I love to eat. I particularly love to snack. Thailand had great snack food & Malaysia, you are always ready & willing to ply me with some great snack food, but the ultimate snack food? Puri. Behl puri, sev puri, pan puri, dahi puri… you all are rock stars.
Puris can be found mostly in Mumbai & surrounds. Behl puri is the most famous but, sev puri was my favorite. So what is a puri? Well, every vendor has their own spin on it but essentially puris are fried or puffed rice (or sometimes wheat) fried vermicelli noodles, combined with finely minced tomato, onion, cucumber, potato,cilantro sometimes chickpeas, with tamarind chutney, sometimes curd & masala spice. The result of the varying combinations are a crunchy,sweet, spicy flavor sensation.
Puris are street food. Pani puri can be found at roadsides & are meant to eaten quickly. Each pani puri is one bite. The vendor pokes a hole in the top of the puri & a thin, spicy, delicious tamarind “water” is poured in the hole. Sometimes they are more substantial with a bit of potato or dal in the water. You simply pop them in your mouth as the vendor fills them. They are a great snack & a way to fill the midday void. 5 pani puris are 10 rupees or about 25 cents so they are a bargain too boot.
behl puri is usually served in a newspaper cone & mixed to order. I tried a plethora of Behl puri in Mumbai but my favorite, by a mile, was from the vendor next to Fabindia in the Fort district. There is also a a great lime soda vendor nearby, which is the perfect accompaniment to the spicy Behl puri.
So there you have it folks, my favorite snack food. I think there is a portland street cart that needs to open……