Pani Puri - Mumbai street style

Pani Puri

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Pani puri needs no introduction to folks who are familiar with Indian street food. It is the undisputed queen of street foods and is known by different names in different regions of the country such as Gupchup or Golgappa in New Delhi, Puchka in West Bengal, Pani ke Batashe in Uttar Pradesh, or simply Pani Puri in amchi Mumbai. However, if you’ve never heard of it, just know that this irresistible snack will grow onto you with each puri you pop into your mouth only to make it near-impossible to stop. Let’s dive in…

What is Pani Puri

The Hindi name Pani Puri literally translates to Pani = water and Puri = fried semolina puff pastry balls. You will however not be eating just plain water filled puris. The water is infused with flavors from fresh mint and cilantro. And then of course, there’s a nutritious filling. The idea is to fill the puris with hot mashed whole split peas (vatana ragda), and cold minty water and gulp it down like a tequila shot. When the puri crumbles inside your mouth, the contrasting temperatures and flavours will blow your mind.

Pani Puri

What you will need to make Pani Puri

Ingredients

Note: 1 cup = 235 ml

For the whole split pea ragda filling

  1. 2 cups white pea (safed vatana / matar) 
  2. 8 ½ cups water
  3. ½ tsp. turmeric
  4. ½ tsp. cumin powder
  5. ½ tsp. baking soda (optional) but recommended for consistent results 
  6. 1 tsp. chaat masala 
  7. Salt to taste (I use1 tsp. salt)

For the sweet and spicy water

  1. 1 bunch cilantro
  2. 15 leaves mint
  3. 5 Indian green chilies / one Serrano chili
  4. 2 tsp. black salt
  5. 1 cup jaggery
  6. Salt to taste (I use 1 tsp. salt)
  7. 2 lemons (large yellow)
  8. 2 Tbsp. – pani puri masala
  9. 1 liter plus ½ cup water (for grinding)

For the puri

  1. A box of 50 pani puris (store bought)
Ingredients for Pani Puri recipe

Equipment

  1. 1 medium sized mixing bowl
  2. 1 small blender
  3. 1 Instant Pot / Pressure cooker / heavy bottom pan
  4. 2 scoop ladles

A note on key ingredients

Cilantro and mint are essential to make great tasting pani. Fresh herbs give the best flavors. You can go generous with cilantro but use mint sparingly as it can easily overpower the concoction. 

Vatana is an amazing source of protein. It is the same as split peas in its whole form. It is dicey to cook them to the right consistency, so adding a pinch of cooking soda can help you get perfect results when making ragda.

Puris are made of semolina which is also a source of protein. Make sure that when you buy them at the store, you get the one that has the least number of broken puris.


How to prepare Pani Puri – An Overview

Pani puri recipe requires less time in the kitchen and more time at the table if you are not having it on the streets of India. Soak and cook the vatana. Blend and mix ingredients for pani. Assemble puri and water at the table and enjoy!

Tips before you begin

📝Soaking vatana for a minimum of 6 hours is essential for best results. Since these have complex nutrients, it is best to soak them beforehand for easy digestion. So plan ahead when you make this recipe

📝If you are not used to having raw green chilis, add them one at a time in the blender to be in control of the spice level


How to make Pani Puri – Instructions with step-by-step images

Soak & cook

Step 1 – Wash and soak 2 cups vatana (white pea) in 4 cups of water for a minimum of 6 hours

Step 2 – Drain the excess water and place the vatana in the main compartment of the Instant Pot. or pressure cooker

Step 3 – Now add 4 cups of fresh water, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp cumin powder, and ½ tsp baking soda to the vatana and close the Instant Pot lid

Step 4 – Set the Instant Pot on manual high setting for up to 15 minutes with vent in sealing position. If using a regular pressure cooker cook for 8 whistles

While the vatana is cooking, let’s get the pani ready…

Blend & mix

Step 5 – In a small blender jar add ½ cup water and place all dry ingredients listed for pani. Grind together 1 bunch cilantro, 15 leaves mint, 5 Indian green chilies / one Serrano chili, 2 tsp. black salt, 1 cup jaggery, 1 tsp. salt, juice of 2 lemons (large yellow), and 2 Tbsp. pani puri masala

Step 6 – After grinding the above to a smooth paste transfer contents to a medium size mixing bowl and add 1 liter plain water

Step 7 – Allow this spice infused water to cool for at least an hour in the refrigerator

Let’s go back to Instant Pot to check the status of the vatana…

Step 8 – When the Instant Pot is ready to open, which is usually about 29 minutes (when the digital display is at L0:29), open the lid and give the vatana good mash. Add 1 tsp chaat masala and 1 tsp salt to the mashed vatana and give it a good mix

Step 9 – Now dilute this with ½ cup of water

Assemble and enjoy!

Step 10 – Take a puri (store bought) and gently crack it open on one end using a finger (or spoon)

Step 11 – Fill the puri half way with a scoop of the hot ragda (white pea)

Step 12 – Fill the rest of the puri with cold pani that we refrigerated earlier

Step 13 – Without wasting further time pop the pani puri into your mouth to devour the burst of flavors along side the hot and cold temperatures balancing themselves in your mouth – you have to agree that the overall sensation and taste is simply sublime😋


Why is Mumbai style Pani Puri the best

Street food culture is prevalent across India. You will find a vendor in every corner of a busy road or in neighborhood intersections. Among so many varieties of snacks sold, pani puri is one of the cheapest crowd pleaser. Due to the fact that it can satisfy both thirst and hunger at the same time, it is a popular choice of quick snack for daily commuters to quickly grab a bite while they wait for the next bus to arrive. So, hanging out with friends at one of these street food joints was a part of my life back in Hyderabad. 

When I travelled to Mumbai, the heart of street foods, I realized that the pani puri served here is hands down the absolute best! A typical plate order is served with 6 pani puris and a single dry puri topped with mashed peas and chaat masala at the end. This is the vendor’s way of tracking the number of plates served. It is amazing to see how efficiently they manage the overflowing customers that flock to these places. 

Mumbai style pani puri tastes absolutely addictive that one cannot stop with just one plate. Be it the scorching heat of Indian summers, the muggy humid monsoons or the pleasant winter afternoons, you are sure to find groups of people in Mumbai streets, gorging on pani puris! What is so special about this you might ask? Well, in some places it is common to use just potato filling, sometimes mashed and sometimes in chunks. In some cases, you’ll see it along with boondi where its crunch is long gone since it’s been soaking in the water for god knows how long. In some other cases (ahem…many homes), it’s served with sprouted moong beans. While all of these are healthy, they have no element of flavor. But only in Mumbai, do you not only get the flavorful ragda but the key to the overall experience, which is the hot filling and cold water combo. You gotta try it to believe it!

Living in the west and missing these salivating street foods led me on a desperate quest to unlock the perfect recipe. Attempting to make it healthy with dates or adding a lot of mint (as it was abundantly available in my Houston backyard garden) gave me great, but not sublime results. So the hunt continued until I resorted back to sweetening with jaggery and adding fewer mint leaves, so they don’t overpower the flavor of the water. The art is in making it authentic with ingredients that are locally available and sustainable year around. Follow this recipe to the T and you will find yourself enjoying authentic Mumbai street style pani puri all year round!

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Potli Samosa

Pani Puri

Recipe by Sublime RecipesCourse: SnacksCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cook time

40

minutes
Rest time

6

minutes
Ready in

1

hour 

Authentic recipe of Mumbai street stlyle Pani Puri. Which is also known as Gupchup or Golgappa in New Delhi, Puchka in West Bengal

What You Will Need

  • Ingredients
    Note: 1 cup = 235 ml
    For the whole split pea ragda filling
  • 2 cups white pea (safed vatana / matar)

  • 8 ½ cups water

  • ½ tsp. turmeric

  • ½ tsp. cumin powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda (optional) but recommended for consistent results

  • 1 tsp. chaat masala

  • Salt to taste (I use1 tsp. salt)

  • For the sweet and spicy water
  • 1 bunch cilantro

  • 15 leaves mint

  • 5 Indian green chilies / one Serrano chili

  • 2 tsp. black salt

  • 1 cup jaggery

  • Salt to taste (I use 1 tsp. salt)

  • 2 lemons (large yellow)

  • 2 Tbsp. – pani puri masala

  • 1 liter plus ½ cup water (for grinding

  • For the puri
  • A box of 50 pani puris (store bought)

Preparation

  • Soak & cook
  • Wash and soak 2 cups vatana (white pea) in 4 cups of water for a minimum of 6 hours
  • Drain the excess water and place the vatana in the main compartment of the Instant Pot. or pressure cooker
  • Now add 4 cups of fresh water, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp cumin powder, and ½ tsp baking soda to the vatana and close the Instant Pot lid
  • Set the Instant Pot on manual high setting for up to 15 minutes with vent in sealing position. If using a regular pressure cooker cook for 8 whistles
  • Blend & mix
  • In a small blender jar add ½ cup water and place all dry ingredients listed for pani. Grind together 1 bunch cilantro, 15 leaves mint, 5 Indian green chilies / one Serrano chili, 2 tsp. black salt, 1 cup jaggery, 1 tsp. salt, juice of 2 lemons (large yellow), and 2 Tbsp. pani puri masala
  • After grinding the above to a smooth paste transfer contents to a medium size mixing bowl and add 1 liter plain water
  • Allow this spice infused water to cool for at least an hour in the refrigerator
  • Let’s go back to Instant Pot to check the status of the vatana…
  • When the Instant Pot is ready to open, which is usually about 29 minutes (when the digital display is at L0:29), open the lid and give the vatana good mash. Add 1 tsp chaat masala and 1 tsp salt to the mashed vatana and give it a good mix
  • Now dilute this with ½ cup of water
  • Assemble and enjoy!
  • Take a puri (store bought) and gently crack it open on one end using a finger (or spoon)
  • Fill the puri half way with a scoop of the hot ragda (white pea)
  • Fill the rest of the puri with cold pani that we refrigerated earlier
  • Without wasting further time pop the pani puri into your mouth to devour the burst of flavors along side the hot and cold temperatures balancing themselves in your mouth – you have to agree that the overall sensation and taste is simply sublime😋

Variations

  • The filling varies in different regions. Some like it with mashed potatoes or at times with sprouted moong. You can also add some additional toppings such a plain boondhi or fresh cut onions to your pani puri. There is no right or wrong, figure out what combination speaks to your palate
  • You can spice it up a little bit by adding 2 tsp. of Kashmiri red chili powder to the ragda

Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container


Calories786

  • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 1g 2%
    • Sodium 792mg 33%
    • Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
    • Potassium 223mg 7%
    • Total Carbohydrate 98g 33%
      • Dietary Fiber 22g 88%
      • Sugars 17g
    • Protein 19g 38%
    • Vitamin A 5%
    • Vitamin C 91%
    • Calcium 8%
    • Iron 25%

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    ❔ Can I make puris at home

    Absolutely, there are many recipes online for that. I find it easy to buy it from local vendors as it saves a lot of time. Making them will take an hour, while they vanish in less than 10 minutes. So, I feel its optimal to buy them. Also, that way you can enjoy more whole puris, because when you make these at home you will end up with a few flat ones (which the store brand would have sorted out for you)

    ❔ Can I make this recipe ahead of time

    Yes, for sure. The ragda and cilantro mint paste for the water can be made a day in advance and stored in refrigerator. You can also freeze mashed ragda and green chutney for up to one month. Dilute the paste with water couple of hours before serving

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