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A photo of Bibi's bhel
Photograph: Jess Hand

Hype Dish: Bibi’s mouth-tinglingly good nashpati bhel

Chet Sharma, chef-patron at Bibi, shares the secret to this spice-packed dish

Chiara Wilkinson
Written by
Chiara Wilkinson

Snap. Crackle. Pop. That’s the sort of thing that goes on in your mouth as you tuck into the nashpati bhel at Mayfair Indian restaurant Bibi. With its crunchy puffed rice, sharp chilli and numbing icy pear granita, this creative take on bhel, a classic Indian snack, is an explosion of flavours and textures. ‘Our food is very nostalgic,’ says chef-patron Chet Sharma. ‘It’s about bringing flavours reminiscent of India, with a playful twist.’ He explains how the popular dish comes together.  

The garnish

‘We dress the dish with a mint-and-coriander chutney, a tamarind-and-date chutney and spearmint. We use the tiny micro tips of the mint – less bitter than the rest of the leaf.’

The pear

‘We compress nashi pear in jal jeera, a juice made with black salt and cumin, and add it to the grain mixture. We mix the leftover liquid with ice to make a pear granita.’ 

The grains

‘There are chickpea-flour puff balls, oats, millet, puffed lentils and nuts. We cook the grains and hydrate the starches, then fry them in oil so they quadruple in size.’

The spices

‘We make our own chaat masala with more than 15 spices: three types of cumin, dried mango powder, black salt, coriander seeds, yellow chilli powder and more.’

The ice

‘As a young boy, I ate this dish in Mumbai. I found it too spicy, so I’d crunch on ice. I thought: Why not use ice in Bibi’s version? We add ice shavings on top, like snow.’

42 North Audley St. £12.

Read Time Out London’s restaurant of Bibi here.

Discover more of London’s Hype Dishes here.

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