Lazy Pani Puri
If you have never had Pani Puri, then you absolutely need to. The concept is pretty simple - small little puri's (little fried puffs of doughs usually made from wheat or semolina), filled with spiced potatoes and filled with pani (spiced water) and can be dressed in many ways. You can top it with an Indian yogurt and sav (small crispy pieces of crunchy noodles made from chickpea flour paste). My favorite is adding chickpeas and pomegranate seeds for an extra bite of sweetness.
Obviously this Indian snack/lunch is not carnivore friendly however I have a certified Pani Puri eating machine with me. It literally is his absolute favorite and can eat a ton of them. In Chicago, we have a "Little India" of sorts where a ton of restaurants and grocery stores are but it's not exactly that close to us so it's not something that he can go whenever he feels like it because it becomes an all-afternoon trip. In fact, we went there yesterday to get some groceries and he was dying to eat some Pani Puri at a local restaurant. However, it was fairly full and indoors so didn't feel comfortable eating there. Also, the people that were walking around Devon Street where most of the shops were, weren't the most conscientious people with their masks...that's right, you need to cover your mouth AND your nose for them to be effective people! (ok venting done)
So why is my recipe lazy? Because I don't have the time or the mental energy needed to make all the small puri's. Not to mention, I have a healthy fear of deep frying things myself. It's like the grill for me...I don't do it often enough to feel comfortable not hurting myself and others. Plus, and this is most of all, I like recipes that don't take too much time! My lazy recipe literally takes as long as it takes to boil 2 large potatoes. While that is happening, I put the rest of the components together so as soon as the potatoes are done, it all comes together in a matter of minutes.
So first, boil the potatoes. Unpeeled and in cold water that you then boil ensuring that the potato cooks evenly. Also generously salt the water as the potato absorbs the flavoring.
Second, prepare your cheats. What are these you may ask? Well, remember that I was at the Indian grocery store and whilst I was there, I got these two bad boys:
That's right! Pre-made puri's and a Pani Puri water concentrate. Because my time is worth eleventy times that! The puri's you just need to tap small holes on the top so that you create an opening to comfortably put in the spiced potato filling into it. The concentrate, you just prepare based on the instructions - in this case, 250mL of chilled water with 4 Tbsp of the concentrate. Done and done.
Okay, now onto the prep work which is very little. It all consists of basic ingredients. You can certainly tweak them as you see fit based on your tastes. I like things spicy hence the 2 Thai chilies. I would definitely keep it to 1 milder chili for most people hence what I will put in my recipe. You choose how far you are willing to go!
Once the potatoes are tender, peel them and lightly mash them. I use a potato masher but I don't necessarily want a mashed potato consistency...some small chunks adds texture and makes it easier to stuff into the little shells.
Add in all the spices and vegetables and taste. Adjust the salt as needed and you are good to go! Only thing left is to compile the Pani Puri and stuff them into your mouth!
Doesn't get yummier than that and literally took no effort at all!
Lazy Pani Puri
2 large russet (or yukon) potatoes, boiled, peeled and lightly mashed
1/4 cup onions, chopped finely
salt to taste
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp chaat masala
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp mint chutney (link where you can get this)
50 piece puri's (amazon has these amazing ones that are dried that you can MICROWAVE!)
250 mL chilled water
4 Tbsp of Pani Puri concentrate (link to where you can get this)
black or regular chickpeas
red onion, finely chopped
In a mixing bowl, add the boiled potatoes, onion, chili, cilantro and spices and mix well.
Add the mint chutney and mix again. Set aside.
Take how ever many puri's that you want and carefully poke holes to the top. Fill the holes with the potato mixture. Add optional garnishes if you choose.
Serve with a bowl of the Pani Puri water. You want to fill the puri entirely with the water and eat immediately before it gets soggy.
Sooooo so good and can be made over and over again because as Ina Garten would say, "how easy was that?"!