Kolkata and phuchka are inseparable. A popular street food on the City of Joy, phuchkas, though similar, are different from golgappa and panipuris. Anumita shares the recipe of the phuchka puris, its stuffing and the tamarind water. If you, like her, are staying far away from Kolkata, in some distant foreign land, you may enjoy the tangy, zesty and zingy street food at home. Here’s the secret recipe of phuchkas exclusively for Different Truths.
Growing up in the City of Joy, Kolkata, has its own flavor. Especially those of street food like Phuchka, Churmur and Alu Kabli. My dadu (grandpa) did not like us standing on the roadside to gobble down these swollen little semolina puffs filled with spicy mashed potato and brimming with flavored tamarind water. So, he would call a Phuchkawala home for us cousins to enjoy. It was not the same, but we enjoyed it.
Rampiyare had to wash his hands with soap and then mash the potato and black chickpeas and under dadu’s watchful eyes we popped each phuchka into our mouth. Two or three in a row, we are all giggling and asking Rampiyare to add more green chilies and some more tamarind in the mix.
Phuchka stands are sporadic all around Kolkata, but today their number is dwindling. Usually the Phuchakwalas carried the food half prepared on a huge basket with a flat top and a stand to place their stall on the corners of the streets with lots of footfalls.
Phuchka was, is, and shall be the all-time favorite street food of Bengalis. Very similar street food is also known as Golgappa and Panipuri in other parts of India.
Prep time: 30 mins Cooking time: 20 mins
Cuisine: Indian (Street food) For: Snack or Starter
1cup Semolina (fine)
¼ tsp baking powder
Salt to taste
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and then knead into tight dough adding water little at a time.
Cover with a wet cloth and let it stand for 25 mins, then knead it again to smooth the air pockets.
Make into balls and roll out evenly. Use a round small cutter and cut into the dough.
Heat oil and then slide as many as five circles into the oil. Fry till crispy, remove and place them on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
These puffs have a good shelf life. These might be stored for a two to three weeks in an airtight container.
Rock Salt/ Pink Salt
Roasted Spices (Toast cumin seeds and red chili and then grind to powder)
Chopped green chili
Red chili powder
Few tsp of the tamarind water
Boiled yellow peas with salt
Mix the boiled potato with all the spice, chili, and cilantro with drops of the tamarind water.
Add in the boiled yellow peas and make it into a filling.
Keep this in a bowl.
Rock Salt/ or Pink Salt
Roasted Spice (Toast cumin seeds and red chili and then grind to powder)
Finely chopped 2 green chilies
1/3 tsp sugar
1tsp lime juice
Finely chopped cilantro
Mix all the above ingredients in a cup of water and keep it in a bowl alongside the puris and the stuffing.
In a small bowl, take a puri. Punch in a small hole and spoon in some stuffing. Pour in the tamarind water into the puri and enjoy the burst of flavor. The outer crunch gets mixed with the spicy potato stuffing and all mixes well with the tangy tamarind water. It’s a festival in every mouthful.
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
Pix from Net.