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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gol Gappe - Indian Cooking Challenge, May' 2010

Gol Gappe, a popular street snack / chaat is known by different names in different regions, the most popular ones being Panipuri (Western India), Gupchup (Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar) and Phuchka (West Bengal). It generally comprises of a round & fried crisp puri, filled with a mixture of potato, onion & chickpeas dipped in tamarind water

The name Gol gappe (as known in Northern India) refers to the fact that crisp sphere (Gol) is placed in the mouth and eaten (Gappa) at one time, without biting. Pani means water in Hindi and Puri is the name of a type of Indian bread, prepared by frying dough in oil.

Gol gappes are served in varied ways across different locations. They are dipped in various types of flavoured water, like imli ka pani (tamarind in water), nimbu ka pani (lemon juice in water), pudine ka pani (mint in water) and even khajur ka pani (dates mixed in water) and served by folding a saal leaf in triangular cup sized plate made from dry saal leaves or pre-made small bowl of saal leaves.

Here in Kolkata, Gol gappe it is better known as “Phuchka” and you are sure to have your favourite Phuchkawala in every para / locality.
Phuchka, the very mention of which makes me reminisce my childhood years. I still relish those memories, customers holding the small plate and standing around the phuchkawala’s cart. He starts making one golgappa at a time and serving one to each individual.

He even remembered each customer's preferences & choice like choice of fillings, tamarind water’s consistency, etc. Even now, I don’t know how the phuchkawala kept the count of how many phuchkas were served even during serving an entire crowd.

I still remember, on my way back home from school, how I used to order my Phuchka Kaku to prepare that special filling of boiled potato, sprouts & masalas with extra red chili powder; the crisp phuchkas dipped in an earthern pot of spicy tamarind water (tentul-er jol) and served in a small plate made of saal leaves and finishing in a gulp, heavenly…Even as I am writing, my mouth is drooling with those thoughts…
Moreover it was fun when we were in a group and would compete amongst ourselves who will eat the most number of phuchkas.

Over the years, gol gappe / pani puri / phuchka which was a roadside treat, have found a place in the menu of restaurants, malls and even wedding ceremonies. These days there are several innovative ways of serving them, like in plates and the tamarind water in cups. They are even served with curd, chopped onions with sev sprinkled on top.

Thanks to Srivalli for choosing Golgappa as the Indian Cooking Challenge recipe for May’ 2010.
A little effort of preparing Golgappa myself at home was a wonderful and fun experience.

Here is the recipe of Pani Puri / Gol Gappe

For making Gol Gappe
  • Sooji / Semolina: 1/2 cup
  • Maida / Plain Refined Flour: 1/2 tbsp
  • Cooking Soda: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying

For Spicy Pani / Spicy Water

  • Chopped Mint Leaves: 1 1/2 cups
  • Chopped Coriander Leaves: 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind: 1/3 cup
  • Ginger: 1"
  • Green Chillies: 4 - 5
  • Ground Cumin Seed (roasted): 1 tsp
  • Kala Namak/ Black Salt: 1 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste

For Filling

Potato Filling
Boiled Potato, finely chopped /mashed and mixed with salt and red chilli.

Lentil Filling

  • Cooked Kabuli Channa / Peas: 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Chili powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
  • Garam masala powder: 1/4 tsp

Cook the channa or peas till tender. Then drain and cook with the masala till aroma comes out.

For Red Tamarind Chutney

  • Tamarind: 1 cup
  • Jaggery: 1/2 cup
  • Sugar: 2 tbsp
  • Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Dry Roasted cumin powder: 1 tsp
  • Kali Mirch / Black pepper powder: 1/4 tsp.
  • Cloves: 2
  • Warm water: 2 cups
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt to tast

Method to prepare:

For Gol Gappe / Puri:

  1. In a bowl, take semolina, plain flour & cooking soda; add salt and 2 tbsp of oil; mix and knead well to make a stiff dough (A bit stiffer than normal) .
  2. Cover it with a wet muslin cloth and let it rest for 15 mins.
  3. Pinch out very small balls and roll them into small circles and put the rolled out circles back under the muslin cloth for some time before frying.
  4. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan / kadhai, release the rolled out dough, press the puffed puri a little with the back of a slotted spoon and deep fry the puris till golden brown (If rolled evenly, the puris will puff up as soon as they are released in the oil).
  5. Drain oil and take the puris out from the pan / kadhai and put them on kitchen paper towel to get rid of the extra oil.

Notes: Allow the puris to cool properly before storing them in an airtight container or else they will become soggy.

Spicy Tamarind water / Pani

  1. Extract pulp from the tamarind. Add mint leaves, coriander, ginger, chillies and dry roasted cumin seed to the tamarind pulp. Add little water and blend to a smooth paste.
  2. Add salt and black rock salt to taste. Add water as required. Put it in the fridge to cool down.

Red Tamarind Chutney

  1. In a pan, dry roast the cumin seeds and cloves and pound them into a coarse powder.
  2. Extract the pulp from tamarind. To the tamarind pulp, add jaggery, sugar, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, roasted powder of cumin & cloves and salt.
  3. Put the mixture in a pan and heat for 5 minutes on medium heat. Remove from heat and let it cool down.
  4. Add warm water and adjust consistency, if the chutney becomes too thick.
  5. Once the chutney cools thoroughly, blend in a blender to form a smooth paste.

Assembling & serving the Golgappe / Pani Puri / Phuchka

  1. Poke a small hole in the center of the Gole Gappe and add a little portion of the filling (Remember not to stuff too much, or else the puri may break).
  2. Add a little of the red tamarind chutney, dip the golgappa in the spicy water and gulp it down.

Notes: Alternatively you can mix small quantity of tamarind chutney & spicy water and pour over the stuffed puris and gulp down.

I like to experiment with the fillings. The whole idea of preparing this kind of chaat at home is that, you can mix your choice of ingredients or add anything which suits you best.
I used a filling of boiled potatoes & kabuli chana, mixed with chopped coriander leaves, grated coconut and masalas.
I added some home made dhokla, sprinkled chopped onions & sev on top and served with home made curd, spicy tamarind water and red tamarind chutney so that everybody can take their pick.


Abraham Chacko said...

i still remember my school days. waiting to get to the puchka stall... wooowww love these... said...

These look so inviting and delicious.

lata raja said...

Very informative post on my favourite street food. They look delicious.

kanthi said...

This recipe is yummy and delicious

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