Best Of Bengali- Puchka (Pani Puri)

The fact that this popular Indian snack goes by three monikers (that I know of) is a testament to how deliciously moresome they are- everyone wants to claim it as their own! Whether you know it as pani puri, puchka or golgappa, the essentials remain the same: fried hollow crisps filled with spiced potatoes and chickpeas expertly drizzled (or, if you're me, drowned) in a tangy tamarind juice. Someone pointed out to me that nobody really has puchka at home. Clearly they forgot who they were talking to! It's the perfect thing to accompany lazy weekends and Bollywood movie nights.

Ingredients for the paani (tamarind juice)

  • Crisp puris, readily available from large Indian grocery stores. If you live in London, Green Street and Ilford Lane are a safe bet.
  • 3-4 heaped tablespoons of tamarind paste, available in Sainsbury "world food" aisles
  • Small bunch of coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp mint sauce. Chopped fresh mint leaves works fine too. 
  • 1-2 green chillis (deseed if you don't like heat)
  • 1 tsp chaat masala powder. I sometimes skip this as I prefer the taste of tamarind
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder

Ingredients for the filling

  • 1 large potato, boiled and cut into small cubes or mashed
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 can boiled chickpeas, washed and drained
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt, to taste

1) In a blender, pour in all the pani ingredients to make a runny watery sauce. Adjust seasoning as necessary and set aside.

2) Take the boiled potato, chickpeas and onion and season to your taste.

3) To compile a puchka, crack the top of a puri crisp to create a hollow for the filling and then pour the paani on top. The only thing left to do after that is enjoy as many as your heart desires!