Make One of India’s Most Popular Street Food Snacks at Home

Pani puri is an Indian snack of crispy puffed bread filled with potato and spicy mint water. Using store-bought puri ensures it comes together easily.

Pani Puri

Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Micah Morton / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Active Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 10 mins

Bursting with flavor and texture, these bite-size snacks are one of the most popular street foods in India. The puri, which are small, fried hollow puffs, are stuffed with a chaat masala–spiced potato-and-chickpea filling. Wait until the last second to pour the spicy mint water into each puri to prevent the crispy shells from becoming soggy.

This recipe comes from Vijay Kumar of Semma restaurant in New York City, who made these pani puri for Padma Lakshmi’s Diwali party. At the restaurant, Kumar makes puri from scratch, but store-bought dried pani puri coins (as well as fried puri) are available at most Indian grocery stores and offer an easy shortcut to making this fun snack at home.

Frequently asked questions

What is pani puri?

Pani puri, also known as golgappa in New Delhi and much of northern India and as puchka in Bengal, is a snack comprised of a fried hollow puff filled with spiced potatoes and chickpeas. It's finished with pani, a spiced herb water, and eaten immediately.

Can pani puri be made ahead of time?

The pani (spicy mint water) can be made up to one day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make the filling and fry the puri the day you plan to eat them. Don't pour the pani into the puri until you are ready to eat.

Suggested pairing

Rather than wine, look to beer. A lightly bitter, malty beer, such as Kingfisher Lager, is the ultimate complement to the spicy, salty snack.

Notes from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen

Bhuna jeera (roasted cumin powder), kala namak (black salt), and dried pani puri coins are available at most Indian grocery stores or online at Kalustyan’s.


Pani (spicy mint water)

  • 1 1/4 cups cold water, divided

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves

  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

  • 2 tablespoons chopped unripe green mango

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped serrano chile (seeded, if desired)

  • 1 teaspoon chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala

  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon bhuna jeera (roasted cumin powder)

  • Pinch of kala namak (black salt)

  • Pinch of sea salt


  • 1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)

  • 3/4 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas (from 1 can)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1 tablespoon chaat masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder (such as Kashmiri)

  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Additional ingredients

  • Canola oil, for frying

  • 24 dried pani puri coins (such as Rani)


Make the pani (spicy mint water)

  1. Combine 1/2 cup cold water, mint, cilantro, mango, serrano chile, ginger, chaat masala, sugar, bhuna jeera, and kala namak in a food processor; process until smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Place a fine wire-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Pour mint mixture into strainer. Stir and press solids against mesh using a rubber spatula to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Stir salt and remaining 3/4 cup cold water into mint water. Cover and refrigerate while preparing the filling, or up to 1 day.

Make the filling

  1.  Place potato pieces in a small saucepan. Add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, undisturbed, until potato pieces are fork-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well. Place potato pieces in a large bowl; let cool 15 minutes. Add chickpeas, cilantro, chaat masala, red chile powder, and salt to bowl with potatoes; stir and coarsely mash mixture using a fork. Set aside.

  2. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high to 350°F. Drop 6 pani puri coins, 1 at a time, into hot oil. Fry, flipping occasionally, until puffed and golden brown, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain. Repeat process with remaining pani puri coins.

  3. Crack open the top of each pani puri, and stuff with about 1 tablespoon filling. Arrange pani puri, hole side up, on a serving platter. Stir spicy mint water, and pour into a small pitcher. Let guests pour the desired amount of spicy mint water (1 to 2 teaspoons) into pani puris just before eating.

Originally appeared in Food & Wine magazine, November 2023

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