Photograph by Grant Cornett Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Pani Puri

Amuse-Bouche from Issue 4 – Fall / Winter 2014 – Cocoon

Delectable, bite-sized fried snack food abounds in Indian cuisine, and pani puri is a shining example. In ours, miniature puri crepes are fried until the dough puffs up, then the hollow sphere is pierced and stuffed with chickpeas, potatoes, onion, and tangy tamarind chutney.

makes about 45 bites

Puri Dough
  • ½ cup fine semolina flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp plus 3 cups vegetable oil for frying

Tamarind Chutney
  • 1 (2-inch) chunk tamarind pulp
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • a pinch cayenne

Suggested Fillings
  • chopped red onion, cooked chickpeas, small cubes of boiled potato, chopped cilantro, sprouted beans, and yogurt for drizzling

  • 1

    Puri Dough: Mix semolina with baking powder and a pinch of salt. Stir in water until absorbed. Stir in all-purpose flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add oil and knead 3 minutes more. Wrap in plastic and rest 20 minutes at room temperature.

  • 2

    Roll out dough on a lightly oiled surface as thinly as you can. Cut out 1½ to 2-inch rounds, keeping rounds between 2 damp towels while cutting more.

  • 3

    Heat about 1½ inches of oil in a saucepan to 350-360°F. Fry puri in batches, turning as they rise to the surface and puff until pale golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a tray lined with paper towels. Heat 20 minutes in a 200°F oven to crisp before serving if needed.

  • 4

    Tamarind Chutney: Mash tamarind in 1½ cups water and let soak 30 minutes. Strain pushing pulp through a sieve into a saucepan. Stir in sugar, spices, and season with salt and pepper. Warm to dissolve sugar then cool.

  • 5

    Poke a fingertip-sized hole in puri top and add desired fillings. Drizzle with yogurt and tamarind chutney.