This is the story of a girl who loves phuchka. The girl who thought she’d marry a phuchka wala when she turned 13.
The girl who wished to have the words “phuchka” carved on her epitaph upon her death. The girl who wanted a tattoo of phuchka on her heart. That girl is writing this post today.
My love for phuchka is famous. Even my in-laws joked that they’d have phuchka at my wedding reception, much to the shock of my Grandmother! Who still believes I will someday elope with a phuchka wala.
But why elope now? When I can make the meanest phuchka at home! And as a fringe benefit, I am married to a guy who is equally passionate about phuchka. Our getting-to-know-each-other over phone, emails, instant messenger was somehow always about that four letter word: F-O-O-D. Followed by the mention of the inevitable phuchka. After we got married, many times we’d do pillow-talk about phuchka too. Okay, I made that up.
I am a pretty tough girl when it comes to eating phuchka. I completely forget my hoity-toity convent education and get downright mainstream when it comes down to gulping phuckka after phuchka with élan. My personal best is a whopping 30!
I am also pretty touchy about calling my phuchka by the correct name. Its not pani-puri or gol gappa or gup-chup. Its phuchka. Pure unadulterated phuchka. The kinds you get on the streets of Calcutta.
I make the dipping water or phuchka’r jol by grinding together few sprigs of fresh coriander and a couple of green chillies. I then mix this paste with some tamarind pulp, kala namak, a pinch of red chilli powder, bhaja moshla and lemon juice. And pour enough water to fulfill the needs of dunking each stuffed phuchka in the water and then drinking little shot glasses of it on its own. You can throw in a few cubes of ice too. Just for special effects.
For the potato filling of the phuchka, I swing between using cooked lal chola (red gram) and yellow peas. I personally prefer the version with cooked yellow peas. Begin by pressure cooking the yellow peas (soaked overnight) with just enough water to cover them. One or two whistles should do it.
Now take ladlefuls of the cooked yellow peas and mix with boiled potatoes, chopped coriander, finely chopped green chillies (or green chilli paste if you can handle it!), bhaja moshla, kala namak, lemon juice and spoonfuls of the “water” we have already prepared. Give it a good mash, but just enough to retain the shape of the yellow peas. And please use your hand to do this.
It may be phuchka blasphemy for some, but I also add some chopped red onion to my potato-yellow peas mixture. I like it this way. You can completely give the onions a miss.
Since I am not that enterprising, I choose to use store-bought phuchka. Convenience does have its own charm. Poke each phuchka right at the center with your thumb. You will probably end up crushing at least two or three if you are a first timer. Pretend to be a pro. For phuchka’s sake!
Stuff a little of that potato mixture, quickly dunk in the spicy tamarind water and directly put the ready-to-eat phuchka in your mouth. This should happen in seconds. No dilly-dallying. Else you will not only make the phuchka soggy with the wet ingredients, you will also deprive yourself from a burst of flavours in your mouth by two nanoseconds.
So go ahead. Pop that phuchka in quickly. For next awaits you is a plateful of alu kabli.
P.S. Did you realize there was no story to tell in this post? I just wanted to way lead you into looking at some phuchka photographs.