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Recipes

Asha's Pani Puri, Two Ways

Recipe by: Asha Loupy

Serves: 8 to 10

Asha's Pani Puri, Two Ways
Photo by:  

Melati Citrawireja

Pani puri — also known as pachka, gol gappe, paani ke patashe, and golgappa among many other names, depending on the region — is a beloved street food snack across India and the South Asian diaspora. The fillings can vary from region to region — they can be as simple as lightly spiced boiled potatoes or sprouted moong, but can also be mixed with gram or other legumes. This recipe highlights two fillings, one more classic filling and one that's more off-the-cuff. The first is a mix of boiled Yukon gold potatoes and cooked chickpeas seasoned with chaat masala, cumin, and ground chillies. The latter is a sweet, tangy, and subtly spicy mix of diced mangoes, avocado, red onion, mint, and cilantro dressed with a little lime juice, chaat masala, and smoky chilli powder. Both pair great with the sour, herbal, cilantro-mint pani.

Cook's note: This recipe makes about 72 puri. If you are cooking for a smaller crowd, the recipe can easily be halved.

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Ingredients

For the puri
  • 2 cups atta (fine whole wheat) flour
  • 1 tablespoon semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon Surya Salt
  • 2 teaspoons neutral oil, such as canola or rapeseed, plus more for frying
For the pani
  • 1 cup cilantro, tender leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup roughly chopped mint leaves
  • 2 Indian long or serrano chillies, roughly chopped
  • Juice of 1 to 2 lemons (¼ cup total)
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate, plus more
  • 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
  • ¼ teaspoon Makhir Ginger, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black salt, plus more to taste (optional)
  • 1½ teaspoons Surya Salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups cold water
  • Madhur Jaggery, to taste
For the potato-chickpea filling
  • 2 to 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes (about 8 ounces), boiled and peeled
  • 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained well
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • 1½ teaspoons Chaat Masala, plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Jodhana Cumin, toasted and coarsely ground
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon powdered Kashmiri Chillies
  • Surya Salt, to taste
For the mango-avocado filling
  • 1 medium ripe mango, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium avocado, diced
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala, plus more to taste
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon powdered Sirārakhong Hāthei Chillies
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
  • Surya Salt, to taste
  • Madhur Jaggery, to taste (optional)
For assembly & garnish
  • Nylon sev
  • Boondi

Methods

To make the puri
  1. To make the dough, combine the flour, semolina, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the canola oil and, using your fingers, rub the oil into the dry ingredients. Add 1/3 cup water and gently bring the dough together. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon at a time until it comes together. You want the dough to be pretty stiff like papdi dough, not soft like chapati or roti dough. Turn out onto a clean surface and knead it a few times until it forms a ball, about 30 seconds. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 3 pieces and cover 2 of the pieces with plastic wrap. Roll the remaining piece of dough out into a very thin round about 7-inches wide or 2 millimeters thick. Cut as many rounds as possible out of the dough with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet in a single layer, reserving the scraps.
  3. Repeat rolling and cutting out the remaining 2 pieces of dough. Combine and press the scraps into a single piece of dough and let rest for a few minutes, then repeat the rolling and cutting process once more. 
  4. Heat the 1" canola oil in a Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat to 375°F. Meanwhile, fit a wire rack onto a second baking sheet or line the baking sheet with paper towels.
  5. Fry 4 to 6 dough rounds per batch: Gently drop into the hot oil and fry, flipping halfway through, until golden-brown, 90 seconds to 2 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon or mesh spider, transfer the puri to the rack-lined baking sheet.
To make the pani
  1. Combine cilantro, mint, green chillies, lemon juice, tamarind concentrate, chaat masala, ginger, black salt, if using, salt, and 1/4 cup water in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Add the remaining water and blend on low speed to mix. Taste and adjust seasonings, like chaat masala and salt. If it is a little too spicy, you can add a small spoonful of jaggery to balance everything out. If you want a smooth pani, you can strain through a fine mesh strainer.
To make the potato-chickpea filling
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt, to taste.
To make the mango-avocado filling
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and season with salt, to taste. If the mango isn't sweet enough, you can add a spoonful of jaggery, to taste.
Assembly
  1. Arrange a bowl of the puri, a bowl of the pani with a handful of boondi added, the fillings, and the sev on the table. To assemble, take one puri and tap the top to break a small hole in the center. Spoon the filling of your choice in the middle, garnish with a sprinkle of sev, dip in the pani, and pop directly into your mouth!

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