Friday, November 02, 2012

The Girl with the Phuchka Tattoo

This is the story of a girl who loves phuchka. The girl who thought she’d marry a phuchka wala when she turned 13.

024The 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.

039My 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.

031But 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.

033Now 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.

037With all our bombastic, homemade ingredients now ready, its time to set your mouth on a flavourful fire.

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!

050Stuff 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.


poorna banerjee said...

eeee!!! Phuchka blasphemy!! Phuchka blasphemy!!
BTW, you should totally add knacha lonka bata than kucho.

one brave duck said...

yummy! looks so good... cannot wait to try... and yes, i will probably make a BIG mess...

Pree Basu said...

@Poorna, Its NOT blasphemy if the person committing it warns you about it. ;-)

Indrani said...

my mouth is perfectly round phuchkas, absolutely droolworthy pics as usual

Kuntala said...

Pree, shudhu chhobiguloi to khun kore phelar pokkhe porte bhoy lagchhe bishwas koro. asadharon, anobodyo, adbhut. bneche thako.

Chandan said...

mindblowing ! I can taste the spicy, sweet, sour water filled bombs just lokking the pictures!

Chandan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vasudha S said...

Yummy pictures!!!!

TheKeyBunch said...

yummm! :)

Pia said...

your phuchkas made me miss home - they look perfect. it was lovely to have you stop by my blog. thanks for the sweet comment :)

Nirveen Kaur said...

Lady i just love your recipes and your blog.m a silent follower of your's for long but this post did me in.....i just loveeee paanipuri n m definitely gonna try this one!

Amrita Vishal said...

Though I can't really relate to your love with the in kolkata I sure have witnessed scores of people MAD after them. Even at 10 at night I have see people lining and waiting for their turn to devour these devils. Loved your writing and pics.

Pree Basu said...

@Amrita, you don't have to relate to someone else's love for any food/dish/ingredient. I am sure you will have your own list you love.

Chandrani Banerjee said...

Uff....lip smacking..golgol phuchka looks amazing.jibe jol ese gelo.

Chandrani Banerjee said...

Uff....lip smacking..golgol phuchka looks amazing.jibe jol ese gelo.