Hello “Taste pe Attke” (Hooked on taste) foodies. It was a beautiful sunny day of Bangalore and I was waiting for a kind auto driver who could drop me to my destination without charging me extra. I saw her busy enjoying “Pani Puri”. The smile and expression on her face after stuffing the whole pani puri in her mouth drew me toward her effortlessly.
She gulped them and was religiously counting the number of puris served so that the thelawala (Vendor) doesn’t cheat her. As I am always in search of interesting stories, I felt that she might have a lip smacking tale to tell. I just asked her one question, “Do you love Pani puris?”
Like a true Miss Chatori she smiled -
“Oh Pani Puri, you mean puchka or golgappa, I just love them and sometimes feel I was born in a small town of UP just to have them." Do you know the correct way of eating them? Well, you should open your mouth as big as you can and put the whole puri in one shot. If you are too worried about your lipstick then it is not for you.
This is one Indian snack which is a true symbol of “Unity in Diversity”. Even though it has so many names and there are so many variations in terms of fillings and the water which is used but still the moment you think about it, you get “PANI” in your mouth. I could sense the pride with which Miss chatori was sharing her expertise on this subject. The aroma of minty, tangy and chatpata water which is used to fill this snack can draw you from miles.
From sauf (fennel seeds) water to cold masala (chat masala/ jaljeera) water, from sprouts filling to chilli- potato-chana filling, everyone has a different story.
Eating Pani Puri is an art and you have to be a pro, to enjoy it.
Do you think that “a Lot can happen only over coffee” Think again. Remember the pani puri competition in “Rab ne bana di Jodi”of SRK?
A lot of discussion and negotiation is required with the “PaniPuri Wala” (Vendor) before we take the bowl to enjoy it. Whether you want Khatta Pani (tangy water) or sweet pani (fennel seeds) or the combination, one or two plates? After all this discussion and understanding, it’s customized. And look at the knack of the Pani Puri wala, he can serve up to 20 people standing around him, without forgetting to customize it as per your requirement. I think this deserves a high profile case study to be taught in top MBA schools!
The happiness in opening your mouth wide open (Beware if flies are around, and they usually are) and awkwardly devouring the puri whole, The happiness in customizing it according to your taste buds and the happiness in counting the Puris to make sure that the vendor doesn’t cheat you and finally getting one dry puri (Sukha Puri) at the end of the feast as your birth right makes this delicacy one of India’s most loved snack. Is this possible with any other snack? Are you still reading it ….Seriously?