Mumbai (formerly Bombay) is where I spent my childhood in , through the lanes by the ‘100 feet road’, every evening I would navigate my way to the old ‘chaat shop’ for my evening snack. No evening was ever complete without a plate of Pani Poori – deep-fried crisp round bread (that’s hollow on the inside and very crisp on the outside). In this blog I share my childhood memories and the scrumptious food I ate. The Passion called Food was ignited by some simple dishes that are available on a daily basis in the Streets of Mumbai, the flavours still linger in the taste buds. The ingredients list looks long, but most are commonly used or found easily, we have tried and tested the recipes over and over again to recreate the Magic of the Flavours of the streets of Mumbai. You should too. Presenting three legends of the Mumbai Foodie Map – Pani Poori, Vada Pav and Bhel Puri.
Vada Pav (Makes about 10 balls; serves 10)
For the Batata Vada Ingredients:
- 2 Fresh Green Chilies, finely chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
- 1” piece of Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 tsp Black Mustard seeds
- A pinch of Hing (Asafoetida)
- 10 Curry leaves
- 500g boiled and mashed Potatoes
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Chaat masala
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- Salt, to taste
- 4 tbsp fresh Coriander leaves, chopped
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- 100g Chickpea /Besan (gram) flour
- ¼ tsp Ground Turmeric
- ¼ tsp Red Chilli Powder
- ¼ tsp Bi Carbonate of Soda
- 80ml water
Sweet chutney (Sonth Ki Chutney) Ingredients:
- 100 gm Tamarind, soaked in warm water (for 30 minutes)
- 6-8 Dates, pitted and soaked in warm water (for 30 minutes)
- 3/4 cup Jaggery
- 2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Rock Salt (Kala Namak)
- 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tsp Powdered Dry Ginger (Sonth)
- 1/4 tsp Powdered Black Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Chilli powder
- 1 tsp Chaat Masala
Dry Garlic Chutney (Thecha) Ingredients:
- 12 Medium Cloves of Garlic
- 5 Whole Dried Red Chillies
- 1 cup Dried coconut (Kopra)
- 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 1 tbsp Peanuts
- 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
- 1 tsp Tamarind
- 1 tsp Cooking oil
- Salt to taste
Green Chutney Ingredients:
- 1 Large Bunch Fresh coriander
- 15 Sprigs of Fresh mint leaves (De-stalk)
- 5 Fresh green chilies, chopped
- ¼ inch Ginger, chopped
- 1 Lemon (juiced)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Paani Poori – Paani Ingredients:
- 1 cup sonth chutney
- 2 cups Coriander Chutney
- 2 Tbsp Pani Poori Masala
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 8 cups water
Poori (makes about 40) Ingredients:
- 1 cup Fine Semolina
- 2 Tbsp Refined Flour
- 1 Tbsp Oil
- ¼ tsp Bi- Carbonate of Soda
- Salt to Taste
- Water to knead the dough
- Oil for deep-frying
- 4cm Round Cutter
Pani Poori Masala Ingredients:
- 25 grams cumin seeds,
- 25 grams coriander seeds,
- 25 grams red chili powder,
- 50 grams dry mango powder,
- 10 grams black pepper powder,
- 10 grams Dried Mint
- ½ tsp salt,
- 1 tbsp. black salt,
- ¼ tsp asafoetida,
- 1 tsp. Citric acid.
Paani Poori Stuffing Ingredients:
- 1 Cup Boiled Diced Potato
- 1 Cup Boiled Chickpeas
- 1 Tsp Chilli Powder
- 1 tsp Chaat Masala
Bhel Puri Ingredients:
- 2 Cups Puffed Rice (Murmura)
- ½ Cup Fine Sev
- ½ Cup Finely Chopped Onion
- ¼ Cup Diced Tomato
- 1 tbsp Chopped Chilli
- 1 Cup Potato – boiled and diced small
- 8 poories (use the flat unpuffed poori)
- ¼ Cup Peanuts – Roasted
- 1 tbsp Green Chutney – Mixed with little water
- ¼ Cup Date Chutney – Mixed with little water
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Salt to Taste
- ¼ cup Coriander Leaves Chopped
For the Batata Vada Method:
- Mash together the chilies, garlic and ginger.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and cook until they pop.
- Add the asafoetida, and the curry leaves and cook for 10 seconds.
- Add the crushed ginger garlic chilli paste and cook for about another 10 seconds. A
- dd the mashed potatoes, turmeric, Chaat Masala, Garam Masala and salt, then add the coriander and mix well.
- Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Make into 10 balls and refrigerate.
- Mix all the batter ingredients together, rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- To make the Vada, dip each potato ball in the batter.
- Deep-fry the balls in batches of 5 for about six minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over.
- Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper towels.
Anglo Indian All Spice Powder Method:
- In a frying pan on low heat sauté the spices for about 2 minutes.
- Let it Cool Using a coffee grinder powder till very fine.
- Store in airtight container.
Sweet chutney (Sonth Ki Chutney) Method:
- Soak the Dates and Tamarind in warm water, remove any seeds and blend to a thick puree,
- Dissolve the Jaggery in a pan with little water and bring to a boil, when dissolved add the spices, bring to a boil for about 2 minutes then add the Date and Tamarind puree, boil for another 2 minutes remove, cool and set aside.
Dry Garlic Chutney (Thecha) Method:
- Gently caramelize whole garlic cloves in a frying pan with a little cooking oil.
- Then add the Dry Red Chilli and Dry Coconut, dry roast in the pan till golden brown.
- Now add the sesame, peanuts and coriander seed roast for another 1 minute, remove and cool the mix.
- When cooled down completely blend together with the chilli powder and deseeded tamarind, season with salt.
- Store in a dry container.
Green Chutney Method:
- Blitz together all the ingredients to a fine puree, decant and chill in the refrigerator.
To Build the Vada Pav:
Slit open a Soft White Roll (do not cut it into half),Dab a spoon of the Sweet/ Sonth Chutney on the bottom half,Place a vada, press down and sprinkle the dry garlic chutneyOn the other half dab a spoon Green Chutney.Serve with Fried fresh green chilies (make a slight insertion and immerse in hot oil for 30 second)
Paani Poori – Paani Method:
- Mix all the ingredients together, chill and serve.
- To get the best out of the flavors, add a couple of cubes of ice when chilling.
Paani Poori – Poori Method:
- Put together Semolina, Refined Flour, 1 Tbsp oil and Salt, Mix well, add little water at a time and make a fairly stiff dough.
- Roll the dough very thin, (almost translucent), and cut into 4cms rounds with the cutter (don’t sweat if you don’t have a cutter, a bottle top will do the job.).
- Heat oil, and put as many roundels into very hot oil and lower the heat immediately.
- Fry till golden on both the sides.
- Store in an airtight container, will keep for weeks, it lasted about 10 minutes while we were testing.
- Some will puff up, which you can use for paani poori, and the rest for the Bhel Puri.
Pani Poori Masala Method:
- In a frying pan dry roast cumin seeds and coriander seeds.
- Let it cool then grind to a fine powder.
- Add to it the rest of the ingredients.Store in an airtight container.
Method For eating the Paani Poori:
- Break a hole in the center of the thinner side of the poori, and fill with a little potato and chickpea and sonth if so desired, then fill with the paani and eat the whole poori immediately.
Bhel Puri Method:
- In a Steel Mixing Bowl, Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined, then garnish with Chopped Coriander Leaves