Tangy, Zingy Kolkata Phuchkas

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.

Our Phucckawala was Rampiyare. His village was in northern India. Rampiyare made the best Churmur (another dish that Phuchkawalas make, will keep it for a separate post).

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



2cups of all purpose flour                                   

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.



Boiled and peeled potatoes                                                                

Rock Salt/ Pink Salt

Roasted Spices (Toast cumin seeds and red chili and then grind to powder)

Chopped green chili

Chopped Cilantro

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.

Tamarind Water


Strained water of tamarind pulp                                     

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

Chat masala

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.

Anumita C. Roy

Anumita C. Roy

Anumita Chatterjee Roy is an artist at heart. She has an eye for the unusual. Her naturescapes make her the quintessential Romantic. She paints, is passionate about photography, creates word images in her verses and loves to write. She cooks delicacies and is a foodie. Born in India, she was brought up in several countries. These strengthened the global citizen in her. She now lives in the Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two sons.
Anumita C. Roy