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The ultimate Diwali Bhel

It’s Diwali, the festival of light, of starting afresh, of inviting light and happiness into our lives. I cooked up a small feast for my first Diwali event last night, at the beautiful home of Anita Kaushal, founder of Mauli Rituals – there was a small puja, we lit candles, sung kirtans with the brilliant Radhika Dasa, tied jasmine flowers around each others’ wrists and ended the evening with a beautiful aarti followed by chai and mithai.

I wanted to share the recipe for the showstopper bhel salad… so simple, oozing with flavour and chutneys, and just delicious! I’ll be making this again for our family Diwali party on the weekend, alongside my mother’s outstanding pau bhaji, a table filled with snacks including the famous chakri and lots more… watch my instastories for updatesJ

The original recipe for this bhel is on page75 of my first book Saffron Soul but I’ve just added various elements to it, and you can do it with or without a lot of the ingredients below! As always, swapping and editing is great for those creative juices.

Quinoa, kale & sweet potato bhel with watermelon

  • 1 cup quinoa, boil in roughly double the quantity of water
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, chopped in small cubes, boiled until a little soft (around 10-15 minutes)
  • handful kale leaves, finely chopped (or use spinach)
  • 1-2 red onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • few tablespoons roasted red pepper chutney
  • few tablespoons coriander cashew chutney
  • few tablespoon imli (date and tamarind) chutney
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • 1 bowl of mamra, puffed rice and/ or sev*
  • ¼ watermelon, chopped or 2 apples, chopped in cubes

*if you don’t have this, use wholesome crushed nachos e.g. I quite like the Riceworks brand. Mamra, sev or nachos is to add the ever-important crunch to the bhel!


Red pepper chutney

  • 2 red peppers, roughly chop, then roast in oven or sauté in pan
  • Blend the red peppers with
  • handful cashews (preferably soaked)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ glass of water (just enough to blend)

Coriander cashew chutney

  • small bunch coriander leaves (with stalks)
  • ½ bowl cashews (preferably soaked for 1 hour or overnight)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
  • few tablespoons or ½ glass water, just enough to blend

Imli chutney: this can be quite the process to make at home – the recipe for this is on page148 of Saffron Soul, but it’s quite easy to find this chutney in supermarkets or online. If it is very thick, then just water down as you should be able to drizzle this chutney.

When ready to serve and eat, mix together all the bhel ingredients with a few tablespoons of each of the chutneys, add salt to taste, add a little more chutney if needed, and serve with garnishings of coriander leaves or crunchy sev.

Lots of layering, lots of colour and lots of texture!

Happy Diwali to you all xx

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