How To Make Puchka - Recipe by Dina Begum

Puckha (potato & chickpea pastries with tamarind sauce & grated eggs) is the undisputed star in Bangladeshi street food. You’ll see numerous streetfood carts around the streets of every city you visit, with crowds popping puchka one after another or taking them away in bags of shells, sauce and toppings.

Crispy, shatteringly delicate hollow puri rounds are filled with a chickpea and potato mixture, then topped with a spiced tamarind sauce and grated hard-boiled eggs.

Unlike its close cousin the pani puri or gol gappa in India, the puchka is heftier and more filling, the sauce is thicker and the egg adds a unique contrast.

These are one-biters, so place them in the mouth whole and enjoy a flavour explosion!

Made in Bangladesh by Dina Begum (Hardie Grant, £28), Photography by Haarala Hamilton and Habibul Haque

Ingredients for Puchka

  • 2 medium eggs
  • 20–24 pani puri shells
  • 1 green chilli, chopped small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
  • 3–4 tablespoons sev (fried gram flour noodles)

For the tamarind sauce

  • 150 g (5 ½ oz) tamarind pulp
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz/11/4 cups) boiling water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon amchoor (dried mango powder)
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black salt (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

For the filling

  • 1 potato (about 160 g/5 ¾ oz), peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped coriander (cilantro)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 160 g (5 ¾ oz) drained canned chickpeas (garbanzos)

How to make Puchka

  1. To make the tamarind sauce, soak the tamarind pulp in the boiling water, mixing well to break up any. Cover and leave to sit for 30 minutes.

  2. After 30 minutes, strain the mixture through a sieve (fine mesh strainer) into a small saucepan and use a spoon to extract as much of the tamarind pulp as possible.

  3. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pan, then simmer over a medium–high heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a thick sauce that falls easily off the spoon.

  4. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, to begin preparing the filling, place the potato chunks in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over a high heat and cook for around 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside but leave the pan on the heat.

  6. With the water still boiling, add the eggs and cook for 10–11 minutes until hard-boiled. Remove from the pan and place the eggs under cold running water to stop them cooking further. Once cool, peel and grate the eggs, then set aside.

  7. Roughly chop the cooked potato pieces and tip into a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients for the filling, along with 3 tablespoons of the tamarind sauce. Mix well, mashing the mixture slightly, until everything is well combined.

  8. Taste for seasoning at this point and adjust if required.

  9. To assemble the puchkas, carefully crack the tops of the pastry shells by pushing with your thumb to create a small opening into which a teaspoon can fit. It may take a couple of goes to get the hang of this. Once the tops are cracked, fill each pastry shell about three-quarters full with the potato and chickpea filling.

  10. Place the filled shells on a serving dish and drizzle a little tamarind sauce over each pastry (about 1 teaspoon each).

  11. Top with the grated eggs, chopped chillies, coriander and a sprinkle of sev and serve immediately.

© Speciality Cooking Supplies Limited 2024

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