Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Call it Panipuri or Golgappa or Paani ke Batashe…

…this delicacy remains mouthwatering. Wikipedia tells me that it originated from Uttar Pradesh in India. But its presence is felt throughout the nation, even though it is called by different names and the preparation may slightly vary, to suit the taste buds of the particular region / state.
The Gol gappas that I have known since childhood are served with boiled potatoes / safed matar (boiled dried yellow peas / vatana), and spicy paani (water)/ jaljeera
. Both the water and the filling are cold.
I remember a time when, atleast once a year, my grandmother and my mother would jointly take up the project of making the golgappas / puris at home. Which meant a complete day’s work – the flour was kneaded and each ball was individually rolled and fried, and at least 100 puris were prepared to satisfy the taste buds of the entire family! And it would be accompanied by Aloo Tikki
, Dahi Vada and Papdi Chaat (the puris which refused to puff up while frying were served with yoghurt and tamaraind chutney). Phew! Quite an effort.
These days, I make it a point to visit my favorite Chaat
corner whenever I visit my hometown in Northern India. Or when my husband and I really have a craving for eating Paani ke Bataashe / Golgappas, we enjoy it at home. This definitely does not involve the kind of effort which my mother or grandmother put in, since most of the ingredients are either readily available in the market or can be prepared using instant mixes.

Puri / Golgappa / Phuchka
These are readily available in packets in most of the super markets or sweet shops in India. Alternately, they can be purchased from the local road side cart / joint which specializes in selling Pani Puri.
We use Badshah Pani Puri Masala
, and follow the instructions given on the pack. My husband adds juice of half a lemon to further enhance the flavor.
We prepare it around 30 minutes in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for cooling
The filling
Soak ¾ cup dried yellow peas (safed matar / vatana) overnight. Drain the water. Boil them with 1 ½ cup water in a pressure cooker (it will take around 10 minutes) or in a pot (will take much longer). In a pan, heat 1 tbsp oil, and add the boiled peas. Stir it on high heat till most of the water is evaporated. Mix 1 tsp of cumin powder and a bit of salt.
I alternately also use boiled potatoes which are either mashed or finely chopped, and seasoned with a bit of salt, red chili powder and cumin powder.

To Enjoy
Break a small hole in the crust of the puri, fill it with stuffing of your choice, dip it in the pani and place the entire puri in your mouth. Ask for more :)

Monday, 15 June 2009

Dahi wale Alu (Potato curry cooked with yoghurt)

Like most of my recipe encyclopedia, this one too comes from my Mom, though I did not like the preparation as a kid. I think it was because of the asafoetida which she added (and which I still avoid). I remembered it years later, when I was trying to cook something quick for dinner, just for myself, and my husband was eating out with colleagues. I made it again yesterday with hot parathas, for Sunday brunch.
As always, I
searched the internet for the recipe, and realized that there quite a few methods by which this curry can be prepared. Sharing my Mom’s version.

Boiled potatoes: 3
Beaten curd / yoghurt: ½ cup
Oil: 2 tbsp
Dry Red chili: 1 (optional)
Cumin Seeds: ½ tsp
Cloves / Laung: 2
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
Red Chili powder: ¼ - ½ tsp
Salt: To taste
Water: 3 cups

- Peel the boiled potatoes. Break them with your hands into bite sized pieces.
- Add the curd and water to the potatoes and mix. Keep aside
- Heat oil in a pan. Add the dry red chili and stir till it changes color
- Add cumin seeds and cloves. When the seeds begin to splutter, add turmeric powder, and the potato curd mixture
- Add salt and red chili powder. Bring the curry to a boil
- Lower the flame and let the mixture boil for another 4 – 5 minutes.
- Serve hot with parathas

Why I recommend it?
- The yoghurt adds a sour / tangy flavor which is different from the usual curries cooked with tomato
- It’s simple and quick. Can be prepared in under 10 minutes if you have boiled potatoes stocked in your refrigerator

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Garlic Bread topped with Vegetables

I shall not take credit for this recipe. Like the Chili Cheese Toast, this project was solely handled by my husband and is a part of the same recipe family. The ingredients are similar, and so are the calories!
That said, it tasted amazing, and I was reminded of the garlic bread served at the pizza joints. He had made it as an accompaniment to Mix Veg Pasta (maybe a post on it later) which I was preparing as a quick option for dinner.

Garlic Bread Loaf
Salted Butter
Grated Cheese (We use
Amul Cheese. You can use the equivalent substitute available in your city)

Capsicum, Tomatoes, Onion (chopped)
Baby Corn (sliced)
Mushroom (Cut into thin slices)
Green Chili (Chopped)
Salt / Pepper


- Take equal quantities of butter and grated cheese. Add salt (if required) and pepper as per taste. Mix it well and keep aside
- Cut the loaf into thick diagonal slices. Arrange them on a tray / rack and grill them in the microwave / oven for 3 – 5 minutes till the slices are crisp and brown at the top
- Take out the slices and allow them to cool slightly. Turn them over and apply the cheese butter mix on the side which is not yet grilled
- Top it with pieces of chopped vegetables
- Grill it in the microwave / oven for around 3 - 5 minutes. Microwave it on high for another 30 sec so that the vegetables are softened
- Serve hot

Why I recommend it?
Like the Chili Cheese Toast, it goes well as an accompaniment to the main dish, or can be had on its own

Methi Ki Puri

Ages ago, when I was in kindergarten, our class was taken for a picnic to the city zoo. After watching the monkeys, giraffes and the lions, we had rested for lunch on the bank of a duck pond. Wondering what my Mom had packed for lunch, I opened my lunch box and it was packed with “green puris” . I was overjoyed, because I liked them more than the plain puris which were quite boring to look at.
In my later years, I realized it was my Mom’s method of feeding me all the green-leafy-vegetables which I would not have touched had it been in the form of “Palak Paneer” or “Methi Aloo” .
There are several recipes for preparing Methi ki Puri, many of which call for mixing different spices. My recipe (or rather my Mom’s) is simpler, has lesser ingredients and apart from cleaning the leaves, does not take much time.


Wheat Flour (Atta): 2 cups

Methi (Fenugreek) leaves: a bunch

Salt : ½ tsp

Oil to deep fry


- Clean and wash the methi leaves. Chop them finely.
- Mix the flour, the chopped leaves, salt and enough water to make dough. This requires lesser water than what you would normally use because (a) the leaves are also moist (b) the dough for puri is harder than that of chapattis / paratha.
- Divide the dough into small balls (roughly the size of table tennis balls), and roll them into puris
- Heat sufficient oil in a kadai / frying pan and deep fry puris till puffed up and golden brown.
- Drain the excess oil on paper towel and serve hot

My Recommendation:
- I love it best with Matar Paneer

- It goes well with pickles or any other Indian curry

For those who are new to Indian Cooking:
How to Make Puris