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Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas, Bhel Puri Style

Serves 8

© by Joseph De Leo

Inspired by a craving for Bhel Puri, my favorite Indian street food, I decided to make a salad with some of its key components: tamarind dressing, onion, mint, and cilantro—and, of course, Bhel mix.


  • Sweet Potatoes 2 1⁄4 lbs, scrubbed and cut into 1”pieces
  • Flavorless Vegetable Oil 3Tbs
  • Kosher Salt
  • Shredded Unsweetened Coconut 1 cup

Tamarind Dressing

  • Dijon Mustard 1 Tbs
  • Rice Vinegar 3 Tbs
  • Tamarind Concentrate 1⁄2 cup
  • Flavorless Vegetable Oil 1⁄2 cup
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cooked or Canned Chickpeas 2 cups, drained
  • Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves 1⁄4 cup
  • Small Fresh Cilantro Sprigs 1⁄4 cup
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Bhel Mix or other Indian Snack Mix 3⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbs
  • Lime Wedges
  • Fresh Green Chutney (recipe follows)

Cook It

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss the sweet potatoes with the oil and spread out on a sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt and roast for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until nicely browned outside and tender inside.
  3. Spread the coconut out on a second sheet pan and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and lightly coloured, stirring halfway through. Set aside.
  4. Make the dressing: Put the mustard, rice vinegar, and tamarind liquid in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender and pulse to combine. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil. The mixture will be creamy. Add salt to taste.
  5. Transfer the sweet potatoes to a serving bowl and toss with the chickpeas, herbs, and dressing. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature. Just before serving, add the coconut and ¾ cup of the Bhel mix to the sweet potatoes and toss to combine. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Bhel mix and serve with lime wedges and the chutney.

Fresh Green Chutney

  • Chopped White or Yellow Onion 3⁄4 cup
  • Finely Chopped Fresh Mint Leaves 1⁄4 cup
  • Finely Chopped Fresh Cilantro Leaves 1⁄4 cup
  • Minced Jalapeño Pepper 1 Tbs
  • Juice of 1 Lime or Lemon
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

Cook It

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve (best eaten the same day).
Excerpted from Saladish by Ilene Rosen (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Joseph De Leo. Used with permission from the publisher.