Get ready for a flavour explosion at Indian Tiffin Room
Paani puri is one of India’s most enduring street foods. It seems that everyone loves it. It brings people together. From Bollywood stars and businessmen to rickshaw-wallahs and housewives, all of India queues at humble paani puri vendors to get their fix of this spicy, crunchy wonder, bonding over its comforting flavours.
Chickpeas, spiced potato, tamarind, coriander chutney, pomegranate seeds and a refreshing minty water – with elements of searing heat – all encased in a delicate spherical shell; it may sound like culinary chaos, a pick ‘n’ mix of tastes and textures, but that’s exactly how it works its magic. Paani puri is the god of Indian street food.
And to make it even more appealing, this legendary food stuff even has its own legends about how it came to be.
Firstly, it’s suggested that its origins lie in one of the ancient kingdoms of India, the Magadhan Empire, on the banks of the River Ganges, in what is now part of the state of Bihar. A bit dry and geographical this one, so probably true.
This history of the paani puri has a bit more zing – just like the paani puri itself. In the Sanskrit epic poem, the Mahabharata, the narrative goes that Draupadi returned home to her mother-in-law after her wedding to be met with a challenge so if this legend is not the source of paani puris, it is at least the source of all mother-in-law jokes and stereotypes.
Her mother-in-law wanted to know Draupadi could cope in times of hardship so she instructed her to make a meal for her five hungry sons using only enough dough to make one puri and some leftover potato sabzi. Using her ingenuity, Draupadi invented the paani puri and the meal so satisfied everyone that her mother-in-law was delighted and blessed the dish making it immortal which is how it has survived to this day.
Also, I’d hazard a guess, it has survived because it’s so addictively tasty.
If you feel like paani puri is something you could get addicted to, why not watch the Confidential team take up Indian Tiffin Room’s paani puri challenge?
Everyone has five paani puris which they fill with spiced water of increasing firepower and devour. The person who reaches for the soothing lassi first is the loser. Of course, in reality, there are no losers because everyone gets to tuck in to delicious paani puri. It’s great fun to try with friends.
TIP: Look out for Kevin’s face turning a darker shade of puce with each mouthful…
Like and share the video, tag your friends who would be up for the experience and you could be taking part. You’ll be entered into a draw and the winner will bring three friends for their own paani puri challenge. You’ll get a round of drinks and the winner will receive a free main meal.