Recently I was reading this damn good article on Pani Puri and while reading I knew it was going to fiddle with my mind and give me cravings. Only few foods are so good enough that can give me cravings. I generally don’t crave foods, but when I do then it is a known fact that these foods are the champions of culinary world. So here I have on the foodie_khiladi show the most sought after food celebrity of India and the subcontinent, Miss. Pani Puri.
Yum & Awesome is the only site that brings food celebrities on the platform for an intimate interview. Don’t you agree? Today the limelight and focus is on a heartthrob of an entire nation and the sub-continent Miss. Pani Puri. All credits to the Pani Puri waale bhaiyya who makes us fall in love with this bomb of flavours that sucks our soul in the oblivion.
Tell me how many times have you eaten a plate of Pani Puri, just to feel by the end that 6 were not really enough for you. Pani Puri leaves you reeling. So without waiting further let’s have a quick chat with the queen of chat (read chaaaaat) Miss. Pani Puri who is the undisputed queen of the chaat food items and the one who resides in the heart of the billions in the world.
Pani Puri Interview begins
Me: Hello Miss Pani Puri, welcome to the foodie_khiladi show, and thank you on behalf of an entire nation for giving us that feeling of bliss so many times and being our go to street food for every occasion.
Pani Puri: At last someone called me up for an interview. I am a bit disappointed that Maggi was called on this stage before me. You know right, that I am technically the senior.
Me: Ohhh!!! Someone has done her homework before coming. It was not that I didn’t want to call you first, but it is just that Maggi was easily available, just like it is found in every home. So please look at it as you are ubiquitous and exclusive at the same time. It is tough to experience you at home but you are almost present in all the streets of Indian and the sub-continent.
Pani Puri: Heyyy Mr. Foodie_khiladi, don’t even try that flattery thing on me. It won’t work on me that easily.
Me: So the talks of you being a spicy soul is real. Isn’t it?
Pani Puri: Of course my dear. What is life without a little spices in it? You tell me, don’t you love a spicy shot of Pani Puri?
Me: Answering that on behalf of our nation, yes most of the Pani Puri fans like it. They just love the zing that you leave on the tongue. At times the teary eyed expression sums up the guilty pleasures that you make them experience. But if you ask me personally then I like you sweeter and less spicy.
Pani Puri: Ohh no!!! Can’t you handle spices Mr. Host? Anyway I have always been told that I am too hot to handle.
Me: Lolz yes the hotness which only Pani Puri waale bhaiyya can handle while making you and the hardcore Pani Puri lovers who love eating you. But honestly it is not just my thing. I like the balance of flavours that the Imli Chutney brings in. Spiciness tackled with sweet and sour Imli. It is divine blast of flavours in the mouth.
Pani Puri: Okay!!! Let me give you a little benefit of doubt here as you expressed well. I guess I was not aware about this version of mine which you just made me realize has a separate fan base.
Me: Absolutely, that is a message that I wanted to convey. That Pani Puri is not always about spicing things up. Rather you are something that is the perfect choice for experimentation.
Pani Puri: Yes, be it anything, Pizza Golgappe, Chocolate Golgappe, Pani Puri Shots and what not people have a lots of scope in experimentation with me.
Me: So this means you are really self-aware about the developments involving you. Everyone knows you for your taste but this up to date nature is lesser known.
Pani Puri: Yes… There is lot to be uncovered.
Me: So can you tell me what your origins are like? Any rags to riches stories here?
Pani Puri: Certainly there are few people who have made fortunes with me and qualify for some of the amazing rags to riches stories. Talking about my origin there are 2 prevalent theories one is recent in term of vast timeline of culinary history and another one is as old as the famous mythology of Mahabharata.
Me: Ohh!!! Now that is an interesting bite which I never knew.
Pani Puri: Of course not your fault. Only few food historians know this. In fact out of the 2 theories one is factual and one is mythical. So starting with the factual one. It was in Magadha Empire that I was invented. Near the river banks of Ganga that is now popularly called Bihar is according to some food historians, is my place of birth. Who invented myself is still an unsolved mystery.
Me: Whosoever has invented you, I am sure he or she will be awarded Posthumous Bharat-Ratna for this immensely special gift that was given to the world and not only India.
Pani Puri: I can’t agree more. So the next theory says that, when Draupadi got married to Pandavas her mother-in-law Kunti gave her a task to check how well she can manage resources. It was during the period of exile. Draupadi was given some leftover Aaloo sabzi and some wheat dough and was expected to make something that could suffice for all the brothers. This is when she made a Puchka and impressed by this Kunti blessed this food to survive forever.
Me: Hey, this was rather something much more interesting than the factual one. And I noticed that you said Puchka in reference to your own self. So can we explore some more names that are associated with your identity?
Pani Puri: Why not, I would be more than happy to shed light on that. Paani Puri is mostly the name that transpired from Mumbai. Golgappa is the name that was given to me in Delhi and most of the north India. Haryana made me famous as Paani Patashi. Fulki was like a nickname given to me in Madhya Pradesh and in Uttar Pradesh I am known as Paani k batashe. From Puska in Assam to Gup-Chup in Odisha my list of names kept growing.
Me: The list of names kept growing just like the love you are garnering over the years. The names can be mistaken but your essence won’t ever be mistaken. So the next question to you is, what made you famous?
Pani Puri: I still don’t consider myself famous. So why don’t you answer it for me. What makes you think I am famous and if so then who made me famous?
Me: So here is one more food celebrity looking forward to some flattery. That is my forte and I can surely score a full 10 here.
Pani Puri: Then go ahead and show me that you are the best.
Me: Answering this as a representative of a billion Indians, nobody can imagine the Indian food scene without a Paani Puri. Considering that only half a billions dine in restaurant but almost all of them eat on streets. Only some restaurants serve Paani Puri but almost every other street has a Paani Puri vendor. This speaks volume about your fame and truly so you have touched so many hearts and have become the best street food of an entire Nation.
Pani Puri: Okay well answered, but what has made me famous then?
Me: The perfect art which was mastered by the Pani Puri vendors. The perfectly fried Puri blooming to become hollow and crisp is the first art that was mastered by the real vendors. The hollow Puri then being poked with delicate work of thumbs, now it follows the addition of warm Ragda (Mashed White Peas seasoned with spices). The ragda filled Puri is then dipped in Cold minty Water and then dipped in some Imli Chutney and Chili Chutney according to the requirement.
The speed of this process is lightening in nature. Maybe this is the art that brings in more crowd and as a foodie, we get enthralled with the entire experience so much that making it at home seems less lucrative and we often rush to this vendors whom we call the Pani Puri waale Bhaiyya. I guess these are the people who have been your true ambassadors and have made you famous all over the places.
Pani Puri: I agree and I am thankful to these people for putting me on the world map.
Me: Could you tell us some lesser known facts about yourself?
Pani Puri: Why not. A study says that eating me can cure mouth Ulcers which many might disagree, but only wise foodies like you know that the whole spices which are powdered to make the Pani have the medicinal properties to cure mouth ulcers. Plus there are some places which holds annual Pani Puri eating competitions. With a recent record where a foodie ate 54 Pani Puris in 60 seconds. Can you beat it?
Me: Certainly not as, I would prefer enjoying each Pani Puri with the leisurely pleasure of allowing the flavours to rattle my taste buds.
Pani Puri: So you are more of a connoisseur. The last lesser known fact is that in 2015 Vidorra restaurant in Indore served 51 flavours of Pani Puri to create a world record.
Me: 51!!! That is insane. In Mumbai I have seen places serving 9 types of Pani Puris where each Pani Puri has a different flavour. But 51 is quite huge. So moving towards our next question. What is that one thing which upsets you in terms of your association?
Pani Puri: Let’s not sound negative here, as I am always known to cheer up people. Let me tell you what delights me more. I personally love my association with people of Mumbai. In a plate you get 6 pieces and 1 sukha puri that is complimentary. This complimentary stuff is the real reason that people fall in love with me more and more. Sadly in Delhi you get only 5 in a plat and the concept of sukha puri doesn’t exist there. I wish that changes soon and a universal law is made where a plate of Pani Puri means 6 in a plate and 1 complimentary sukha Puri.
Me: So much of generosity you have because of the love you receive all the time. And yes the only inhospitable experience I had in Delhi was the same 5 a plate without a sukha puri. I too wish it changes soon.
Since you mentioned your soft corner for Mumbai. I have something to show you. Mumbai is surely taking your concept to the next level. Watch these places where innovation to your original form has won so many people over.
Pani Puri: I knew only some variations from Delhi and Nagpur like Chocolate Pani Puri and Fire Pani Puri but these were some really good innovations and I admit I was feeling proud.
Me: So let us say that best is yet to come. And going by the mythical story of your origin, your immortality is certain.
Pani Puri: Let’s hope so. By the way I heard that you are a Maggi fan. Don’t you think I too deserve some love from your side?
Me: That stumped me all of a sudden. See dear, I can’t lie and so I won’t say that I a fan but yes I admire you a lot. I don’t crave for you on any given day, but when someone asks me for a plate of Pani Puri then I just couldn’t refuse. This is also some kind of respect I have for you.
Pani Puri: I am happy that you were totally honest in your response. I liked it.
Me: So here we are in the last session. This is a fun session where I will ask quirky questions and you are supposed to give witty answers. So are you ready?
Pani Puri: More than ever. Just let us get this done.
Me: What if you had super powers?
Pani Puri: I would be the national dish of India and ultimately the best dish of the world. Would have mandated eating a plate of Pani Puri to people who are in a fight. Because I know I am a mood changer.
Me: Hahahahaha!!! Next time I am fighting with someone, I will surely eat a plate and give the person fighting with me one plate to see how that goes. Well this was witty. So your next question is ‘Never have you ever…’ Complete this sentence.
Pani Puri: Ummm!!! Never have I ever seen a place selling Pani Puri that was overpriced.
Me: Then I am sure you have heard about the place in Delhi called Pullman and Novotel which serves a molecular gastronomy version of Golgappa for INR 750. Only 4 Golgappe are served which you can check out in this video.
Pani Puri: Ohh my Goddd!!! This Molecular Gastronomy is one heck of an experience. So basically, they charge for the experience rather than the food itself.
Me: Yes they do. So the last question is. Tell us 2 truths and a lie.
Pani Puri: Pani Puri has no side effect, Pani Puri has virtually no calories. Pani Puri is something which even Katy Perry also couldn’t resist.
Me: I was not aware about the Katy Perry part, though I don’t know which the lie was here. Let the readers decide.
Pani Puri: Of course. Readers are smarter these days.
Me: Agreed. Thanks for such deliciously interesting replies. You just refreshed the entire scene. Just like you do naturally.
Pani Puri: Thank you for bringing the best out of me. You are a gem of a person.
Me: Thank you for your kind words. I am glad that you came on the show and shared some happy moments with us. I wish and hope that people keep falling in love with you and soon you get declared as the national dish of India. Loads of love for making it here.
Pani Puri: Thanks for hosting me. Love to you and good luck with your blogging journey at yumandawesome.com. Let the love for food help you in spreading love in the world.
Me: I will try my level best to do so. See you soon.
So with a huge round of applause let’s say bye to the queen of flavours and the ruler of the taste buds Miss Paani Puri. I hope you are reading this yet and have liked it. If you liked it then do tag your Pani Puri lover friends and share with everyone you know. This is the least you could do for Pani Puri.
In case you are here for the first time then I have done one such crazy interview with our beloved Maggi noodles which you can read at your leisure. With this your foodie_khiladi signs off for the day in a hope to see you soon in my next blog post. Till then keep smiling and spreading the smiles. Don’t forget to share this blog and subscribe if you haven’t subscribed yet.