Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Masala Puri : A Bangalore Style Chaat Recipe

Memories associated with food are very unique. The name masala puri reminds me of one such unique thing that happened during my middle school days. We were in Mysore those days & we used to visit the street vendor at Chamundipuram for his tasty masala puri. One such evening when I was waiting for my plate, a bull came from no where & hit me on my shoulders. Though it did not hit me hard, I started bleeding & was taken to the doctor. I was advised rest for couple of days. So, whenever I think of masala puri & Mysore, this incident always flashes in front of my eyes.

My mom used to make this at home. I have made lots of trial & error with this masala puri. I am sharing the one that my family loves the most. I have made this for many potluck parties too. All my friends have liked this masala puri :)

Preparation Time: 20 mins
Cooking Time: Upto 60 mins.
Serves: Makes about 10-12 plates

For the spicy gravy/masala:
Dry green peas: 1.5 cups
Potatoes: 1 large
Carrot: 1 no
Bay leaf: 1 no
Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
Cloves: 4 nos
Marati moggu: 1 no
Coriander leaves: 1/2 cup
Mint leaves: 4-6 nos
Green chillies: 4-6 nos
Red chillies: 2-3 nos
Chaat masala: 1 tsp
Dhania powder: 1 tsp
Tamarind pulp: 1 tbsp, thick tamarind extract
Onion: 1 medium sized, coarsely chopped
Oil: 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Salt: As needed

For the garnish:
papdi or small puffed puris.
Finely chopped red onions
Grated carrots
Finely chopped tomatoes
Green chutney
taramind sweet chutney
finely chopped coriander leaves
red chili powder
lemon juice

For the masala/spicy gravy:
Soak the dry green peas in enough water for 4-6 hours.
Drain the water from the peas.
Peel the potatoes & carrots. Cut the potatoes & carrots in half.
Add the potatoes, soaked peas, and carrots to a pressure cooker. Cook them for 4 whistles or for 20-25 minutes on medium-high. Let it cool.

Meantime, heat a saute pan. Add oil to it & when oil is hot, throw in the cumin seeds. When seeds turn golden brown, add in the coarsely chopped onions & saute. Cook the onions for about 3-5 mins. Onions should turn translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste & saute till the raw smell disappears.

Remove the onions from heat.
Add the cinnamon, clove, marati moggu, green chilli, red chilli, bay leaf to a blender/food processor & make a fine powder.

To this powder, add the sauteed onions & cumin seeds mixture, mint leaves, coriander leaves, cooked potatoes & carrots, a fistful of cooked peas. Make a smooth paste out of it. At this point, the spice paste will be very strong. 
Drain the water from the cooked peas. Do not discard the water. Use this water for the masala.
Add the water from the cooked peas to a sauce pan. Let it boil. Add another 1/2 to 1 cup more water, if needed. When water starts boiling, add the ground spice paste.
Add the salt, tamarind pulp, dhania powder, chaat masala & mix well. Cook it on a low heat for about 20-25 mins. The spices should blend well.
Add the cooked peas to the boiling spice mixture. Cook again for another 10-15 mins. The consistency of the gravy should be like a pancake batter (dosa batter consistency)

Serving the masala puri: 
In a large plate, slightly crush around 6-8 papdis or puris.

Add about 1/4th cup of the spicy gravy/masala.

Sprinkle the red chilli powder, salt, a tsp of green chutney, sweet tamarind chutney. (I have not added the green chutney or the sweet tamarind chutney, as our family doesn't prefer them for this chaat).

Sprinkle a tbsp each of finely chopped onions & grated carrots.

Sprinkle about a tbsp of finely chopped tomatoes.

Add a dash of lemon juice.
Add the sev generously on top & serve the masala puri immediately.

Do not use frozen peas for this masala puri. It spoils the taste. Use the dried peas only!!
The masala or the spicy gravy needs to be hot while serving. Hence keep cooking the masala on a low heat until you serve or do not forget to heat it before serving.
If the masala doesn't thicken, mix a tbsp of corn starch in 1/4th cup of cold water. Make a paste & add this paste to the boiling gravy.
If the spice level is less, make a paste of 2-3 green chillies & add it to the boiling gravy.
You could use store bought green chutney & sweet chutney.
I used store bought papdis.

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