It was a chance meeting with Bengali snack Jhal Muri that hooked British chef Angus Denoon on a trip to India. Today, he’s made the dish famous on the streets of London, and Jhal Muri has returned the favour. Smitten by the fuss-free snack, Denoon’s put up a little desi-style stall titled ‘THE EVERYBODY LOVE JHAL MURI EXPRESS’ on London’s Portobelle Road.
How was he introduced to the dish?Speaking to Street Food Kolkata, he’d revealed how it all started: “When I first came back from filming in Kolkata on the street food a production company wanted to do a pilot for some cooking show and they asked me to make a dish from Kolkata at Totnes market in south Devon. The only dish that I felt confident to cook was jhal muri because there is no cooking. I assembled the basics from a trip to Southall along with some stainless steel pots, made a couple of masala mixes and set off to market”Here he is, described by London-based food writer Zoe Perrett: Angus might be an Africa-born, British bloke; but, as many delighted customers insist, his heart is Indian. As are his tools, and the gloriously gaudy signs he commissions from his Bengal-based signwriter. All that would count for little were his food not also authentic.
His chaat captures the streetfood spirit; freestyling, applying andaz, ever-evolving. Signature jhal muri is shaken into newspaper cones, puchkas are piled onto palm leaf plates, deep cups of ghughi dal feature a layer of crispy muri, chewy coconut chunks and a thick thatch of sev.And everybody here does love it, so much so that the chef has created his own variations of the snack. Inspired by ‘chatpata’ success, he’s now serving ghooghni chat, gupchup, dhokla and even lassi.