Taste: Water Burst

1 Jul 2015 by Neha Gupta Kapoor

Neha Gupta tells you where you can get the best pani puris in India

The taste of fried wheat shells stuffed with a combination of boiled potatoes, chickpeas, sprouts, and chutney dipped in spiced mint water has been a favourite amongst Indians for as far back as we can remember. A quintessential street food, it is often eaten standing at a hawker’s handcart.

The snack originated in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh as pani ke bataashe, a simple puri dipped in thickened water that is flavoured with dried mangoes, green chillies, mint and cumin seeds. Other parts of India adopted this concept and added their variations of solid fillings. Though the stuffing differs, as do the names, the spicy mint water remains constant.

Mumbai’s foodies won’t fill their pani puri with anything other than boiled potatoes and sprouts, deep fried gram-flour balls, and a touch of sweet tamarind chutney.


  • Elco Market, 46 Hill Road, Bandra (West).
  • Bhagat Tarachand, Mumbaidevi Commercial Centre, Zaveri Bazaar, Kalbadevi.
  • Punjab Sweet House, Dheeraj Arcade, Pali Naka, Bandra (West).

The people of Kolkata love their puchkas with boiled black chickpeas and potatoes, and rock salt. The final touch is a sprinkle of jhaal muri masala — a tangy blend of spices, synonymous with Kolkata street food.


  • At Vivekananda Park, the street vendor serves traditional, as well as, mutton and chicken puchkas.
  • At Vardaan Market, the secret family recipe has been satiating the neighbourhood since decades.
  • At Victoria Memorial, this street vendor has been around since the Bangladesh Liberation War.

In Delhi, the gol gappe are filled with raw onions, and boiled potatoes and chickpeas.


  • Shree Balaji Chaat Bhandar, Chandni Chowk.
  • Mithas, Anand Lok Market.
  • Moti Sweets, Main Market, Malviya Nagar.
The ones in Bengaluru are known as masala puri. They cook the green peas, potatoes and yellow lentils with garlic, and top this warm mixture with raw onions, green chillies, tomatoes and fried chickpea strings.


  • New Mangalore Stores Shradha Chaats, West Park Road, Malleshwaram.
  • Shiva Chats, Hanumanthanagar, Banashankari.
  • Anand Sweets and Savouries, 4th Block, 27th Cross, Jayanagar.
Indian snack: pani puri


Chocolate Pani Puri

Fantasie Chocolate coats the shells with dark and white chocolate and leaves them to set. These are then served with a bowl of chocolate sauce that is poured into the shells and served as dessert. fantasiechocolate.com

Vodka Pani Puri

Punjabi By Nature fills the shells with pomegranate seeds and trades the traditional water for vodka. These are bold cocktail-hour accompaniments. punjabibynature.in

Tube Pani Puri

SpiceKlub maintains the traditional flavours, but presents the snack with funk. The water and tamarind chutney are filled in syringes that can be directly injected into your puri without creating any mess. spiceklub.com

Fusion Pani Puri

Indian Accent serves five flavoured waters with whole wheat and semolina shells stuffed with coriander chickpea tabbouleh. The basic essence remains, but the flavour is completely revamped as an Indo-Mediterranean flavour. indianaccent.com

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