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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Lockdown cravings: Missing street food? Try Kolkata-style puchkas at home

While homemade street food brings families together, it also encourages you to use best quality ingredients in the most hygienic environment.

Written by Shalini Rajani | New Delhi |
April 19, 2020 9:48:12 am
homemade street food, phuchka, healthy eating, indian express, indian express news You can always balance the spice with a sweet tamarind and dates dip. (Photo by Shalini Rajani)

What is Puchka in Kolkata and Gupshup in Raipur, is precisely a Golgappa for me, having been born and brought up in Uttar Pradesh. I hardly imagined there could be a no-fuss recipe with bare minimum ingredients until I came across Usha Agarwal Aunty from Gurugram. She is my friend Kirti’s mother-in-law.

She accepted my invite to participate in my 21-day live cooking campaign that ran on Instagram and, as it turned out, that’s the day I had maximum viewership. The craving for street-style puchkas was genuine.

So today’s recipe credit goes to her. I am so proud that I could instantly try it out to share with you all here. Here is a step by step recipe to help you understand a few important pointers too.

KOLKATA STYLE PUCHKAS (makes approximate 30 pieces)

Ingredients for Puchkas:

· 1/2 Cup Semolina (Sooji)

· 2 teaspoon Refined Flour (Maida)

· Pinch of Salt

· Water to knead

· Oil for frying

Ingredients for Potato Stuffing:

· 4 Medium sized Potato

· 50 gms Boiled Black Chickpeas (Kala Chana)

· 2 tsp fresh coriander leaves and stems chopped

· 1 tsp Black Salt

· Rock Salt to taste

· ¼ tsp Black Pepper Powder

· ¼ tsp Red Pepper Powder

· ½ tsp Cumin Powder

· Lemon Juice (optional)

Ingredients for Mint Coriander Spicy Water

· 50 Gms Mint Leaves (Pudina)

· 50 Gms Coriander Leaves (Dhaniya)

· 50 Gms Raw Mangoes

· 50 Gms Tarmarind Pulp (Imli)

· 2 Green Chillies (whole)

· 2 tsp Black Salt

· Rock Salt to taste

· ¼ tsp Black Pepper Powder

· ¼ tsp Red Pepper Powder

· ½ tsp Cumin Powder

· Lemon Juice (optional)

· Fresh coriander leaves chopped to garnish

Method for kneading dough and frying puchkas:

1. Mix all puchka ingredients and knead it with water. Make sure you keep the dough loose and easy to handle.

2. Cover with wet muslin cloth and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

3. After 20 minutes, knead again and ensure there are no cracks in the dough.

4. Divide the dough in four parts and start rolling out one part.

5. Take a round cookie-cutter (or any bottle cap of appropriate size) and cut small circles from the rolled-out dough.

6. Deep fry them, initially at high flame and then on low flame. This will help the puchkas to fluff properly and get crispier while frying.

homemade street food, phuchka, healthy eating, indian express, indian express news Add coriander leaves for garnishing, and add ice cubes before serving. (Photo by Shalini Rajani)

Method for stuffing:

1. Boil potatoes and chickpeas separately. Allow them to cool completely.

2. Peel the boiled potatoes, mash them with hands and mix all the ingredients and adjust spices as per your taste.

4. Add lemon juice as well (optional).

5. You may also add a little mint and coriander spicy water you prepared for puchkas.

Method for Mint Coriander Spicy Water:

1. In a blender, add mint, coriander leaves, green chillies and raw mango pieces.

2. Separately soak raw tamarind in lukewarm water for 20 minutes and sieve it to get tamarind water.

3. Now mix mint coriander water with tamarind water.

4. Add all spices and salt. You can always vary the quantity as per your taste.

5. Add coriander leaves for garnishing.

6. Add ice cubes before serving.

How to serve:

1. Take a crispy puffed up Puchka and make a hole in the centre.

2. Add potato filling and spicy mint coriander water.

Important tips:

1. When kneading the dough, make sure you cover it with wet muslin cloth for 20 minutes. The cut out circles too need to be covered to stay moist.

2. Deep fry Puchkas initially at high flame to allow them to puff perfectly and then on low flame to help them get crispier from inside too.

3. You can always balance the spice with a sweet tamarind and dates dip.

4. This recipe needs a little practice and you have enough time to do so during the lockdown.

5. The puchkas that could not rise makes an awesome platter of Dahi Papdi chaat. You can use all the spices mentioned for potato chickpeas filling.

Health benefits of homemade chaat (Puchkas)

While homemade street food brings families together, it also encourages you to use best quality ingredients in the most hygienic environment. Commercial street food is high in salt and sugar, but here you have the liberty of portion control and ingredients of your choice like jaggery instead of sugar, Rock salt instead of commercial ones.

Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative and healthy cooking workshops for all age groups.

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