I don’t know a single Indian who doesn’t love pani puri. I also don’t know a single Indian who can not eat about 20 in one sitting. Someone even told me one time that they had a dream where they were shopping, and the store was full of gol gappa. Huge ones. I think when people start having dreams about this chaat, it’s the real deal.
You will definitely find pani puri at any legit Indian chaat house in the US. Maybe not so much in restaurants. But if you live in a city where they have a large Indian population, for example, Atlanta, you will find chaat places full of typical Indian street food.
When I was preparing to go to India, all of my friends told me whatever I do, not to eat the pani puri. Street foods are the gateway to being sick, I suppose. Especially when the walas are standing along the side of the road in the 100+ degree heat, with flies roaming everywhere, and people touching all the food. The pani puri wala will actually dip his hand in the pani to fill the puri. Say that five times fast. This was the only chaat I avoided on the streets. I did, however, have pani puri multiple times where the puri was regulated and the walas wore gloves. I did end up getting sick, but not from having chaat. And let me tell you, it was no fun.
Pani puri is probably one is the healthiest Indian chaats, aside from the puris. You could bake them to make them healthier. But ain’t nobody got time for that. Especially when throwing a party. So of course, whenever I have a party, pani puri is always involved.
The pani, which means water, is flavored with all sorts of tangy good stuffs. You then break the top of the puri with your finger, and fill it with more good stuffs, then dip the puri in the pani and eat. Delicious!
You can buy puris at any Indian store. You can also buy masala for the pani, but it is much better when you make it yourself, and much more flavorful when you add fresh ingredients to the premade masala.
I highly encourage you to try pani puri. It is really delicious. And super quick and easy to put together. All you need is a blender.
Ingredients To Make Pani:
- puris, which can be bought at an Indian store
- 3 cups water
- handful of cilantro
- handful of mint
- 1 tsp chaat masala
- 1 tsp black salt
- 3 tbsp pani puri masala
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 green chili
- 1/4 cup tamarind extract
Toppings, Optional, but Suggested
- finely diced tomatoes
- finely chopped onions
- tamarind chutney
- finely chopped boiled potatoes
- whatever you want
Taste and adjust spices as necessary. It should be nice and tangy. My friends even like to drink the pani by itself, after they have finished snacking. Me too. It is quite nice.
Put it in your mouth. Let the deliciousness happen. Chew. Swallow. Repeat.