Sev Puri (Chaat) – Memories of an Indian Summer. My Guest Post for The Kitchn

by Sala @ Veggie Belly on April 21, 2010

This is my recent guest article on The Kitchn..

Chaat always brings back memories of carefree childhood weekends spent at my parents’ beach house in India. I’d walk over to the beach in the afternoon when the tide is low enough to pick sea shells. I’d return home with my pail full and stomach empty. A gorgeous bowl of chaat would be waiting for me  – crunchy, sweet, tangy, spicy, filling all at the same time. I’d sit on the verandah eating chaat, listening to the waves crashing near by and watching the kites sail over me.

Chaat on weekends still transports me back to those balmy evenings in India. Sev puri is my favorite kind of chaat (‘chaat’ is a general name for this Indian street food; there are several variations). Sev puri are little puffed, fried rounds of dough (puri) stuffed with  crispy noodles (sev), potatoes, onion, yogurt, tamarind chutney and mint chutney. The whole thing is then finished with a sprinkling of amazingly zestful chaat masala – a blend of salt, red chilli, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, anise, pepper, cumin, cardamom, clove, mace, carom and dried mango.

Above: Armando, the man who works at the local Indian store. He is El Salvadorian and his kowledge of Indian ingredients is encyclopedic. He watches all the bollywood movies and gets offended if they dont offer spanish subititles! Gotta love DC/VA!

You will need to make a trip to the Indian store for this recipe. You could attempt to make all the ingredients at home, but that would be time consuming. Why bother when you can buy the same thing at a store!

This is a basic recipe for sev puri; I encourage you to  be creative with it..you are limited only by your imagination. When pomegranates are in season, I like to sprinkle some on top for a colorful, refreshing sweetness. A little chunk of pineapple tucked into the sev puri is divine (toss the pineapple chunks in chaat masala for a delightful sweet-savory flavor).  To make these sev puris vegan, simply leave out the yogurt and use hummus, tahini or cashew butter instead. If you don’t have pani puris, try making this with tortilla chips instead; Scoops! will be perfect for this.

Finally, there is only one way to eat a sev puri – put the whole thing in your mouth! Don’t try to bite into it, just pop the whole thing in your mouth!

Sev Puri (Chaat) Recipe
Serves about 6

1 medium potato, boiled, peeled and diced
½ cup canned chickpeas, drained
3-4 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
40 pani puris* (fried rounds of dough)
½ cup yogurt
½ cup sev* (crispy noodles)
¼ cup date-tamarind chutney*
¼ cup mint chutney*
1 tablespoon Chaat Masala*
1/4 tablespoon red chilli powder or cayenne or paprika
A few sprigs of cilantro

*easily available at any Indian store

Mix together the boiled diced potato, chickpeas, red onion, ¼ teaspoon chaat masala and salt. Set aside. Gently poke a hole on one side of a pani puri. Make it large enough so you can stuff it with the potato mixture. Place some potato mixture inside the pani puri cavity. Top with about ½ tablespoon of yogurt. Sprinkle some sev on top of the yogurt. Then add date-tamarind and mint chutneys. Finish by sprinkling a little chaat masala and chili powder over the top.  Repeat with all pani puris. Serve immediately.

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Comments

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Priti April 21, 2010 at 10:39 am

This is pure temptation and nothing else…cool clicks

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2 Rosa April 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

What a great treat! Those puffs look so delicious!

Cheers,

Rosa

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3 Happy Cook April 21, 2010 at 11:28 am

I have not had this after the last trip to India. I so wish we had a Indian store here which stock up all the things you have written.

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4 Anu April 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Hey, we use tostitos scoops instead of the puris..and I also put some tomatoes and onions in it too.. love these little pieces of heaven.

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5 Laavanya April 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I love how you’ve described everything… i always buy the puris from the store too and with channa, some alu bhujia and boiled potatoes and some chutneys on hand this is something i can whip up in no time… :) The pomegranate and pineapple are such great ideas – i can’t wait to try them next time.

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6 VARSHA April 21, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Oh..I have been craving for this thing since God-know-when..Neither I like to try the store bought poori nor I have the patience n nerve to try a home made (deep fry) one..This is just too much Sala..n I think none else’s pics makes food more appetizing than yours ..WOW!!!

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7 anudivya April 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

People like Armando make me realize how little I know about my own country’s cooking!
This looks great Sala. I am all about popping those pani puris whole!

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8 Manasi April 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm

LOVE IT! I am addicted to sev puri ( I make SP even with tortilla chips) and ur pictures are stunning and so very tempting! I would NEVER have had the patience to wait for a picture, I’d have eaten it!

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9 Anh April 21, 2010 at 8:44 pm

This looks incredible! I HAVE TO make it somehow!

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10 nags April 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm

gorgeous Sala!!

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11 Jacqueline April 22, 2010 at 4:01 am

Those look brilliant!

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12 Cooking Foodie April 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Wow gorgeous clicks! I guess this is the north Indian version of it… in Mumbai we call these dahi batata puri… I have a post of mumbai sevpuri on my blog too… not as cool looking as urs for sure!

BTW what camera do u have? I am planning to buy one soon…

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

I have a canon rebel and a 50mm 1.8 lens and love them both :)

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13 Chakh...le...Re!!! April 23, 2010 at 11:49 am

Fantastic pictures. U made me crave it. I am a total chat freak and can eat it anytime of day.
I make this with tortilla chips may times, as you said.

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14 Malar Gandhi April 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Sev puri looks very tempting to me, your pictures are breathtaking…making one very hungry right now:):)

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15 Soma April 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm

I have been waiting to see the pictures ever since I read about the camera :-D Well worth the wait for the pictures are just GORGEOUS. If I were there, you would not get a single one of those , or we would end up fighting I guess :-D

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16 Cham April 23, 2010 at 7:18 pm

I attempt to make once or twice at home. My DH started gobbling all of them in one day! I stopped doing at home! The pict re gorgeous!

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17 tasteofbeirut April 23, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I had bought pani puris at the Indian store and we liked them but it would have been so much better with all these other ingredients! Next time!

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18 5 Star Foodie April 23, 2010 at 10:12 pm

What a cool snack – looks so light and airy and perfect with all kinds of fillings, yum!

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19 Cynthia April 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm

Please send me a recipe for the little pani puris!

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20 Parita April 25, 2010 at 8:21 am

Sev puri chaat looks fantastic, I feel like grabbing some right now!

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21 indosungod April 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Beautiful, beautiful presentation. My mouth is water already and a visit to the Indian store is in order . Of course the number of Indian stores in our region is truly god send, not that we don’t cross the Potomac to sample those on the other side but the stores in MD can’t be left behind.

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22 Alli April 26, 2010 at 5:04 am

Wow, they would make amazing canapes, I don’t think I have ever seen pani puri sold here in NZ though, have you ever made your own?

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Sala @ Veggie Belly Reply:

Here is the recipe for the pani puris.

3 parts fine semolina
1 part ap flour
2 parts water (you may not need to use it all)
salt

Mix everything into a firm dough. Pinch off about a teaspoon sized ball of dough. Roll it gently using a rolling pin. Keep the dough and the rolled circles of pani puris covered with a damp towel. Deep fry the pani puri circles a few at a time.

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23 pavithra April 29, 2010 at 7:54 am

oooh thats really yumm sala…

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24 Dana May 3, 2010 at 10:49 am

Gorgeous and incredibly delicious looking. This post makes me think of Rasa and all the amazing foods I tried for the first time there. There is a tiny Indian grocer near us and I think I’m going to have to go check it out. Amazing party food!

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25 Michelle May 15, 2010 at 11:07 am

Oh, so that’s what I ate at The Cinnamon Club! Nobody told us what the amuse bouche was. Go and look – am I right??

http://www.greedygourmet.com/2010/02/10/the-cinnamon-club/

If it is chaat, I really loved it. Could have eaten a whole plateful and more!

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