foods in India and most of them are vegan. Masala Mandakki aka Churmuri happens to be one of them.
It's a salad made of some basic fresh veggies and Masalas (spices) tossed together with Mandakki (puffed rice). Since the puffed rice plays a key role in the dish, it's called Masala/Masalé Mandakki. It's very common to find it being sold on food carts outside schools, in public parks or even on streets with a lot of pedestrian traffic. The food cart guy tosses it together in a big steel mixing bowl right in front of you. It's usually served in a sheet of newspaper that's been rolled up into a cone and lined with a banana leaf to protect the food (at least most of it) from touching the paper directly. Masala Mandakki has to be eaten as soon as it's made because if left to sit around, the puffed rice gets soggy.
Masala Mandakki carts are more common in South India, especially in our state of Karnataka, than they are elsewhere. They are different from Chaat carts which sell things like Bhel Puri, Masala Puri, Paani Puri, Samosa Chaat etc...
Firstly there is no cooking or heating done on the Masala Mandakki carts. Secondly, each dish has a higher quantity of fresh vegetables (carrot, onion, tomato, cilantro..). Thirdly, the number of deep fried elements involved is lower.
I wanted to go out today and grab some pictures of my favourite Masala Mandakki cart but I wasn't able to get out because I've been feeling kind of zombie-fied all day. Maybe at some point in the future I'll do a special blog post about them and all the other goodies that they make, like Tikki Puri, Tomato Masala, Nippat Masala, Mango-Pineapple Masala etc...
For now, I thought I'd share the recipe for the version I make at home whenever I don't feel like going out. I hadn't planned on this being today's MoFo post but late this morning I had a craving for Masala Mandakki and the moment I made it, I realized it goes with this week's theme and since it's one of my favourite salads to begin with, it just made total sense to make it my recipe for today.
Masala Mandakki aka Masalé Mandakki aka Churmuri
Note: If you can't get your hands on puffed rice, then you can use any rice crispies style cereal, in which case, eliminate the sugar from the recipe.
1 C Puffed Rice
1 Tomato - chopped
1 Onion - chopped fine
1 Carrot - grated
1 T Fresh Cilantro - chopped
2 Green Chillies - crushed
1/8 tsp Sugar
1/8 tsp Sambar Powder or Red Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Tamarind Paste
In a big bowl mix everything, except the puffed rice (use your hand and fingers to mix for best results).
Add the puffed rice and mix quickly.