Friday, June 10, 2011

Pani Puri

Pani puri, also called gol gappa, phuchka, and gup chup, is a popular Indian street snack. Consisting of a crisp-fried, hollow bread (puri) filled with a mixture of potatoes, mung beans, chick peas, or all of the above and topped with a sweet/sour date chutney, the treat is finally dunked into a tangy mint-flavored water before being eaten in one bite.

While it seems rather too-involved and maybe more than a bit weird, I can attest that the combination of textures, flavors, and temperatures is absolutely delicious. It's one of those snacky foods that you eat one or five of and think, "just one more," before eating another dozen and suddenly being really really full.

They're easy to make at home, if a bit involved. I found a bag of ready-made puris at an Indian grocery store, so the real messy work was done for me. All I had to do was find a recipe for the filling and the water. Seems easy, but there are dozens of recipes on the 'net, all of which are different. So I cobbled together what I thought were the more interesting aspects of several recipes and came up with my own. Apart from the reduction in the heat level, the result is pretty authentic, I think.

Break a hole in the puri with a spoon or your finger.
Add some potatoes and some date tamarind chutney
Dunk the filled puri into the pani.
Pani Puri

1 package ready-made puri

Date and Tamarind Chutney
10 pitted dates, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1/4 cold water
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and purée. Keep refrigerated in a covered container until ready to use.

1/2 cup finely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno chile, deseeded and minced
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 cups water

Mix all ingredients except water into a paste. Stir in water. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Potato filling 
canola oil
4 medium sized potatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat oil in a large saute pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat until starting to brown. Stir in potatoes and turn down heat. Cook for 15-20 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked through. If potatoes seem to be sticking to the pan, add a couple tablespoons of water. When potatoes are done, stir in chili powder and salt to taste.

To eat:

Place the pani in a deep bowl. Poke a hole in a puri. Add a spoonful of hot potatoes and a small dollop of the chutney. Using a spoon or your fingers, quickly submerge the filled puri in the pani so some of the juice leaks into the opening at the top. Remove and eat in one bite. Repeat.

Makes lots.

Posted by theminx on

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