Saturday, November 22, 2014

Phuchka na Fuchka -- street food in the house

The House usually lies empty at ten in the morning.
Except for the sounds that the house makes.


Creak of the wood frames.
Squeaks in the attic.
Hiss of the heating pipes that run unseen.
Rattle of the shingles.
Murmur of the wind across the glass window panes.

Ten is a time for the house to be by itself, to do as it pleases. Probably it soaks itself in the winter sun, stretches its limbs, relaxes and drinks a cup of tea in leisure.Maybe it turns on the TV and watches "Real Housewives of LA" in the glare of the sun.I don't know if it throws pakori and chai parties on days when the sky is grey and there is rain drumming on the windows but I have a hunch that on particularly cold days, when the sun is toasty and warm, it probably takes a nap.

As the sun shifts, throwing shadows from this room to that, circling the house, peeking in through one bedroom window and then another, the house dances, plays music and patiently waits.

And then the shadows get longer. The house shifts, wraps up the sun soaked throws, plumps up the cushions and gets ready. The creaks and the murmurs quieten. They know the house will no longer be by itself. With the yellow bus rolling to a stop at the curb, footsteps will run through the garage and voices will fill the house.

Today I was there with the house. It behaved very well, polite and well-mannered. No raucous parties. No tantrums. I soaked up the sun, took a nap, and  kept thinking how lucky the house was.


And then I made myself some Phuchka.

A very different ambiance to have Phuchka, I must say. I don't know how the "phuchka" felt in this ultra sterile and quiet environment. It probably missed the giggling young girls with their long and short plaits, their hearts yet to see disappointments, standing in a circle around the "phuckawallah", asking for more tamarind water, begging for a "fau". Sitting there, the phuchka probably gloated with pride and self-importance, its chest pumped high with all the attention.

Today I am sure it was bored, serving a middle aged woman , in a squeaky clean home with no sweat or dirt in site. It probably complained to the house. I couldn't hear them talk but I did hear them whisper.

It didn't bother me.I stood by the kitchen island, shoving my phuchka with the potato stuffing and then dunking it in tamarind water. Popping each ball in my mouth it crossed my mind that I will probably never stand in a circle around the phuchkawallah, with a posse of girls, begging for a fau again. Those days lie far behind. The burst of the sour "tentul jwol" in my mouth is something I will always enjoy though.

A few days ago I had made phuchka for Big Sis and few of her friends who had come over for a movie and pizza evening. They watched "The Fault in our Stars" and I hesitantly served them phuchka  to start off.  The girls were super excited at the mere mention of "golgappa". They weren't cynical enough to distinguish between phuchka, panipuri and Golgappa, so all was good. I had toned down the spices that day and some of them vouched that they can handle more "hot spice" than this.

Today for only myself, I upped the green chillies though. I have no measurements and I tasted and adjusted the spices. It is very simple so I am sure you can do the same. I used ready made puris but if you want to make your own KichuKhon has the recipe.

Tentul Jol or Tamarind Water

To make the tamarind water, soak a ball of seedless tamarind in about 2 cups of warm water for 15 minutes. After the tamarind softens, rub with your fingers to extract the tamarind pulp and mix it with the water.

Now strain this mixture into another bowl to get the tamarind water without any pulp

To the strained water add
Rock Salt/Kala Namak or Pink Salt
Bhaja Masla (Toast cumin seeds and red chilli and then grind to powder)
paste of 2 green chillies
little sugar
little lime juice
Chat masala
few coriander leaves finely chopped

Taste and adjust the above

Mix well and add about 1 cup more water.

For the Potatoes

Boil and mash Potatoes

Separately boil some yellow peas

To the potatoes add
Rock Salt/Kala Namak or Pink Salt
Bhaja Masla (Toast cumin seeds and red chilli and then grind to powder)
Chopped green chilli

Red chilli powder
few tsp of the tamarind water

Taste and adjust the spices in the mashed potatoes

Now add the yellow peas to the potatoes and mix well.

For the final Phuchka

Buy a packet of ready made panipuri

Toast them a little in the oven for you don't know how long they have been sitting at the grocers

Tap the puri at the center. Fill with potatoes. Dunk in tamarind water. Pop into your mouth

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  1. What a beautiful post and recipe.

  2. Beautifully written. A house by itself. The quietness of it. I so much crave for it. Just a moment to yourself to think,ponder, nap, have cha and phuchka. ~Piya

  3. I had a chance to savor some phuchkas recently as well and now I am ready to be well behaved like your house :) Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. I call it Fuchka and my mother can make it at home. It is a bit time taking thing but it takes no time get eaten by us.

  5. কাল এক নম্বর মার্কেটে ফুচকা খেয়ে (ক'টা খেয়েছি সেটা আর বলছি না) মারাত্মক পেট ব্যথা হয়েছে। তবু আপনার ফুচকাগুলো দেখে জিভে জল আসছে, বংমম। একেবারে কলেজের সামনের ফুচকার মতো দেখতে হয়েছে। আপনার বাড়ি গেলে কী খাব ঠিক করে ফেললাম, মাংস না, পোলাও না, স্রেফ ফুচকা।

  6. you have a beautiful warm and cosy... I am in love with your house....

  7. i had tried this one one in home last week very nice item i would like to get more details of more item
    with cheers

  8. Sunita @ToasterOvenPlanetDecember 12, 2014 11:26 PM

    uff !! can't wait I need phuchka now. Thanks for share your recipe

  9. Hahaha like the title of this post.... ohh i so miss the Puchka's of Bengal..... nevermind will make it up with this...... do visit

  10. Tumi joltao orokom kaydar moto banale nijer jonyo?

  11. I live in Kolkata. Bought fuchka,with separate aloo makha and tentul jowl in a plastic packet, brought it home and sat on the bed and enjoyed them with didun,mummy,mashi and bon.Dinner done

  12. Oh this post is sending my taste buds to overdrive!
    But one observation, I always found that the fuchkawallahs used boiled green chillies. I guess it is easier to mash up, but the flavor is milder hot than a more pungent hot if you use fresh ones, and I always loved it.

  13. "Buy a packet of ready made panipuri"
    If you do not make it from scratch, it's not authentic.

    1. Hah!!! Did I ever say "authentic" in the post (and I did a Ctrl+F on the page just to make sure)?


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