If you’re planning to make pani puri, look no further than this recipe. I’ll tell you how to prepare a perfect pani puri appetizer and, most importantly, how to make the best pani puri water.
What is pani puri?
Pani puri, also known as golgappa, is a popular Indian street snack. You make this snack by filling a small fried hollow puri with a mixture of potatoes, chickpeas, and spiced water (pani). You can add different fillings like chutneys, chaat masala, onions, sev, as well.
If you love this snack, then you know that the “pani” or “water” is what makes pani puri. This recipe has the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and tangy. The pani is good enough to drink on its own (warning, it’s spicy) and even more amazing when poured into little puris.
My friends and family get so excited when I serve pani puri as an appetizer. It’s such a fun snack to eat – it’s really more like an activity. Guests assemble their own puris, filling them with potatoes and chickpeas, then they pour in the spiced water and eat the puri in one big bite. There’s something silly and playful about stuffing a water-filled puri in your mouth. I’ve served many different appetizers to friends over the years – but there’s no dish that gets people more excited than this particular street snack.
How to make pani puri:
- Make the pani: let it sit in the fridge so the flavors meld together.
- Make the filling: boil chickpeas and boil potatoes. You can keep them in separate bowls or mash them together and keep them in one bowl. Add salt, pepper, and cayenne so the filling isn’t bland. You can also always serve additional ingredients in separate bowls: chopped onion, sev, chutneys – but it’s not necessary.
- Assemble: Grab some tiny puris from the Indian grocery store. Tap the center to create a hole, then add the filling, and pour in some of the flavored pani, and eat the whole thing in one big bite!
Do I have to strain the pani?
Yes. I know it’s a pain, and I know you may have a blender that blends super well, but even still, strained pani results in a smoother sip. You won’t end up a bunch of sediment at the bottom of your pitcher or in your mouth. Trust me and strain the pani.
Where do I find the puris?
Buy them at your local Indian grocery store! Any brand will work. These little puris are time consuming to make at home (though I am working on a gluten-free recipe) so I highly suggest buying them.
Another recommendation: buy more than you think you’ll need. These go so quickly, especially when you’re hosting a group of people.
Tips + Ideas for making pani puri:
- Prep everything ahead of time: make the pani and the fillings ahead of time so that when it’s time to eat, everything is ready to go. The pani will taste better when chilled and after some time in the fridge.
- For the Filling: When I make pani puri for family, I’ll mash potatoes and chickpeas together in a bowl and use that as the filling, however when making this for friends, I’ll keep the potatoes and chickpeas separate so everyone can choose the filling they’d like to use. I suggest adding some salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne to the potatoes and chickpeas so that they’re not bland.
- Make a spicier pani: just add more green chilli to the blender! Easy.
- Make boozy pani: now I haven’t tried this myself but, according to my dad (pictured below), you can mix the pani with vodka and use that to make pani puri. Again, this tip is brought to you by my Punjabi father (who, fun fact, didn’t drink a drop of alcohol until the day I got engaged 😂). Here he is helping me set up for a photoshoot!
After you make and enjoy these tiny flavor bombs, give one of my other chaat recipes a try!
More Chaat Recipes
- 5 cups water divided
- 1 cup cilantro leaves 1.25 oz
- ½ cup mint leaves .40 oz
- 2 green chilli to taste
- ½ inch ginger
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
- 2 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons amchur
- 2 teaspoons roasted cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon ground fennel
- ¾ teaspoon black salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- Add 1 cup of water along with the remaining spiced pani ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Then add the remaining 4 cups of water and blend.
- Refrigerate the pani for 2-3 hours, or until chilled. Strain the water into a pitcher before serving. You can make this water and keep it in the fridge for 1-2 days ahead of time.
- To assemble pani puri: tap the center of the puri to make a small hole, then stuff the puri with potatoes and chickpeas, and pour the water inside to fill up the puri, then put the whole thing in your mouth and enjoy!
- For the Filling: you will want to boil chickpeas and potatoes ahead of time and keep them in the fridge. When I make this for family, I’ll mash the potatoes and chickpeas together in a bowl and use that as the filling, however when making this for friends, I’ll keep the potatoes and chickpeas separate so everyone can choose the filling they’d like to use. I suggest adding some salt, pepper, and a bit of cayenne to the potatoes and chickpeas so that they’re not bland.