Do I have a treat for you today! The Amazing Puchka, Kolkata Style!
I have never met anyone who doesn’t like Puchkas! I even know people who can easily eat fifty Puckas in one go! I think these little crispy treats are hypnotic and actually send out a hypnosis signal you every time you pass by a street seller with a heap of these mouthfuls of joy! Think of it – These are just crispy shells with a spicy potato filling dipped in a spicy water. I mean what’s the big deal about these things? A Puchka loyalist would probably slap me very hard if they heard me ever saying this out loud. I bet I even earned a few nasty looks from readers of this post (if there are any!). But my dear reader I am a fan of the Puchka, always have been and always will be!
To convince you even further, dear reader and Puchka Loyalist – it has been a lifelong dream of mine to actually make Puchkas at home. And I have and I am about to share the recipe with you! I really went all out on this one and tried to make the best Puchka ever. I probably achieved 99.9% of the accuracy i was hoping to achieve.
Why would I want to make them at home? Well for starters, they are much more hygenic and belive me, much more tasty and delicious! You’ll see what I mean once you make them!
The challenge in making a great Puchka is all about getting the outer shell really crispy. The other elements of this recipe are equally important but the first impression and experience you will have of a Puchka is the shell so it just has to be great. Luckily for you, I’ve done all the hard work and have perfected the recipe for you and all you need to do is follow my instructions very carefully. Every possible tip and Puchka making trick has been included in the recipe below. So here goes!
Ingredients for One Greedy Puchka Loyalist or Four Decent Puchka Loyalists:
Puchka Shell Ingredients:
Flour – 1/2 Cup
Semolina or Suji – 1 Cup
Water – 1 Cup
Oil – 2 Table Spoons
Puchka Water Ingredients:
Coriander Leaves – 1 Cup
Mint or Pudina Leaves – 1/2 Cup
Dried mango Powder – 4 Tablespoons
Black Salt – 1 and 1/2 Teaspoons
Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/2 Teaspoon
Ginger – 1 Inch Piece
Green Chilies – 2 Medium Sized
Potato Filling Ingredients:
Potatoes – 3 Medium Sized Boiled and Peeled
Bengal Gram – 1/2 Cup Boiled
Black Salt – 1/2 Teaspoon
Lime Juice – 1/4th Teaspoon
Dried Cumin Powder – 1/4th Teaspoon
Dried Mango Powder – 1/4th Teaspoon
Black Pepper Powder – 1/4th Teaspoon
Green Chilies – 2 Finely Sliced
Tamarind Pulp – 3 Teaspoons
Prep for Puchkas!!! I’m already wishing I had made more for today as well!
Combine all the Flour and Semolina and add Oil to it. Slowly add a third of the Water and mix. Add the remaining water in two installments and knead the dough for a good eight to ten minutes. Do not add more water whatever you do! Maintaining these proportions are so critical to getting the perfectly crispy Puchka Shell! One the Dough is formed, cover with damp cloth and leave standing for fifteen minutes.
Now what we do next is super critical so do not under any circumstance skip a step or choose to ignore an instruction!
After fifteen minutes, divide the dough in two. Roll out one-half of the dough to 1/2 a cm. Now take a round bottle cap (preferably a metal one) and cut out little disks from the rolled out dough. Place disks on a plate and cover immediately with a damp cloth. It’s crucial that these disks are kept under a damp cloth.
Do the same for the rest of the dough.
Once done, take a round disk and roll very out gently to an elliptical shape. Do not roll the disk too thin. The thickness of the rolled out disk should not be less than 1 mm. You do not have to measure each rolled out disk with a caliper but if it’s too thin the Puchka will not swell up and will not be crispy.
Now immediately cover these rolled out disks with a damp cloth. If you do not cover them now with a damp cloth, the Puchkas will never puff up when frying and that defeats the entire purpose. Keep them covered till are ready to be deep-fried.
Now take a kadhai and place it on the stove. Add enough cooking oil and turn heat up to medium-high. Wait for six to seven minutes for oil to heat up. Once the oil is hot, carefully drop in one rolled out disk into it. If it puffs up immediately and turns golden brown gradually then your oil is at the perfect temperature. If the rolled out disk does not puff up immediately, then the oil is still too cold.
Deep fry all the little rolled out disks and make sure not to crowd the vessel otherwise the Puchkas will not turn crisp. Also please note that each time you finish frying a batch of Puchkas, the oil turns lower than the ideal temperature and you need to wait for two minutes before it heats up again.
For all cooking, you need to pay attention to the heat. If the heat is too much, the food will burn and if it’s too low then the food will not cook properly. In other words, you need to master the heat regulator of your stove!
Once all the Puchka Shells are ready, place them on a plate or basket and let them cool at room temperature for two to three hours. Don’t worry they’ll remain crisp!
Next let’s make the Water. Take all the ingredients and place them in a blender with just about 1/2 cup of water and blend till you get a smooth paste. This is your concentrate for the Puchka Water. Taste for Salt quantity and if needed then add more. Mix with three glasses of water and add four ice cubes to it just before serving. That’ done!
Now for the Potato Filling – Mash the Potatoes, add the Bengal Gram and all the other ingredients. Mix really well. Check for Salt content and add more if desired. Feel free to add less or more of any ingredient as per taste and preference.
And your done! Your Puchkas Kolkata style is done! And they’re fantastic.
Make a little hole in one Puchka Shell and add some Potato Filling. Dip in Water and pop it into your mouth! Now that’s what amazing and awesome taste like!
This is as an authentic a Puchka recipe as what you will ever get. I know because i made a lot of mistakes before i made the perfect Puchka! And I have eliminated all those mistakes before you can even make them so that all you get is pure and unadulterated joy and satisfaction from these little bursts of sheer delight.
Enjoy and do leave your comments for me below. I’d love to read them! Do make this recipe! It is so worth it.