Pani puris are a great snack, served as chaat and found on roadside food carts all over India and it also has its place in the Food Courts in all the Shopping Malls in Chennai. They are served filled with spicy water, chickpeas and potatoes. Pani Puri often reminds us of the young age and now as people are turning health conscious, we prefer to make them at home.
The first requirement for a pani-puri session is good puris: perfectly crispy and intact balls. Although I have a recipe for making these at home, its easier to just buy the puris and then take it from there. The puris do have a long shelf-life in the store, but that often means that when you bring them home, they are not quite crispy. So here is a tip for freshening puris:
Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the puris on a baking sheet, not touching each other. Bake the puris for 5-7 minutes (they will sizzle slightly). Cool for 5 minutes, and voila, you have fresh-tasting, crisp puris. I have given the detailed recipe of this below.
Those who are time conscious can buy the readymade pani poori masala and mix it with water to make the Spicy water. For others, here is the detailed recipe.
Pani (Spicy Water):
- 1 cup mint leaves (Pudina)
- 2 to 4 green chilies (adjust to taste)
- 3 tablespoons tamarind paste (Imli)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon black salt
- 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/8 teaspoon asafetida (Hing)
- 1 tablespoon roasted cumin seed powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar (adjust to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups water (adjust to taste)
1/4 cup All Purpose flour (Maida or Plain Flour)
3/4 cup fine Sooji (Semolina Flour)
1/2 cup water (as needed)
Pani (Spicy Water) –
Blend everything except the water together to make a fine paste. While blending, add water as needed to blend. Taste to adjust the green chilies as they can be mild or hot. Add more lemon juice, sugar, and salt as needed to your desired taste. Remember you will be adding more water to dilute so paste should be spicier. Strain the paste using water as needed. After straining mix the paste with remaining water or adjusting to the taste. The pani (water) will taste best if refrigerated for a day.
Dough for Puris – Mix the flour and sooji. Add water as needed to make firm dough. Knead the dough until it is pliable. Cover the dough with a damp cloth for about ten minutes. Damp two kitchen towels, spread one damp towel over a plain surface, close to where you are going to fry the puris. Divide the dough into small balls. Keep them under a damp cloth. Start rolling each ball to about a 2-inch diameter circle. Place over a damp towel and cover with another damp towel. Placing the puris between damp cloths helps the puris to puff evenly on all sides.
Prepare Puris –
Heat the oil on medium high heat. Start frying the puris, Fry the puris until they are golden-brown all around by turning a few times. They should be crisp and puff like a ball.
Serve : Pani puris are served by making a small hole in each puri. Fill the puris with boiled and chopped potatoes, or boiled chickpeas. Finish by filling each puri with the spicy pani.