The golgappa (also known as panipuri पानीपूरी ), is a popular street snack in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It consists of a round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of water (“pani”), tamarind, chilli, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas. It is small enough to fit completely into one’s mouth. It is a popular street food dish in Mumbai, Karachi, Lahore, Dhaka and Kolkata.
The name gol gappa refers to the crisp sphere (gol) that is placed in the mouth and eaten (gappa) one at a time. Pani comes from the Hindi word for water and puri (or poori) is the name of an Indian bread made by deep frying in oil. It is known as bataasha in the Western region of Uttar Pradesh. Bataasha is something which gets smashed with application of a slight pressure; the bataasha gets smashed as soon as it is placed inside the mouth. It is known as Puchka in Eastern Indian states like Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, also in Bangladesh. Because of the bursting sound in the mouth when it is eaten, called GUP CHUP in Orissa and South Jharkhand. Gol-Gappa or Pani Pataase in Madhya Pradesh, Gup-Chup or Gol-Gappa or Panipuri in Chhattisgarh. In several parts of Gujarat and Kutch. It’s commonly known as pakodi (પકોડી), not to be confused with pakoda.
The puritan originated from the Magadh region of India, present day South Bihar where it is also known as phoolki. The English meaning of golgappa is “watery bread” or “crisp sphere eaten.” The literal meaning suggests that it may have originated from Banares.
In West Bengal and specifically Kolkata, Puchka is considered to be the king of this variety of snacks, compared to its cousins like golgappas or panipuris. The filling is made by lightly mashing boiled potatoes with black salt, salt, some spices, a generous portion of tamarind pulp (made by mashing ripe tamarind in tamarind water), chilli (powder/chopped/boiled & pasted). The tamarind water Tetul Jol is made by mixing tamarind, spices, and salt and making a light and tart liquid with water. At some places like Deshpriya Park, a very famous variety is made with sour curd, and called Dahi Puchka. Onions are never used in Puchkas.
Presentation of Panipuri
Typically, 5–8 panipuris are served over a portion on a triangular plate made from dry sal leaves. Some places offer panipuris prepared on a whole plate, but the popular way for them to be served is one-at-a-time from a road-side vendor. Customers hold a small plate and stand around the vendors cart. The server then starts making one panipuri at a time and gives one to each individual. Panipuri servers have to remember each customer’s preferences such as sweetened pani, more filling or extra onions, for example. The server must keep count of how many panipuris each person has had.
Traditionally, panipuris are eaten by placing the entire puri into the mouth in one go and biting into it. This releases a barrage of tastes and textures. Panipuris may be finished off with a cup of the pani, sweetened or made more tart, to taste.
While many regions in India have their own variations of the panipuri, the most famous ones are from Kolkata, called ‘Puchka’.
In Lucknow, this dish is known as “Pani ke bataashe”, which means a crispy round dish having spicy water inside. A hole is made using a thumb in the “Bataasha” and a small amount of boiled peas is filled inside it and then the “Bataasha” is dipped in the spicy water or “Pani”. In the Lucknow region the Pani is prepared using mint, tamarind, asafoetida (hing), black pepper, red chilli powder and salt. At Hazaratganj in Lucknow you can savour Paanch Swaad Ke bataashe which means the bataashe are served with five differently tasting Pani one after another.
In most parts of India, a panipuri is made with flavoured water. Some examples are imli ka pani (tamarind in water), nimbu ka pani (lemon juice in water), pudine ka pani (mint in water) and khajur ka pani (dates mixed in water). In West Bengal, Orissa, Mithilanchal part of Bihar and the southern part of Jharkhand, many people enjoy panipuris containing no sweet but with tamarind juice and spicy mashed potato.
In Jamshedpur, a mixture of hot “chole” made of yellow peas, boiled smashed potato, lots of fresh onion pieces, green chillies, tamarind juice and spices are mixed to make stuffing for golgappe. There are two types of golguppe: with tamarind water (phulki) or dry (papadi).
One needs to break open the golgappe and stuff the mixture into it and put tamarind water in it. Papadi are those golgappe which are mostly flat. All the stuffing goes on the top of the papadi.
In Maharashtra, by contrast, the recipe is usually spicier and contains boondi or sprouts in addition to other ingredients. Panipuris are also eaten with curd and different types of masalas such as onion, sev (a type of besan vermicelli without any spices & seasoning)|(a fried snack shaped like thin noodles made from besan flour), and mixture (a mix of different types of fried snacks mixed together) or Bhujia along with available seasonal nuts, as the base of the snack.
- 1 cup mint leaves
- 2 - 4 green chillies, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons tamarind paste
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon black salt
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon asafetida
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups water, or to taste
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- ¾ cup fine semolina flour
- ½ cup water, or as required
- Blend everything except the water together to make a fine paste. While blending, add water as needed to blend.
- Taste to adjust the green chilies as they can be mild or hot. Add more lemon juice, sugar, and salt as needed to your desired taste. Remember you will be adding more water to dilute so paste should be spicier. Strain the paste using water as needed.
- After straining mix the paste with remaining water or adjusting to the taste.
- The pani (water) will taste best if refrigerated for a day.
- Mix the flour and sooji. Add water as needed to make firm dough. Knead the dough until it is pliable. Cover the dough with a damp cloth for about ten minutes.
- Damp two kitchen towels, spread one damp towel over a baking sheet or plain surface, close to where you are going to fry the puris.
- Divide the dough into about 60 small balls. Keep them under a damp cloth.
- Start rolling each ball to about a 5 cm diameter circle. Place over a damp towel and cover with another damp towel. Do this for all 60 puris. Tip: Placing the puris between damp cloths helps the puris to puff evenly on all sides.
- Heat the oil on medium high heat. Oil should be about 4 cm high in frying pan. To test the oil, put a little piece of dough in the oil. The oil is ready if the dough comes up right away and does not change colour.
- Start frying the puris, starting first with the puri you first rolled.
- Put one puri in the oil and press lightly. When it puffs turn over and put another puri in the oil. Keep adding six to eight puris at a time. Fry the puris until they are golden-brown all around by turning a few times. You may adjust the heat as needed while frying.
- Take the puris out and place over paper towel, so the excess oil is absorbed. TIP: When taking the puris out of the frying pan, make sure to tilt the skimmer so that the excess oil is drained before placing on the paper towel.
- Fry all the puris. They should be crisp and puff like a ball.
- Pani puris are served by making a small hole in each puri. Fill the puris with boiled and chopped potatoes, or boiled chickpeas. Finish by filling each puri with the spicy pani (water).