Today(in Canada), our dear friend invited us into his home to try out a snack common in India. We had never heard of it before: pani-puri. Pani means water, and puri is like a deep fried hollow dough puff, tastes like a pork puff. So…a water puff? Tastes better than that sounds.
We both loved them and we each had several. Our friend said he likes snacking on these more than samosas, and I for sure agree, I like pani-puri better.
To make pani-puri you are better off buying the puri “puffs” first. They come with a spice mixture to mix with water. They can be found at an Asian or Indian food market. If you want to go all out and make them yourself, there are good online recipe tutorials.
Then you need:
Tamarind sauce (imli)
Water with spices
Here’s how it works: poke a hole in the top of the puri with your finger. Add some tamarind sauce, chickpeas, and potato (the potato should be cooked and in pieces that can fit through the hole). Then pour the water mixture into it and watch until you fill it up. It stays inside! Then…you put it in your mouth! Crunchy, tangy, and savory; yum yum.
The water mixture is a little different, in Western culture we are not accustomed to drinking something with salt in it too often. But this is great. Our friend added in with the mixture fresh mint, salt and pepper (which is a must) and mango powder.
If you’re adventurous, try it out! If you get the pani-puri “puffs” and mix(for the water), you’re set. The only other ingredient that may be a challenge is finding tamarinds to make sauce, or a tamarind sauce itself(some places don’t use tamarind in the pani puri though). But it adds the tanginess to it, for me it was one of the best parts!
UPDATE: Now living in Nepal, there are stands everywhere selling pani puri. We have been afraid before to eat it because of the quality of the water, but no pain, no gain…