Pani puri is a fabulous street-food snack. A hollow, crispy shell is half-filled with, traditionally, chickpeas or sprouted pulses and chopped potato, a tangy, minty and slightly sweet liquid is poured in, then the whole thing is popped straight into the mouth where it bursts into a firework of flavours and textures.
20 pani puri shells
For the Spiced Tamarind and Mint Liquid:
1 tbsp store-bought pani puri masala powder, or to taste
4 tbsp store-bought tamarind sauce (I like Maggi brand), ,
or to taste
8 mint leaves, finely shredded
For the Filling:
1 ripe avocado, finely chopped
finely grated zest of ½ lime,
plus 2 tsp lime juice
1 small tomato, finely chopped
1 spring onion, finely chopped
½ small red onion, finely chopped
½–1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
small handful of chopped
- First make the tamarind and mint liquid. Pour 250ml of water into a bowl and stir in the pani puri masala powder, tamarind sauce or chutney and the mint. Adjust the balance of flavourings to taste, adding more tamarind chutney for sweet sourness, or masala powder for spiciness.
- Mix together the avocado and the lime zest and juice, tossing gently but thoroughly to coat the avocado and stop it from discolouring. Add all the other ingredients for the filling. Taste and adjust the salt.
- When you are ready to eat, crack a hole with your finger into the thinner surface of a pani puri shell (one side will always be thinner and more delicate). Add about 1 tsp of the filling to the cavity and place on a serving platter. Repeat to use up all the shells and filling.
- Finally, pour the tamarind liquid into a small jug and place next to your puris. Before eating one, pour 3–4 tsp of the liquid into the hole and place in your mouth (it will leak everywhere otherwise). Enjoy!
And a salmon roe version… Top the filling of each pani puri with about 1 tsp salmon roe and add a little sour cream.