THONGA JHAL MURI (INDIAN STREET FOOD – SAVOURY PUFFED RICE IN PAPER CONES)

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Jhal Muri is a popular street food in West Bengal, an eastern state of India. It is a great snack food – light, healthy and quick to fix and bursting with flavoursspicy, tangy, crispy, crunchy & punchy. Jhal Muri is to a Bengali what Bhel Puri is to a Mumbaikar; only that the seasonings differ. 


Now, that I have introduced you to the dish, here is a detailed ‘break up’ on the dish. Thonga means the paper cone, in which this dish is handed out by the street vendor, Jhal in Bangla means ‘spicy’ and Muri is of course the puffed rice. Puffed rice is known by many other names such as phuliyan (in Punjabi) which translates into ‘puffed ones’ and a few other names are- murmure, kurmura, chirmure, etc.

This snack food is meant to be spicy and traditionally demands the use of green chillies only which lend it the heat or the ‘jhal’. The addition of a dash of lemon makes it tangy and the sprouted mung dal & Bengal grams along with roasted peanuts add the crunchiness to the crispy puffed rice. I had used the word punchy in my introduction of the dish coz this dish is incomplete without a drizzle of mustard oil which gives it a punch or some would say pungent flavour and is the soul of this dish.

There is no such thing as ‘recipe’ about this dish. Play around with the amount of ingredients along with the Muri. The only negative feature about this dish is perhaps the fact that you need to eat it as soon as you assemble it otherwise, the lemon juice, the oil and onion will make the puffed rice soggy. I have seen people using tomato in their Jhal Muri but I would advice against it coz it will make the puffed rice become soggy even faster!


The amount of ingredients mentioned here is what my family and I enjoy in our Jhal Muri. Please adjust them to suit your taste; spicier or milder – take your call J

2 cups puffed rice
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp heaped onion
½ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp black salt
3-4 crushed papdi (savoury fried crisps) – optional
1 medium sized potato (diced) – I did not add it coz my family does not like its addition to their Muri
1½ tbsp roasted peanuts
2 tbsp mung dal & Bengal grams – (I didn’t wait for them to sprout)
1 green chilli (finely chopped) – mine was very hot so I used less
1 tsp scant Chaat Masala (which is available in Indian grocery stores)
A handful of Sev (use any type that fancies you- available in Indian grocery stores)
A handful of Green coriander, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp Mustard oil

For Garnish:
Juliennes of fresh coconut (optional)
Juliennes of green mango (optional)


Mix together all the ingredients except the lemon juice and mustard oil. Adjust these flavours. Garnish with coconut and mango juliennes (I am not very fond of very sour foods so I avoid the raw green mango) and serve immediately…my favourite is ASAP. Enjoy!

Serves- 4
Note: Mustard oil can be substituted with sour pickle oil. In that case you need to be careful with the amount lemon juice. 

Thanks for visiting and hoping to seeing you again!


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38 Comments

  1. Wow, this looks like a fantastic snack!! I really like the photo with all the food and labels… great idea. 🙂 I wanted to mention that you have an award at my blog dated 11-22 (Cranberry Chutney post). 🙂

  2. I adore street food, and this looks like it makes for great snacking. I love that there is puffed rice in the ingredients – I imagine it makes for an interesting texture.

  3. oh love your ingredients photo with the shadow casting over it.
    I’m so excited.. I’ve seen on videos of how the rice is puffed by quickly stirring with high heated sand in a cooking wok. I want to try to do this at home, but can’t seem to find sand.. do you know how to puff rice at home, besides deep frying them?

  4. My ultra-popular recipe is different –
    (1) Avoid moist ingredients. Coarsely chopped onions must be patted dry.
    (2) Very lightly coat puffed rice with mustard oil.
    (3) Toss everything else together, then
    (4) Smoothly fold into the puffed rice; its oil coating will protect the crispiness.
    (5) Serve at once. Bad, boiled tea goes well with this salad.

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  6. Hey this brought back great memories from my childhood in Kolkata. The smell of that mustard oil … !
    And yes, I’d go along with all your tips – no tomatoes, no potatoes, literally just everything on your BEAUTIFUL deconstruction photo.
    Don’t know why I never thought to make this before, off to buy the moori now, THANK YOU!

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