Taking Tiffin

‘Puchka’ in Kolkata, ‘pani puri’ in Mumbai and ‘gol gappe’ in Delhi; this delicious street food is known by different names across the country but the essence of the dish remains the same: crispy dough balls stuffed with potato or chickpeas, dipped in spicy but sweet and tangy sauce.

Ingredients for the pani:

1/2 cup tamarind pulp, 2 cups water, 2 tbsp roasted cumin seed powder, 2 tbsp un-roasted cumin seed, 1/2 cup coriander leaves, 3 green chillies, 1 cup mint leaves, 1 tbsp black salt, 2 tbsp crushed jaggery.

Ingredients for the stuffing:

2 medium boiled potatoes, 1/2 cup boiled dried yellow peas / small chickpeas, salt to taste.

Ingredients for the puri:

1 cup semolina, 3 tbsp fine wheat flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt, oil to deep fry.

To make the puri: Mix the semolina, flour, baking soda and salt in a wide mouth vessel. Now add warm water little by little to knead a stiff dough. Cover it with a damp muslin cloth and keep it aside for 30 mins. Now make small equal lemon sized balls of the dough. Do remember to keep them covered with a damp muslin cloth while making more balls. Now with the help of some dry maida flour, roll out thin rotis. Make them round with the help of a circular cookie cutter or lid of any container. Heat oil in a deep bottom pan and put 3 or 4 puris in the pan, frying them with the help of a slotted spoon. Make sure the oil is hot enough for frying. While frying, press them in the centre and allow and them to puff up. We want a pocket in each and every puri. Now flip them over and let them cook. Remove from the pan and place on a kitchen towel when they are light brown and crisp. Let them cool. Later store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

To make the pani: Grind the coriander, mint leaves and green chillies to make a fine paste in a hand blender. Mix all the ingredients of the pani along with the green paste. Dissolve the jaggery. Adjust the spices and tanginess according to taste. Strain through a wire strainer to remove any rough bits. Stir the pani before using to mix all the masalas. Keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 hours before serving.

To make the stuffing: In a bowl, mix the yellow peas, roughly mashed potatoes and salt, and keep aside.

To serve: Make a small hole in a puri by tapping slowly on the crisp side. Fill some stuffing in the centre along with some green chutney, tamarind chutney and some chilled pani prepared earlier.

Extract from the Chakra issue. Words by Anuj Kothari of No-Mad. Lead image by Alamy images. For more projects, visit

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