Monday, June 15, 2009

Pani Puri at Eastern Bazar (or any other Indian market)

Pani puri is an Indian snack food that I will always love because my friend's family took us out on our first night -- or maybe the second -- in Bombay.

To make pani puri, you buy the crisp hollow balls of impossibly thin dough.  You break a hole at one end, then you fill the hole with a mixture -- made as far as I understand of onion, potato and chick pea flavored with the pani puri sauce.  Bags of the
 crisp balls and jars of the sauce are available at local Indian grocery stores.  The bags in the picture are from Eastern Bazar in Laurel, but I have seen similar displays at Desi Bazar.

The "coolness" to "work" ratio with pani puri is off the charts.  You buy the crisps and the sauce.  You just cook up some potato and onion, add some canned chickpeas, some of the pani puri sauce and some water.  Then you serve them one at a time by cracking a hole in a crisp, spooning in a teaspoon or so of warm filling, and handing them out to enjoy.

Look for all the supplies at one of Howard County's Indian groceries, including Food Cravings in Columbia, Desi Bazaar in Columbia, Apna Bazar in Laurel or Eastern Market in Laurel.  In May 2009, someone was opening a new Indian grocery near the Gateway Pizza in Elkridge.

Pani Puri
This is a very general recipe based on how I made pani puri.  I'm sure you could find another recipe on the Web.

1 bag of pani puri crisps
1 jar of pani puri sauce
1 large new potato, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 c. chickpeas

1) Boil a pot of water and add the potato.  Test them after five minutes to see if they're tender.  Cook until they're tender.  Drain the potato when its tender.

2) While the potato is cooking, saute the onion until it is soft.

3) Add  the potato and chickpeas to the onions.  Saute until everything is warm.  Pour all the vegetables into a bowl.

4) Add two tablespoons of the pani puri sauce.  Add about four tablespoons of water.  Taste the vegetables.  As far as I know, this is just personal taste.  The pani puri sauce that I bought was spicy with about two tablespoons.

5) With a spoon, crack a hole in one of the pani puri crisps.  Spoon in a tablespoon or so of the vegetables.  Eat.  Repeat.  (They're best crunchy and fresh.  I think they're best eaten right away like a snack.)

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