Among the streetfoods, Pani Puris holds a special place in all our hearts and stomach. Pani Puris known by different names in different places all over India. It is also called as Gupchups, Golgappas, Phulkis, Puchkas and lot more names are there in its kitty. Pani Puri is basically a hollow puri filled with spiced boiled potatoes with chickpeas/peas/moong dal and filled with spicy mint water with or without sweet sauce. Each puri is taken in a single shot and you get a burst of flavours that makes it special.
Pani Puris are said to have originated in the Magadha Empire or the current day South Bihar. We don’t have any information on the inventor of the dish but references for the dish can be found in the travel diaries of Megasthenes, Xuanzang and few others. They refer the dish with its origin name Phulkis in their notes. This shows the legacy of the dish.
Even in Mahabharata there is a reference for this wonderful dish. Legend is that, Kunti wants to test Draupathi and asked her to make a dish that pleases all 5 sons. She makes Phulkis which has every flavour and satisfies all 5 Pandavas. Much pleased by her effort Kunti then blesses her and says that her dish will attain immortality. There are many other stories surrounding the invention of the same.
Health & Nutrition:
Each Puris roughly constitutes of about 30 calories. A serving of 6 puris with potato filling and without sweet chutney comes around 330 calories. Adding boondi, sweet chutney adds more calories. The problem with this lot of this are high on carbs and low on fibre. As the puris are made from Semolina and maida it has very little nutrition. Due it’s extraordinary taste you tend to over eat and on the go you might just consume like 500 calories without even knowing of it. It is absolutely essential to keep an eye on the portion size.
Just like any other dish, there is always an option for a healthy alternative. Instead of deep fried Puris, you can bake it on your own. Instead of Semolina, you can try whole wheat puris or oats based puris. You can explore a lot with different whole grain flours. Then comes the filling. Mostly the street shops opt for spiced potatoes. Choose spiced black chana, sprouts for filling. That adds more nutrition. When it comes to water avoiding sweet chutney and use the mint water alone. While making the Mint water use amchur more and less salt to get the tangy taste and reducing sodium intake too.
Pani Puri is one of the wonderful foods filled with flavours. The taste is governed by the spices and crunchiness of the dish. Make it home once a while and indulge in it happily. Be mindful of the portion size and do not forget to savour this wonderful dish.
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