Make Rooh’s Avocado Bhel Tostada with tips from the chef

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San Francisco’s Rooh restaurant is all about vibrant, contemporary Indian cuisine and culture — and so is its sister restaurant, which opened in downtown Palo Alto last year. Of course, the dishes you enjoy at the swanky restaurants aren’t really doable on a busy weeknight at home, not without a kitchen staff, anyway. But chef de cuisine Pujan Sarkar is sharing an adapted appetizer that brings a bit of the adventurous, gastronomic fun home for all of us.

Bhel is a typical street food or chaat in Mumbai. It simply means “mix,” and its ingredients vary from region to region. Between the avocados and the recipe’s tostada concept, Sarkar’s version offers a great California-centric interpretation of the dish.

This vegetarian recipe calls for chickpeas, but if you want to bump up the protein further, Sarkar says, “We can add sushi-grade ahi tuna cubes or smoked trout to this dish and make it more interesting for pescatarians.”

At Rooh, they use fresh chickpeas in this dish, shelling them and blanching them for two or three minutes to retain their bright green color. But canned chickpeas are perfectly fine for home use. A sprinkling of puffed or popped quinoa, rice or other grains adds a crunchy garnish to the dish.

“We use homemade wild California puffed black rice at Rooh Palo Alto,” Sarkar says.

Avocado Bhel Tostada

Serves 4


6 ounces diced avocado

6 ounces cooked chickpeas

4 ounces diced, cooked and peeled potato

4 ounces diced green apple

4 ounces peeled, chopped blood orange (or regular orange)

1 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon finely chopped red onion

½ teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño

2 teaspoons chaat masala powder (available at Indian and Asian markets)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

4 tostada shells or fried corn tortillas

1 teaspoon togarashi spice blend

Puffed quinoa, optional


In a large bowl, gently mix the avocado, chickpeas, potato, apple, orange, cilantro, onion, jalapeño, chaat masala and salt. Add the fresh lemon and toss well.

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