Today I would like to tell a story about a snack eaten in India, Nepal, and other neighboring countries.
Panipuri is a street snack of several regions in the Indian subcontinent.
It is made of a round, hollow puri (fried crisp) that is filled with a mixture made of tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion, or chickpeas, and lastly added flavored water (known as imli pani).
It has various names, depending on the region. But the common name used everywhere is ‘panipuri’; ‘pani’ means water and ‘puri’ is the kind of crisp/bread used to make it.
Today while coming back from a walk, we – me, my father, and sister – had stopped for a tea in a small tea shop. While drinking tea and eating cheeseballs I saw a big pocket of puries lying on the table next to the hostess.
I have seen them before, around a thousand times on street shops but I never appreciated them. I remembered that the taste is strong and too various for taste buds but it has its charm in it.
So I decided to taste it, again. I asked a woman the name of it and she told me that a plate of puri, around 8 pieces, costs 20Rs. So I ordered one. She took 8 plain puris with a hole, empty inside, and went to the kitchen before asking me if I want chili. Of course, I said ‘no’. After 5 minutes she came back with a plate of puries, filled with a mix of potato, chickpeas, green peas and I don’t know what else, and a small jug with flavored water which was sower. I made few photos, poured the water into one of them, and ate it.
The first impression was, of course, the crispy puri with a sound of cracking, then the sower water being in. poured out and attacked my taste buds. After, came a sweet and soft mashed potato with, little hard, chickpeas in the between. The end was filled with the sweetness of green peas.
After eating two more while go crooked I offered one to my father. He also made a face and refused to eat more. I ate the rest while drinking chai to wash away the taste and try each one from the beginning. After I asked my father “How was it?” and he replied, “It was too sour”.
This snack gives so many different tastes that your head could explode. Here, I’m joking, of course, but you understand what I mean. It is not all, it can be spicy and bitter too.
It is only for adventurous people who want a challenge. And for those who are discouraged, this taste is the charm of it, no differently.
And remember – don’t put too much water!