Do I sound too smug when I say that Phuchka is the world’s best street food!?
Spicy, tangy, crunchy, and mouth-wateringly delicious. That’s phuchka for you. If you are not already overwhelmed by the cumulative taste quotient of this Indian (Bengal and Bihar) snack, I’d like to delve deeper into how I like to eat my phuchka. And yes, my post is all about phuchka and not gol gappa, paanipuri, gup-chup, pani bataasha or whatever other names it is known as in the other parts of India.I have had the good fortune of having phuchka in Calcutta, Patna, Jamshedpur, New Delhi (CR Park) and yes, in Bangalore too! Right in the heart of Banerghatta Road by a phuchka wala from Benaras. It was my daily ritual to cross the street from where I worked, and walk to this small shack which sold nothing but phuchkas. Pavlov’s Theory would repeat itself Monday through Friday 4:40 PM on the dot.
I think I still have a deep relationship with phuchka. Else how would you explain my marrying a man who relates to my phuchka sensibilities, and demonstrates his love for me and phuchka by using the same endearments.
No matter how many phuchkas I eat, I crave for more. And today I have been finally successful in taking pictures of this homemade street food before P and I smacked every one of them off.I get the phuchkas (readymade) from the Indian stores. In India too, I never attempted to make them at home. I guess no clear-thinking person would!
Today I diverted from my usual stuffing of black gram and moong sprouts to only the latter. I was pretending to make my puchkas “healthy”!
To enjoy this street food at home, you need:
1 box of readymade gol gappas/ phuchkas
100 gms black gram / chana soaked overnight
100 green moong soaked overnight
1 small onion finely chopped (optional)
1 large potato boiled
100 gms fresh coriander
100 gms mint leaves
3-4 green chilies
2-3 tsps tamarind pulp
50 gms jaggery
1 tbsp bhuna masala (aka the quintessential Bengali “bhaja moshla”; equal proportions of jeera and dhania dry roasted and coarsely ground)
1 tsp red chili powder
½ tsp dry ginger powder
Make the green chutney with fresh coriander, mint, green chilies, salt and lemon juice. Blend all these ingredients in a smooth chutney and keep aside.
I use this green chutney to mix in the the water filling of the phuchkas.
In a saucepan, mix the jaggery and tamarind with salt, red chili powder, dry ginger powder and bhuna masala. Boil for 10 mins, stirring frequently to make a sweet/sour chutney. Cool and keep aside to add to the water for the phuchka with the green chutney.
Boil the black gram and moong and strain. Make a filling for the phuchka with mashed potato, boiled gram and moong, chopped onions, chopped green chilies, chopped fresh coriander, chaat masala, bhuna masala, red chili powder, black salt and lemon juice. Mix them well.
Now make the phuchka dip water with cold H2O (some ice cubes thrown in), green chutney, tamarind- jaggery chutney, bhuna masala, black salt, red chili powder, chaat masala and very finely chopped fresh coriander.
And if you can handle the heat, top with some some finely chopped green chilies.
If you do not have fresh mint leaves or coriander leaves, you can also alternate with ice-cubed mint leaves. I usually preserve extra mint leaves this way.Fill the phuchkas with the potato filling and the chutney water and have a blast! I use my shot glasses to serve the spicy water, and its quite an experience taking shots of it!
We have tried mixing tequila and vodka in the filling-water at different occasions, and each time I have had to drain it down the sink only to make the water filling once again.
Lesson learnt: Do not mess with the real deal.
See more phuchka photos here.