I finally got some time this weekend to write a new post. Inspired by http://fxcuisine.com/Default.asp i decided to write a picture recipe of my favorite snack – Pani Puri. Most Indians love pani puri, a very famous type of chaat that is normally sold by street vendors all over India. It has many names throughout India – Puchka, Gol Gapaa…, but most commonly known as pani puri.
I will start with the ingredients for the – pani – literally water, but actually in this case spicy mint flavored water. I have normally seen street vendors compromise the quality on water and thereby screwing up the entire experience of eating pani puri. After having tasted my mom’s pani puri, i have always found it difficult to compromise for something less. So pay attention – this is the best pani that you can ever make.
For the seasoning you will need black salt, lemon ( 2 whole lemons), a small piece of ginger , few pods of garlic, 2 green chillies and pepper.
The main ingredients are fresh green mint leaves( 2 bunches) and a few sprigs of coriander.
This is how it looks in the process of grinding, ensure it has the consistency of a chutney.
Then add water and strain using a piece of cloth.
Add the juice of 2 lemons and refrigerate the pani and serve cool.
Next we move on to the sweet sauce – called as “sweetu” by street vendors in Bangalore. Street vendors normally allow customers to have a mix of pani & ‘sweetu’ to wash down the chaat they have just relished.
You will need dates ( pitted and chopped), jaggery – raw sugar, tamarind, jeera – cumin seeds, chilli powder and salt. Roast and pound the cumin seeds. It should be a coarse powder.
Boil the dates and tamarind for a while ( 10 minutes) and let it cool. This will make the tamarind soft. After that grind to a fine paste in a mixie( blender). Now add some water and rest of the ingredients ( cumin powder, chilli powder and salt), water and boil until it becomes a semi-thick paste.
This is how the sweet sauce looks like when done. It will have a sweet-tangy and a little spicy flavor.
Once the sauces are ready you can move on to the side dishes that you will need for pani puri. Normally we like boiled and mashed potatoes and boiled whole moong dal. You could also try chickpeas if you like.
To add more flavour you could saute the potatoes with a little oil, garam masala and coriander powder. You could do the same to the moong dhal.
You also need some fine chopped onions and coriander, doesnt the picture below look lovely!!
And of course the quintessential – puri’s you could buy this from a departmental store or a sweet shop. Normally they cost 20 rupees for a pack of 50.
Now its time to eat, break open the puri on the top ( just as you would break the top shell of a half boiled egg ), add a small layer of potatoes and moong dhal ( make the bottom of the puri waterproof :)), add some onions, sweet sauce and pour in the pani till the puri gets full.
Stuff the whole puri into your mouth, and bite till you feel the explosion of flavours – the spicy pani, the salty potatoes, the crispy puri & the sweet-tangy sweet sauce.. think Remy of ratatouille fame.