Call it by any name .... everybody loves it.
India's most loved street food ... the panipuri needs no introduction. No matter which part of the country you belong to .... you will have to be somebody reaaaally different not to love this thing.
I believe there isn't one person , Bengali or otherwise, whose childhood memories do not hold a place for the Phuchka.
Known as the Pani puri in the west, Phuchka or Gup chup in the east and Pani ke Batashe in the north, our country has this street food ranking the highest in popularity.
Back home, nobody made phuchkas like Panchu does.
This guy would stand outside our junior college from morning till late afternoon .... almost always surrounded by a bunch of giggling and jostling girls .... each one shouting out her preference through mouthfuls .... all demanding at the same time to make it a little more spicy / mild / more water etc. etc.
And my visits home were never complete till I have had Panchu's phuchkas at least a couple of times ... accompanied by a bemused B.
For that matter I have a hobby .... I always try out phuchkas at any new place I visit. :-)
For the simple reason that I do not like the taste here.
And I hate mint.
So the pudina flavoured water is a big no no.
I miss that tangy freshness of tamarind , spiked with a good dose of black salt and chilli powder and other spices, in the water.
Here, the water is too plain. And the bland, half heartedly mashed potatoes with just a pinch of salt is a far cry from the beautifully smooth mash of potatoes and green chillies and other spices.
One piece in the mouth and it is enough to turn you off from Phuchkas for a long time.
So I settled on making them at home. Most times, I would buy a packet of the puris and make the potato filling and the water myself.But not this time.
I had been wanting to make the puris at home for sometime ... but somehow never got around to do it.
Finally did try my hand at them last weekend .... and found it surprisingly easy and not at all time taking.
I prefer to mashing the potatoes to cutting them .... this version soaks up the flavours better.
Chopped fresh coriander leaves give a beautiful flavour too .... but since I am raw leafy vegetables intolerant ... you won't find any in my recipe.
Do add them to get that perfect taste of phuchkas.
For the puris :
Fine sooji/rawa - 1 cup
Maida / APF - 5 tbsp
Rice flour - 5 tbsp
Cooking oil - 4 tbsp
Water - just enough to make a tough dough
* If you use more maida your puris will fall flat.
For the filling :
Boiled potatoes - 2, medium
Boiled white peas - 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium, chopped
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Roasted jeera/cumin powder - 1 tbsp
Rock salt - to taste
Amchur powder - 1 tsp
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
Green chillies , chopped or paste - 1 tsp
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped
For the water :
Tamarind water - (soaked the tamarind in water and strain it )
Rock salt - to taste
Red chilli powder
Black pepper powder
Roasted jeera/cumin powder
Fresh coriander leaves - chopped (optional)
How to :
The puris :
Knead everything into a tough dough.
Take a medium sized ball from the dough and roll out a roti as thin as possible.
With a very small round cookie cutter cut out small puris.
Heat oil and deep fry the puris till golden brown on both sides.
The filling :
Mash the potatoes with everything else.
The water :
Add enough water to the strained tamarind pulp.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
How to arrange :
Do I need explain this too? ;-)
Ok ... take a puri and carefully make a small hole in the centre.
Stuff in some filling.
Dip into the water and immediately put it into your mouth.
Enjoy the burst of spicy and sour water with the crispiness of the puri and the softness of the filling .... all in one mouthful. :-)