Happy Monday! This week sees the Indian festival of Diwali, which like many religious festivals is often expressed through the medium of food. Sounds like our kind of festival. Friends and family gather together to prepare Diwali snacks – both sweet and savoury – and it’s common for people to visit one another with boxes of homemade snacks. One such snack might be ‘puris’, which as we discovered at last week’s Vegan Street Food supper club are totally delicious puffs filled with something tasty. Here’s Jackie Kearney’s recipe, and to celebrate Diwali we’re offering one lucky winner a copy of this wonderful book – just head to the bottom of the post to enter.
Pani Puri Pops
Chaat-filled puri shells with tamarind & pomegranate
Pani puri are also known as golgappa. We first tasted them at the festival of Dussehra. Hundreds of Gods descend from the mountain villages with their statue-carrying, trumpet-blowing and drum-playing support cast – which seemed to be the entire population of the region. They arrived into the Kullu Valley and it looked like Glastonbury had come to India, with tents, food stalls and crowds everywhere. We ate many delicious snacks that day, but this dish captures the best of Indian street food – deep-fried semolina puffs (puri), stuffed with chaat (usually made with spiced potato and sprouted beans) and filled with tamarind. You can buy the puri shells, if you like, because this dish is really all about the filling.
280 g/2 cups plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
100 g/scant ⅔ cup semolina
A large pinch of bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
A large pinch of salt
Sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
TAMARIND SHERBET (Pani)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
200 ml/7 oz. tamarind pulp, or 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate/paste
1 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchoor)
½ teaspoon salt
3-cm/1-in. piece of root ginger
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, finely chopped
150 g/5 oz. potatoes, peeled and diced into 5-mm/1⁄4-in. cubes
200-g/7-oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ red onion, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon chilli/chili powder
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
A pinch of chaat powder
Salt, to taste
Sweet date chutney
Daniya (coriander chutney)
2 tablespoons sev (fried chickpea/gram noodles)
Natural/plain soya/soy yogurt
Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves
Fresh pomegranate seeds
Put the flour in a bowl and add the semolina, bicarbonate of soda/baking soda and salt. Add 400–600 ml/1¾ –2½ cups water, a little at a time, to make a stiff dough. Knead and then leave to rest for at least 15 minutes and preferably 30 minutes.
On a flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough to about 3 mm/⅛ inch thick. Using a 4-cm/1½-in. cookie cutter, cut out about 24 small round puri discs.
Heat the oil in a wok or large, heavy pan until hot but not smoking. Gently slide 3–4 puri into the wok, using a ladle to press down gently and make them puff up. Once puffed and crisp, remove using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let cool.
To make the tamarind sherbet, toast the cumin in a dry pan over medium heat for 30 seconds, stirring occasionally, to release the aroma. Put the toasted cumin in a bowl with the other sherbet ingredients and 125 ml/½ cup water. Using a stick blender, process until smooth. Add 400 ml/1¾ cups water, and blend again. Chill for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in water to cover for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and mix with the remaining filling ingredients. Add salt to taste.
Using a small sharp knife, crack a small hole in the centre of each puri. Fill with the potato filling, then add 1⁄4 teaspoon each of chutney and daniya. Pour in the tamarind sherbet (a squeezy bottle is useful for this). Top with sev, and drizzle with soya/soy yogurt and pomegranate molasses. Scatter over coriander/cilantro leaves and pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.
For more delicious vegan recipes, check out Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney.