Pani puri

Pani puri

Semolina wafers

By
From
The Complete Asian Cookbook
Makes
80
Photographer
Alan Benson

If you met these delicious little savouries in Maharashtra State, you probably know them as pani puri; in the Punjab they are called gol gappa; and if you spent time in Calcutta you may recognise them under the name of pushka. They are typical of Indian savoury snacks for between-meal nibbling. The crisp wafers, puffed up like Lilliputian balloons, are filled to individual taste.

The snack consists of fried wafers so thin and crisp that a finger pushed through one side makes a neat little hole into which you drop 2 or 3 cooked and spiced chickpeas, a couple of cubes of potato and a teaspoonful of piquant tamarind juice. There are variations on the theme, with some versions favouring crisp fried lentils, chips of fresh coconut and fresh chutneys.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
95g fine semolina
75g roti flour or plain flour
2 teaspoons besan, (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
oil, for deep-frying
ghee, for deep-frying

Accompaniments

Quantity Ingredient
Channa
Channa ki dhal
Alu bhaji
Imli chatni
Podina chatni
Zeera pani

Method

  1. Put the semolina, flour, besan (if using) and salt into a bowl. Add 125 ml lukewarm water all at once and mix to make a dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, adding a little more flour if the mixture is too soft, or a few drops of water if it is too stiff. (Flours vary in absorbency and it is difficult to give an exact measure of water, but the dough should be the consistency of bread dough.) Cover the dough with a small bowl or with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and roll each into a ball the size of a hazelnut without its shell. Roll out each ball on a lightly floured work surface to make a thin circle, with a 5 cm diameter. Place on a tray and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent drying out. Allow the pastry to rest for 10–15 minutes before cooking.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, deep-fry the semolina wafers, two or three at a time, spooning the hot oil over the tops of each to make them puff up. Do not add too many at a time, for this brings down the temperature of the oil and results in greasy wafers. When they are golden on both sides, remove them from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel over a wire rack (this helps to keep them crisp when they cool). Repeat with the remaining wafers until all are cooked. If you are not serving at once, cool completely and store in an airtight container — they will keep for up to 3 days. Serve with the assorted accompaniments once cool.
Tags:
The Complete Asian Cookbook
Charmaine
Solomon
Asian
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