The combination of tangy sweet chutney with potato, beans and that green masaledar water, is a taste like no other.
The humble pani puri – whose origins are widely contested and mostly unknown – has truly crossed all land boundaries and is a household name in almost any region of the world.
Golgappa in Delhi, Phuchka in West Bengal, Pani ke Bataashe in UP or Palki in Madhya Pradesh – the definitions/ingredients may differ, but at the heart of it, it is still one of the greatest snack foods ever.
So much so that its variations over the years have lent themselves to killer gourmet fusions, alcohol mixers and even some desserts! Here are some of the best gastronomic transformations of the kickass pani puri!
Pani Puri With Black Grape Juice
One of the very first novel variations to hit the circuit, the pani puri with black grape juice was turned into a trend thanks to Sanjeev Kapoor’s genius. The recipe calls for a litre of black grape juice (commonly available at most general stores) as a major ingredient.
Kapoor says it was an experimental flavour combo he had tasted in New Zealand and had never thought that it would become a hit with our desi tastes!
Pani Puri Sorbet
While a sorbet is traditionally a frozen dessert made with sweetened flavoured water, the pani puri version delivers a super sweet-and-sour kick.
The only downside to this one is that you can ask for no sukha puris at the end – but if you can live with that, this dish is a killer.
Made popular by Papa Cream in Mumbai which serves them with a side of potato mousse-filled puris, this one will be a summer favourite!
Check out the Papa Cream dish here.
Vodka Pani Puri
Ain’t no version we like better than an alcoholic one! These are extremely popular and have been around for years now.
Mix one part vodka to three parts of tangy pani puri water and watch the party flow! An elegant addition to any house party scene, it is now a favourite of many brunch menus at new age restaurants.
Serve it as a shot, or as a cocktail with some extra chaat masala, lime and mint. You could even fill up a puri with the spiked concoction!
Salad and Fruit Juice Pani Puri
Aussie chef Adam D’Sylva’s restaurant Tonka in Melbourne prides itself on giving a modern twist to the traditional foods of India. On his visit to India, he transformed our aloo-filled delicacy into summer on a plate with a heady mix of salads and fruit juices! D’Sylva truly believes that there is nothing as versatile as a pani puri.
Try your version at home with oranges, grapes and lemons. Permission to go nuts? Granted.
Read his story here.
Chocolate Pani Puri
The best part of any meal: the DESSERT! Chocolate pani puris are almost unrecognisable as pani puris – but for their shape.
Melted chocolate covers the fluffy shell of the puris. The filling is rich chocolate mousse with a garnish of orange segments served with a shot of either coffee espresso or chocolate milk. You can also choose to negate the shot aspect completely and serve it as just a chocolate, strawberry and orange trifle – in a dark chocolate-covered puri.
(A massive EDM junkie and a Jedi Padewan, Radhika believes in taking life by the fork and knife every day. She has been a media woman for the last 10 years with a huge passion for video technology. While working in content management is her day avatar, nothing gets her foodie side going like a good spicy misal pav!)