Water Balls [Pani Puri]

A sticky situation.

I had invited a colleague over for dinner two weeks ago. Lo and behold, it ended up being a scorching day — 47C! That’s far too hot to cook in my third floor apartment, which feels even hotter than outside.

How to get around this?

Pani puri.

Pani puri is an Indian street food.

It’s also referred to as golgappa. The name means “water balls”.

They’re cooling and a great way to beat the heat.

You can buy pani puri shells at Indian grocery stores, or deep-fry your own.

Pani Puri

For the water:

2 golf-ball sized chunks of tamarind pulp
2 cups boiling water
2 tbsp toasted cumin seed powder
1 tbsp coriander seed powder
1/4 tsp black salt
1/2 tsp aamchur powder
1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
1 green chili
juice of 1/2 a lime
sugar, to taste (I use gur, or Indian raw sugar)
salt, to taste

Pour boiling water over tamarind pulp. Stir. Let stand 30 minutes. Squeeze tamarind pulp to release all of the flavour into the water. Strain and reserve liquid.

Put the tamarind water and all of the other ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Adjust seasoning. The mixture should taste sweet and sour.

Chill the mixture.

For the assembly:

1 box puris (the shells)
1 potato, boiled, cooled and diced small
1 tomato, diced small
1/4 onion, diced small
3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
plain yogurt
cilantro leaves, picked
mint leaves, torn

Gently break holes in the tops of the puris.

Fill a puri with a bit of each of the above ingredients.

Using a spoon, pour pani puri water into the shell.

Put the whole thing in your mouth and chomp down.

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6 thoughts on “Water Balls [Pani Puri]

    • I like a strong tamarind water. Many recipes use too much plain water for my taste. Also, one green chili is enough, no? Thanks for reading!

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