Panipuri is a small snack commonly found in India. It is made from a small, hollow piece of fried flatbread known as a puri that is filled with mashed potatoes and other ingredients, then dipped or filled with flavored thick water and eaten immediately. The effect is that all the flavors of the panipuri are released in the mouth at once, providing a sweet, sour and salty taste at the same time. Street vendors often serve panipuri, although they must be prepared quickly and given to the customer to eat right away, because the liquids inside the hollow puri can quickly disintegrate the bread. Another way to serve the snack is to allow the guests to assemble each one as they wish.
Panipuri is a popular snack sold in open-air markets throughout India.
The small, bite-sized panipuri is made up of three, or sometimes four, separate items that are usually prepared separately. The first is puri bread, which can be prepared ahead of time and stored in a container. The second is the pani, or flavored water, with which the puri is eventually filled or dipped. The third part is the solid, crushed filling for the bread. Some recipes also call for a type of hot sauce that is poured over the filling.
Puri is a type of Indian bread made from flour, water, and oil. It is kneaded and rolled into flat disks. For panipuri, the disks should be small enough for the finished bread to fit into the mouth in one bite. The rounds of dough are fried in oil, where they puff up with steam, creating a delicate, hollow piece of bread.
Pani is a type of infused water in which the ingredients help to thicken the water. A common type of pani is made from tamarind, mint, chili peppers, cumin, ginger, and coriander. All ingredients are ground together or put in a blender and mixed with water. The mixture is cooled for a while, after which it is strained to keep the thick liquid smooth.
The filling for panipuri can vary greatly from area to area, although some combinations are more popular than others. Most fillings start with boiled potatoes that are mashed. Finely chopped onions, beans or grains, and sometimes yogurt are added to the potatoes and blended until smooth.
Some preparations also require a type of hot sauce. This is often made from tamarind paste, chili powder, cumin, and brown sugar that have been mixed together. Although not necessary, the hot sauce sometimes gives an extra sweet and sour flavor to the panipuri when the pani isn’t enough.
To make panipuri, the puri is placed on a plate and a hole is gently pierced in the top. The filling is placed inside, followed by the hot sauce on top. The pani can then be put into the puri, or the filled puri can be dipped into a container that holds the water. It is traditional to place the entire sandwich in your mouth at one time to appreciate the complexity of the dish and prevent water from seeping out.