(by Kasturi Rout)
Now I will tell you one story of my life. I had a boyfriend. One early morning, my mother came to me and said, “Listen, betta [daughter]. I had a weird dream that your boyfriend has another girlfriend. He is lying to you that he is serious. Nothing is serious for him. He is just being cheesy with you and pretending that he is very loyal and all. Just maintain friendship with him. Don't be serious about him, otherwise you will suffer in the future.”
“C’mon, Mom,” I said. “Chill. Nothing will happen.”
My mother tends to worry about me a lot, in every area of my life. Especially concerning my career, she wants everything immediately, and tries to convince me to accept her guidance, even if I know that the decision is not right for me and I feel that she is interfering. But if I get distracted or make bad friendships, she’s a good guide.
And in this case, she was right. Later I came to know that my boyfriend had another girlfriend, and had sex with office girlfriends. And that’s when I realized that a mother knows everything about her daughter if they really are emotionally attached. Our special bond is like the Indian street snack of panipuri—sweet, savory, and salty. Otherwise, something is missing, like how panipuri is incomplete without potato.
Panipuri is a popular street-food snack—a deep-fried flatbread with a savory filling.
For puri (flatbread):
1 c. semolina
1 T. all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
For teekha pani (spicy water):
3 c. chopped coriander
1 1/2 c. chopped mint
1-in. knob of ginger, peeled
2 green chilies, chopped
2 T. roasted cumin powder
2 T. chaat masala (spice blend)
1 t. black salt
table salt, to taste
1/2 c. lemon juice
2 T. red chili powder
1 T. amchur (mango powder)
1 c. ice cubes
15 oz. cooked chickpeas
2 c. chilled water
For khatti methee (chutney):
2 1/2 c. tamarind
6 c. water
1 t. vegetable oil
1 1/2 T. cumin seeds
2 T. red chili powder
1 t. black salt or table salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
handful of fresh mint leaves
1/4 c. boiled and diced potato
1/2 c. chopped onion
pinch of black salt
To make puri:
Mix semolina, flour, and salt.
Add enough club soda to make a soft dough.
Knead into a ball, and let rest for 10 minutes covered with a damp tea towel.
Pull off small portions of the dough, about the size of a walnut.
Rub some oil on a rolling pin and on the surface you’ll use for rolling.
Roll a few balls at a time into small flat discs, keeping remaining balls covered.
In a large pot, heat oil to a depth of about two inches.
One at a time, place a disc in the hot oil, pressing it down.
When it puffs up and turns golden, flip over and brown the other side.
Drain on paper towels and repeat with remaining disks.
To make teekha pani (spicy water):
Place coriander, mint, ginger, chilies, cumin, chaat masala, black salt, table salt, lemon juice, chili powder, mango powder, and ice cubes in a blender.
Blend until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl.
Add chickpeas and chilled water.
To make chutney:
Soak the tamarind in water for 4 – 5 hours or overnight.
Squeeze and strain the pulp into a bowl.
Heat oil over medium heat and add cumin seeds, which will crackle.
Add red chili powder and strained tamarind.
Cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
Add salt and sugar, and cook 5 minutes more, until thickened.
Add mint and let cool.
To make stuffing:
Combine potatoes, onions, and salt.
Crack a hole in the top of each puri.
Fill with potato stuffing.
Add chutney and spicy water.