Diary of a Foodie

Panni Poori (Indian-Spiced Potato-Stuffed Crisps with Tamarind-Herb Water)

Diary of a Foodie: Season Two: Southern India: The Spice of Life

Makesabout 60 small crisps
  • Active Time:30 min
  • Start to Finish:4 1/2 hr
January 2008

For Panni (Tamarind-flavored Water)

  • 1 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 (4 to 5-inch-long) thin fresh hot green chiles, coarselychopped, including seeds if desired
  • 1/3 cup seedless tamarind from a pliable block
  • 1 mango, peeled, pitted, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon black salt
  • 2 tablespoons boondi (tiny crisp lentil balls)

For Potato Filling

  • 4 medium boiling potatoes (about 1 lb)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (Indian spice blend)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 cup canned kala chana (black chickpeas)
  • 2 (190-g) packages pooris (30 per package)

Make panni:

  • Purée mint, cilantro, chiles, tamarind, mango, cumin seeds, and 2 cups water in a blender until smooth. Stir together purée and remaining 2 cups water in a large bowl or pitcher and let stand, covered, 1 hour for flavors to blend.
  • Strain mixture through a sieve into a deep serving bowl and chill 3 hours. Stir in lemon juice and black salt, then season panni (tamarind water) with table salt.

Make potato filling:

  • Generously cover potatoes with salted cold water in a medium saucepan (1 tablespoon salt for 3 quarts water) and boil until tender, then drain. When cool enough to handle, peel potatoes and mash with garam masala, cayenne, and salt to taste. Stir in chickpeas.

To serve and eat:

  • Microwave pooris according to package instructions, 30 seconds to 1 minute (to crisp). Sprinkle boondi on top of panni.
  • Make a small hole in a poori with your thumb and spoon in a little potato filling. Dunk into panni and pop into your mouth whole.
Cooks' Note: The Indian ingredients in this recipe are available at Indian markets and kalustyans.com.
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