Thursday, April 26, 2012

pani puri

Do you ever get cravings for certain foods? Deep down in your gut, past your stomach, into your very soul? No? Well I do. Every now and then. Sometimes it's because I miss home, sometimes it's because I'm tired of chain restaurants and sometimes it's because I'm blue and certain foods comfort me. Sometimes it's because that food is just so gosh-darned good that just thinking about it makes me salivate.

Usually that food is of the Asian variety, and today is no exception.

Well, Indian. I have cravings for Chinese and Singaporean dishes all the time, but after going to India (see tab above for a full listing), I've added to my mental list of delicious, crave-worthy foods.

So you might remember my gushing drool over this dish: pani puri.
Photo is courtesy of my friend, Nikka, on our unbelievable India trip

Well, I wanted to try and make it. I went to an Indian food store, but they had no shells. *insert sad face.

So I dejectedly walked away, leaving my dreams of savory and tart, crunchy and satisfying pani puri behind.

UNTIL, I was walking through a Korean supermarket and behold, what is sitting on the shelves?! You guessed it. Boxes of pani puri shells. Did I do a little jig and dance in the middle of the aisle? No. But you betcha inside me there was a hallelujah party going down. Can you guess how fast I snatched at those boxes even though there was no one else in the aisle? I think I qualified for the Olympics.

Ok, now that I have the shells, time for the other ingredients. After much emailing with my trusty friend, Anu, several questioning looks and confused head scratches, I went back to that first Indian food store and a kindly gentleman showed me the way of all things pani puri. He handed me a box of spices that had a picture of fruit on the front (I tried to conceal my American white girl ignorance confusion of why the box labeled "pani puri" was the incorrect box), and a box of green juice concentrate.

More internal dancing ensued.

At this point, I had pretty much all the ingredients to make the pani puri, but no earthly clue as to how to do it. Enter Anu. Again. She sent me a video, but it confused me and it was long. So I kind of decided to just wing it.

Here is what I came up with:

Puri (shells)
Pani (green juice)
Chat masala (spices for the potato-garbanzo deal)
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
Tamarind-Date chutney

To Create:
1. Peel potatoes (cut them down to size--they cook faster. I only cut them in half after I figured this out, but you could cut smaller) and put in boiling water. Chop cilatro after.
2. Add in garbanzo beans when the potatoes are starting to feel soft. (Sorry I don't have a time on this, I just sort of gauged when the potatoes were almost done by cutting into them, then added the garbanzo beans so that they would be heated)
3. Once boiled, cut potatoes into whatever size you like. I made them smaller so that they would be easier to load into my shells. Efficiency, I say!
4. Season with the chat masala and cilantro. You can use as much or as little as you like- it really depends on your preference.
5. Prepare the green juice by adding water. Less water=more salty
6. Crack shell, insert potato mix, lob on tamarind-date chutney, drizzle some green juice and send that sucker to become best friends with your taste buds (don't worry, they're kindred spirits).

the spread.

watch where your drool lands.

Oh goodness. The sigh of satisfaction.

This was a pretty easy to put together, so no fear! As long as you get the spices, it's all good! And the shells. If you try it, let me know!

As for Abraham? He approves this message.

Tell me about your comfort foods! Which ones are default? Sweet? Savory?

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