Namaste, every part of India has an unique local street food they gravitate toward and people from Bengaluru love their Masala puri. Its all in the broth which is either green or pale red depending on the use green or red chili.This recipe is the dance of different textures, flavors ,layers and depth. The balance of crispy puris, delicate sev, freshness of sweet beets and carrots, sharp onions with piping hot masala broth makes it an absolute favorite.
The one I am sharing today has red paste/ broth and will also share the green one in future. The beauty of this recipe is that it is quite light and simple to make. The making of the masala doesn’t take much time but its the condiments and toppings which needs a bit of patience and labor of love. I was introduced to this blast of flavor in a bite dish when I was in high school and since have been in love. After trying various recipes and spice mixes , the recipe I am sharing here is the closest to those old memories.
Lets get few basics out of the way.
Puri : The delicate golgappa/ pani puris do not work great for this recipe but the brittle hard one similar to papdi works best. I personally think the original recipe creator came up with this recipe to use all the unpuffed kadak puris. I make my puris using 1/2 and 1/2 of semolina flour( fine semolina) and all purpose flour( maida) with a bit of salt. You can use papdi or regular puris too.
Green peas : Soak the dry green peas for atleast 6hrs and pressure cook them until tender. Depending on the variety of the peas, some cook faster than the other. Add a bit of salt to keep them seasoned.
Green chutney : I keep it a bit sharp with extra chilies and lime juice. I blend chilis, ginger, lime juice, a small piece on onion, cilantro ( a very little mint) to make my chutney. Use as little or as crazy you want with spice level.
Sweet chutney : My kids go heavy on this but I think a bit of sweet chutney adds to the layer. You can skip it if you like it a bit on the spicier side.
Sev: I use 2 kinds of sev. The boondi with peanuts( its all in the details ) and the thin nylon sev. If you are united States I like the five elements brand from Indian stores.
Fresh veggies : I like long shreds of carrots, beets and finely chopped onions. You can also add few pomegranates, very few long thin slices of raw mango.
Now the recipe of Masala ( easily make for4 to 5 people )
It couldn’t be simpler as all you do is blend the spices to a fine paste.
3 green cardamoms
2 inch cinnamon stick
1/2tsp black pepper corns
1/2tsp fennel seeds
1tsp cumin seeds
Few stone flower ( Kallu huvu in Kannada)
1Tbsp roasted chickpeas ( putani/ kadale/daliya)
5 to 6 Byadagi chilis
1tsp coriander powder
5 cloves of garlic
Few mint leaves and a handful of cilantro/ coriander leaves
1/4 cup finely chopped onion ( not much)
1 tomato or 1Tbsp tomato paste
Lastly: 1/4 cup of cooked peas blend into paste.
Pour hot water and soak them in water for an hour.
In a blender , add the soaked spices, garlic, mint and cilantro- Blend it to a fine paste.
In a pan, add oil and onion. Once they soften , add tomatoes . If using fresh, cook it down until it become soft and pulpy. I am using paste . Add the masala paste and about 3 cups of water. So, we add the cooked green peas as thinking agent. Either you can add 1/4 cup cook peas while blending or blend them separately. Cook this entire mixture on a medium flame for 20 to 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.
Make sure to keep this masala on a simmer while serving.do not hesitate to add more water for desired consistency. The hot masala awakens the entire dish. If the masala is not hot while serving , I think the finished dish will taste only half good.
First goes, cooked peas, then crushed puri, them the ,masala ,shredded carrots and beets, chutneys , sev , onions, chopped cilantro and lastly a bit more crushed puri in the end.
I am not kidding. Its a layered recipe with lots of prep. Try it on a rainy or a snowy day when you have nowhere to go. Gather few friend, neighbors and family. let them help you with the prep. Celebrate the cooler temperature and love of shared communal food.