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Jul 30

Prepare Phuchka (Golgappa) at home

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“When people wore hats and gloves, nobody would dream of eating on the street. Then white gloves went out of style and, suddenly, eating just about anything in the street became OK.”

-          Jane Addison, quoted in the Great Food Almanac by Irena Chalmers

Street food in Kolkata epitomizes the pada (neighborhood) culture. Having something at the nearest roadside vendor is not only about eating and fulfilling ones gastronomic urges, but it is also a means of having food with family, friends and sometimes even strangers. Street foods that are in vogue are phuchka, jhal muri, papri chat, muri makha, vegetable chop, and beguni, but phuchka ranks above all. Someone from South Calcutta won’t find it a pain to travel all the way to Bowbazar (for the uninitiated in Calcutta’s geography, Bowbazar is almost an hour drive from South Calcutta) just to confront his friends that the phuchka wala at his pada is better than theirs.

Now, by “street food”, I don’t mean what one can get in the big or even the small restaurants, roadside food is that what you get from the makeshift stalls on the foot path of whole of Bengal. There are also other names for it in the different states of India. Some call it Pani Puri, some golgappa. But if you ask any Calcuttan he/she will say phuchka is definitely different from golgappa or panipuri. The difference may be obscure, probably it’s only the colloquial term that varies, but there is a little difference in one of the ingredients that significantly differentiates phuchka from all its synonyms. The vendors in Bengal use gandhoraj lebu (a typical lemon produced in suburbs of Bengal) to flavor the filling and the tamarind water of phuchka. And this is where all the difference is.

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Kolkata street food is such a rage, that there are places in different part of India and even abroad holding “Calcutta street food festival”. When I started having phuchka, as far as I remember it was 5 for a rupee and the last time I had it back in Kolkata I got three for two rupees. Though here in Bangalore there are places where you get pani puri that almost tastes like those back in Kolkata, but are highly priced. Talking about phuchka, I can’t leave the phuckhwalas, people who sell the phuchka. They are mostly from Bihar/Jharkhand, and you just can’t beat them with their style of the phuchka preparation.

Cooking time: 8-10min

Preparation time: 12min

Makes 20 phuchka

Ingredients:

  • Phuchka balls: 20
  • Potato(Alu): 2 large
  • Whole Bengal gram (Chola): 2 tablespoon, soaked
  • Green chili (Kacha Lanka): 4, chopped finely
  • Cumin (Jeera): 1 teaspoon, roasted and then grinded
  • Lemon juice (Pati lebu ras): 1 teaspoon
  • Cilantro (Dhane pata): Chopped to 2 tablespoon
  • Tamarind pulp (Tetul): 4 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Boil the potatoes with the skin on, peel off after boiling and mash properly so that no lumps remain
  • Add soaked bengal gram green chili, cumin powder, lemon juice, one tablespoon of cilantro to the mashed potato and mix well
  • Take the tamarind pulp in a big bowl and add 2 cups of water to it with salt and the rest of the cilantro, mix well
  • Add 2 tablespoon of the tamarind water to the mashed potatoes and keep the rest aside
  • Break just the upper part of one phuchka ball and put in one teaspoon of the filling, fill the other balls also similarly
  • Serve with the rest of the tamarind water
Phuchka with tamarind water

Phuchka with tamarind water

Hot Tips – Though not the basic component, you may also like to add some chopped onions to the filling to make it spicier.

Further Reading – Rasta Nasta, Sasta way, Crazy Street Food of Kolkata

Phuchka is the ideal recipe to send for the “Family Recipe” event at The Life and Loves of Grumpy Honey Bunch co-hosted by Laura of The Spiced Life.

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23 comments

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  1. vinay

    We can write a cook book on Calcutta Puchka, I am sure it will find its place in the History of Cooking. A complete stress buster and you are never full. GIVE ME MORE is what your tummy keeps shouting. I love them rather I cant live without them.

  2. manisha

    sperbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

    i want still more recipes guys tell me something

  3. subhransu

    what a taste………

  4. Garden Groom

    Thanks to Sudeshna Banerjee you said “If you don’t find the balls at your nearby store, you can prepare it at home too. Just knead semolina and whole wheat flour together with little water. make small puris and deep fry them.”

    I couldn’t find the balls at a store and was wondering what I was going to do untill I read your post. Thanks!

  5. kate

    “a means of having food with family, friends and sometimes even strangers.”

    Wow, huge meaning behind good food. Thanks for the recipe. Im cooking this… am finding nice food to cook. Will update my progress here, i hope i can cook the taste that its suppose to be, wish me luck on that :0

    thanks
    kate
    my blog: Jewel Mint

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Kate,
      Thanks for your comment here. All the best on your venture :)

  6. Arijit

    Hehe – thats fankibaji! It doesn’t give the recipe for phuchkas – just tells how to stuff them.

  7. Paula

    Thank you very much for this recipe. I was looking for this for quite a while. I am a great fun of phuchhka, but being abroad, unfortunately I could do nothing else, rather than miss this flavour. I will try to do this as soon as possible, to get the long missing taste of Kolkata.

    Thank you once again and I am adding your website to favourites. The other recipes also look yummy :)

    P.S. In Bangalore, I was getting 8 phuchhkas for 10Rs (1 month back) in Indiranagar, 11th Main. On the opposite side of Spencers. There is one guy there, who makes them incredibly well.

  8. PreeOccupied

    I add boiled red chana/ sprouted moong to the alu mix and its so yummy!
    .-= PreeOccupied´s last blog ..Achy Breaky Heart And Samosas Over Chai =-.

  9. Kalyan

    this remined me of how I made phuchkas in the chaat counter of the Park Hyatt Goa buffet… never enjoyed a meal in a five star as much
    .-= Kalyan´s last blog ..Calcutta Phuchkas … and the world of Bengali nicknames =-.

  10. Anuradha

    another tip to make the puchka masala really like what we get at home – You can add a bit of Cajun Seasoning to the alu .Infact a combination of chaat masala , cajun seasoning, tamarind paste, salt , dhania pata and cayenne pepper is THE formula for the puchka masala . Adjust according to your taste.

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Anuradha,
      Thanks a lot for the wonderful tip.

  11. bristi das

    plz tell me how can i made phuchka BALL ????

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Bristi,
      Thanks for dropping by. I need to say this, I have never tried out making the balls at home, but its almost similar to making puris or luchis. All you need to do is take same amount of maida and suji and make the dough, then prepare the small round flat round with a rolling pin. Fry these in oil.

  12. Rashmi

    Hi Sudheshna,

    Golgappas here are mouthwatering, will definitely tryout sometime and thanks for sharing it here :)

    Rashmi
    .-= Rashmi´s last blog ..Saagu/Mixed vegetable in spicy coconut gravy =-.

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Rashmi,
      Thanks for dropping by and for the comment :)

  13. Laura

    Thanks so much for submitting. This looks wonderful.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Reflections On Gardening: Green Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad =-.

  14. HoneyB

    Thank you so much for participating! Your Phuchka looks absolutely delish!

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Shelby,
      Thanks for visiting my blog and also accepting this recipe for the event.

  15. Parita

    I am crazy behind pani puris, here in swiss we dont get puris so once i made them at home :) thats a bit tedious but was totally worth it!
    As for your question, i usually dont prefer micro for baking and i have never tried to bake in micro too, if you halve the recipe and then try out, hope this helps :)

  16. sangi

    Wow!this dish is really new to me..tnx
    Ist time here u have an awesome space here!!!
    .-= sangi´s last blog ..Paneer dishes =-.

    1. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Hi Sangi,
      Thanks a lot for visiting. I hope you get the pani puri balls from the market, and if you don’t get it then you can prepare it with same quatity of semolina(suji) and wheat flour (maida), knead to a dough, and then deep fry like puri.

    2. Sudeshna Banerjee

      Hi Sangi,
      Thanks for visiting our blog. I hope you’ll prepare it at home. If you don’t find the balls at your nearby store, you can prepare it at home too. Just knead semolina and whole wheat flour together with little water. make small puris and deep fry them.

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