I love chaats (a common spicy, tangy street food of India) smothered or topped with fresh, green, spicy coriander-mint and tangy, sweet date-tamarind chutneys; showered with sev (fine, fried besan or gram or chickpea flour noodles) and sprinkled with finely chopped red onions and spice powders like chaat masala, roasted jeera (cumin) powder and chilli powders!!!
Pani puri is one such chaat. Puffed, crisp, deep fried puris (fried flour and semolina breads) are filled with spiced potatoes, sprouts etc., served with tangy date and tamarind chutney (khajur-imli chutney) and dunked in a spicy water called “pani” (water in Hindi), which has coriander leaves, mint leaves and some spices, before popping them whole in your mouth!! They are called “gol guppas” in Delhi and “puchkas” in West Bengal.
Making them at home involves a lot of preparation; making the chutneys and either making the sev and puris or you can buy them in any grocery store or supermarket. So, many prefer to eat them at roadside stalls or at restaurants. I have always relished the homemade ones, especially the chutneys; you can prepare these to your taste and making them at home assures you of the quality of water used in the chutneys!!
Today, I have used store-bought puris, sev and boondis (deep fried balls of besan), which saves a lot of time. If you prefer, you can make your own.
Tamarind-date chutney goes well as a dip with samosas, kachoris, ragda-patties or any other chaat item.
Also sending this to event + Giveaway Monsoon Mojo 2 .
- 25 to 30 puris
- 2 to 3 tablespoons of tamarind paste (depending upon how sour your tamarind paste is) or ½ cup of tamarind
- 10 to 12 dates, deseeded
- ½ cup to 1 cup jaggery (unrefined sugar)
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin or jeera powder
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon or to taste kala namak or black salt
- 1 big or 2 medium potatoes, boiled, peeled and crumbled
- ¼ cup finely chopped red onions
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala powder
- Salt to taste or you can add kala namak (black salt)
- 1 cup chopped coriander leaves
- ¼ cup chopped mint leaves
- 1 green chilli or jalapeno, chopped
- ½ inch ginger, chopped
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- ½ teaspoon roasted cumin powder
- Salt to taste or black salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Deseed the dates and boil in a little water for about 5 minutes. Cool and blend to a paste and if there are fibers, strain.
- If using fresh tamarind, soak in hot water for about an hour, mash well and strain the tamarind water through a sieve. Keep adding water to the pulp and straining out the tamarind water till the water becomes nearly clear.
- Mix the tamarind paste or the tamarind water, dates paste, and jaggery (1/2 cup to 1 cup, depending upon how much sweet you prefer; so add ½ cup first and then keep adding more) and add water (about 1 cup), if you are using only tamarind paste, in a saucepan. Mix well and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer till you get the desired thickness, about 10 minutes or so. Adjust the jaggery to your preference.
- Add the kala namak and jeera powder according to your taste.
- In a blender or mixie, blend the coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies, and ginger with some water to a fine paste.
- Transfer the paste to a bowl. Add the salt, lemon juice, cumin powder, chaat masala and water (about 1 to 2 cups, depending upon how much dilute you want them). Adjust the spice powders and salt to suit your taste. Keep in the refrigerator to chill.
- In a bowl, mix the potatoes, onions, chilli powder, chaat masala, cumin powder and salt lightly.
- Keep aside.
- Take the puris and crack the top lightly to make an opening.
- Add about 1 teaspoon of the potato filling in the puri, top with half a teaspoon of the tamarind chutney, sprinkle some boondis and sev over it, spoon the pani (the required amount you prefer) over this and immediately serve it or they will turn soggy!!
- You can fill all the required puris with the potato first and then individually fill the rest to enjoy crisp pani puris!!
- Another method is to dunk the filled puris in the coriander-mint pani completely (with a spoon; some people relish it by dunking it with their hands) and immediately pop it in your mouth.
- Enjoy this amazing and unique street food in the comforts of your home anytime now!!!
The filling can be varied. You can use sprouts, cooked garbanzo beans (chana) etc.
Adjust the chillies and other spices according to your taste.
The tamarind-date chutney (or khajur-imli chutney can be used to serve with other snacks like samosas, kachoris or any other chaat item).