Pani Puri or Golgappas is my most favorite chaat from childhood. I used to have pani puri often with my family on the streets of Mumbai (Bombay) and it was something I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Pani literally translates to water and here the Puris are fried puffed crisp dough balls. Generally, the water or pani is sour, tangy as well as spicy. This spicy pani is balanced with the addition of a sweet tamarind chutney.
This sweet chutney is called as meetha (which means sweet) pani. The spicy water is called as teekha (which means spicy) pani. Both are added in the puri along with the main filling which consists of boiled potatoes, chickpeas, moong sprouts or a thick dry curry made from white peas which is called as ragda.
The puri or pooris are made from flour or sooji/cream of wheat or both. They are thin, crisp, fully puffed and thus occupy the filling and the chutneys. These can be brought ready from the stores or can be made at home too. If you want to make pooris at home then check this step by step poori/puri recipe.
I don’t know who invented pani puri or how it came into existence. Its one of the popular street foods of India. Whereas in Mumbai, we call it Pani Puri. In the northern states its called as Golgappa and in Bengal, its called as Puchka.
There are differences in the fillings and the chutneys in all these regions. The filling also can be of your choice. Personally I prefer moong sprouts or ragda, but hubby prefers boiled potatoes and onions. So it depends from person to person and you can use your choice of stuffing.
This pani or spiced water recipe is my mom’s version. Here the pani is both spicy, tangy as well as sweet. So you don’t need to make the sweet chutney. However if you want a more sweeter taste, you can make the sweet tamarind chutney and serve with the pani puri.
To make this spicy and sweet pani, you just need to make the green chutney and dissolve it in water. The spicy and sweet water is ready. Chill it in the refrigerator before you serve or you can add ice cubes too.
For this pani recipe, you can also skip the jaggery and just make a tangy, spicy pani. Then you need to make the sweet tamarind chutney. Even Jal Jeera can be used to make the spicy water.
Keep everything ready before you start assembling the pani puris – the boiled cubed potato or steamed moong sprouts filling, the pooris and the spicy water.
You can even make individual serving portions, so that people make it for themselves. In the pics below, I have made sweet tamarind dates chutney, just to show the assembling.
First crack the top pooris with the spoon. Then stuff the potato-onion filling in the pooris. Add a few teaspoons of sweet chutney or as per your choice.
Then add a few teaspoons of the green pani or as per your choice.
The pani puri is ready to serve. They have to be had immediately. Or else the puris become soggy.
To make a mumbai style pani puri recipe, use ragda as the filling.
Update: I have also made this pani with equal amounts of jaggery and dates and the result was awesome. You can add 2 tbsp crumbled jaggery and 2 tbsp chopped dates. The rest of the ingredients are same as mentioned below.
Pani Puri Recipe below:
- 24-30 puris ( you could buy these puris readymade or make them at home)
- 1 small bowl of tamarind chutney or tamarind dates chutney
- 2 to 3 medium potatoes
- 1 small to medium onion
- 1 to 1.5 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
- 1 tsp chaat masala powder
- ¼ tsp red chili powder (optional)
- black salt as required
- ½ cup chopped mint leaves
- ¾ cup chopped coriander leaves
- 1 inch ginger, chopped
- 1 green chili, chopped (for a spicy pani, add about 2 to 3 green chilies)
- 1 tbsp seedless tamarind, tightly packed
- 3 to 3.5 tbsp crumbled or powdered jaggery/sugar or as required OR 1.5 tbsp chopped seedless dates & 1.5 tbsp powdered jaggery (the sweetness can be adjusted as per your taste)
- 1 tsp roasted cumin powder (bhuna jeera powder)
- 1 tsp chaat masala powder
- 2 to 3 cups of water (add water as per the consistency you want)
- 1 to 1.5 tbsp boondi/fried tiny gram flour balls (optional)
- black salt as required
- Boil the potatoes till they are cooked completely.
- Peel them and then chop them.
- Finely chop the onion.
- In a small bowl, mix the potatoes, onions, coriander leaves, cumin powder, chaat masala powder and black salt. Mix well and keep aside.
- In a blender add all the ingredients mentioned above for the pani.
- Add little water and grind to a fine chutney.
- Remove the green chutney in a large bowl. Add 2 to 3 cups water. Mix well. Check the seasoning. Add more black salt or jeera powder or chaat masala if required. If you want a thin pani, you could add some water. But keep on checking the seasoning, as per your taste.
- Add the boondi to the pani.
- You can chill the pani in the fridge or add some ice cubes to it..
- Crack the top of the puri with a spoon.
- Add 2 to 3 tsp of the boiled potato-onion filling in the poori.
- Stir the green pani first and then it and the sweet chutney as per your taste.
- Serve the pani puri immediately.
- You can also make individual portions with the puris, potato-onion mixture and the pani. Let the individual assemble the pani puri for himself/herself as per his/her taste.
steamed moong sprouts
boiled white chickpeas (kabuli chana)
boiled black chickpeas (kala chana)
chopped coriander leaves
ragda - a dry white peas preparation
* to make the pani hot and spicy, you can add one more green chili.