Time for a little street food…
This is my first attempt to make gol guppa (also known as pani puri). I first came across this delicious snack when I was studying in Manchester. If you’ve ever visited the rainy city, you may have heard of the Curry Mile – a long stretch of Asian shops and restaurants (and a real treat for a gourmande like me!). When I needed a little cheering up I would take a wander to the spice shops and buy all sorts of exotic ingredients.
There were also amazing sweet shops with beautiful displays of brightly-coloured Indian delicacies. One of the best treats available in these shops was gol guppa.
Gol guppa take a little assembling. First a hole needs to be made in the puri (the crispy fried disc). There is a knack to doing this without crushing the whole thing accidentally – one side is usually a little thinner than the other. Once you’ve made a hole, spoon in your filling and then top up with the spiced water. Here’s where it gets a little awkward. If you try to bite it, the whole thing falls apart. The only option is to just go for it and put the whole thing into your mouth (and it’s not a pretty sight – I prefer to eat these in the privacy of my own home 🙂 ) As the puri cracks, the flavours burst into your mouth – the spiced water is really refreshing. The whole dish is served cold, so it makes an excellent snack in the summer.
These are sold as street food in India, with a variety of fillings and seasonings according to regional preference – maybe one day I’ll be able to go and sample some… For now I’ll make do with my own, filled with potato, chickpeas and a little chopped shallot. I haven’t perfected the balance of flavours in the spiced water yet as it’s really quite complex – it’s going to take some experimentation to get it just right. It contains some tamarind for tangyness, mint and coriander for coolness, and a special spice blend (chaat masala) to finish off.
If you’re sharing these with someone, be quick – they won’t last long!
If you fancy having a go at these there’s loads of recipes on the internet. If you don’t have access to a good shop for all the ingredients, try looking here. Good luck, and let me know if you find the perfect recipe for the spice water!