Making my Favorite Paani-Puri/Gol-Gappa

In Pune one thing I miss the most is Paani-puri – street food of almost all regions of India. Pune has its own street food Vaada-pav and Missal, but paani-puri or gol-gappa has its own fan following. I’m a big-time, die-hard fan of paani-puri. It’s something I can never have enough of.

It has so many names like: in Bihar we call it “Gup-Chup” while my husband who is from Uttar Pradesh calls it “Pani Ke bataashe”. My cousins from Kolkata call it “Puchka”. I guess there must be other names too.

In teenage it was an unsaid custom that if we are out for shopping, having paani–puri while returning home was a must. However, I miss this (eating paani-puri at roadside) now, because my husband being very hygiene-conscious is not in favor of eating roadside paani-puri.

Instead, he is more inclined towards home-made paani-puri. So, earlier I used to make the filling and water at home, and got puris from store. But I missed the authentic taste in store-bought stale paani-puris.

Therefore, under my MIL’s (mom-in-law) guidance I started making puri’s too at home. I make the puri’s and store it in an air tight container. Make the accompaniments of chick-pea filling and spicy and tangy water whenever we feel like having. Now I can enjoy the authentic street-side taste that I love and the best part is it’s totally hygienic and free of any preservatives.

paani puri ready to eat
My favorite street food Paani-puri

Making puris at home is a very simple and easy but a time-taking process. However, if you really miss the fresh and authentic taste, you won’t mind putting the hard-work. Having said that, you can easily opt for store-bought option when in hurry.

So here is the process of making home-made puris.

Makes around 50 puris

Ingredients for Puris

  • Semolina (rava/soozi): 1 cup
  • All purpose flour (Maida): 1 tbsp.
  • Oil for frying
  • Water to knead the dough

Ingredients for Paani

  • Chopped mint leaves: 1 cup
  • Chopped coriander leaves: ¼ cup
  • Tamarind pulp: ¼ cup
  • Green chilies: 5-6
  • Dry ginger powder: ½ tsp
  • Roasted cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Jal-jeera powder: 1tsp (optional)
  • Black salt: 1 tsp
  • Salt: as per taste
  • Water: 4 cups

Ingredients for Chickpea Filling

  • Soaked chickpea: 1 cup
  • Salt as per taste
  • Turmeric: 1 tsp

Process for Puris

  • Mix semolina and all-purpose flour, and knead the dough (like for making rotis). No need to add salt, oil or baking soda in the dough. Cover the dough with damp muslin cloth and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • Semolina will absorb the water and dough will become little hard. Sprinkle little water and knead the dough again to make soft dough. You will notice dough have gained elasticity.

paani-puri dough

  • Divide the dough into small balls – even smaller than marbles. Cover the balls with moist kitchen cloth.
  • Damp a muslin cloth and spread it on a big plate. Now roll the thin puris with the help of rolling pin and spread on this cloth. Keeping the puris on damp cloth will prevent them from drying.
rolling puris
Rolled puris
  • Keep covering the puris with the cloth while you are rolling the others. It’s important that they remain moist. As moisture in puri’s turns into steam and makes puri puff-up on deep frying.

My MIL was worried that in the photo clicking process I might dry the puris. So, I had to be very quick in clicking pictures. 🙂

  • Heat the oil in a vessel. Drop a puri in hot oil on medium flame and instantly start pressing it with a frying spoon. The puri will puff up. Move it aside in oil do not turn upside down.
  • Drop another puri. You can add 4-5 puris in one batch. Now start turning the puris upside-down. You will notice the golden color. All must have turned golden by now. Wait for few seconds and start taking them out.
paani-puri after frying
Paani-puri after frying
  • Transfer them to an absorbent paper and store in air-tight container when they cool down.

Process for Paani

  • Soak the tamarind in 1 cup water for 2 hour. Remove the seeds and blend in mixer and strain the pulp through a sieve.
  • Mix mint, coriander leaves and green chilies to make a fine paste in the blender.
  • Take a big bowl and add this fine paste, tamarind pulp and rest of the ingredients and mix well.
  •  Make the paani 2-3 hours before serving. This helps spices to blend and enhance the flavor. In summers make the water and shift it to refrigerator, because cool water will be more refreshing. If short on time then drop few ice cubes.

Process for Chickpea Filling

  • Wash and soak the chickpeas overnight. Add salt, turmeric and cook them in pressure cooker.
  • Puris can be enjoyed with potato or chick-pea filling and tangy spicy flavored water. Here I have made boiled chickpea filling.

It’s time to eat!

I first make hole in the center, add chickpea filling, add tangy tamarind chutney and finally dip in spicy flavored paani. Immediately transfer it to my already watering mouth. No waiting period here. 🙂

paani puri close up
This is how I like my paani-puri

Till now I have never come across any Indian lady who is not fond of paani-puri. Also, it’s a usual thing to ask the pani-puri vendor to adjust the taste as per personal liking. Some like it tangy while some spicy.

This is how I make my favorite paani-puri. What’s your version? Do share with me your combinations.