Kolkata: Panipuri is a common street snack in several regions of the Indian subcontinent. In East India, it is known as Phuchhka while in North India, it is called Golgappa. It consists of a round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of flavored water (pani), tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas.
Phuchkas, also known as Golgappas or Panipuris elsewhere, are not only a popular street food in many places in India but also in Nepal and Bangladesh. The Bengali variant Phuchka is very different and obviously not so easily available elsewhere.
The filling of Phuchka in Kolkata is different with Aloo/Potato, so is the Tetul Jol/Tamarind Water which smells of Gondhoraj Lebu. This Gondhoraj Lebu or the Bengali Lime remains elusive in the shores outside the shores of Bengal.
Dilipda’s phuchkas in South Kolkata are so famous. But his best item is dahi phuchka, garnished with sweet chutney made from dates, mango pulp and pudina. The water that is had with the phuchka smacks of green mangoes and gondhoraj. “A decade ago, I used to get Marwari customers. But now, Bengalis have also Bengalis have also started crowding the stall,” Dilipda says. Dilipda also make mutton, chicken and cocktail phuchkas on order.
Dilipda is very famous. He said that ‘Ei to Bipasha Basu bollo aar eshe hajir. He also mentioned that ‘Debosree to kurita Phuchka khabeyi khabe(Debosree will definitely eat 20 Phuchkas)’ or ‘Konkona amar kaach theke Phuchka Moshla niye jay.
Dilipda is the 3rd generation of Phuchkawallas settled in Kolkata. His great grandfather had hailed from Bhagalpur in Bihar, a neighbouring state of Bengal. His food stall – Maharaja Chaat Centre has been serving Phuchkas exactly at the same spot for the last 35 years.
Before that his stall was in the Safari Park inside the Lake that adorns the Southern Avenue. When Kolkata Municipality banned them from selling there in 1980, all the street food vendors shifted base to Vivekananda Park. At a rate of 1,000 Phuchkas served daily to 100 people, he has been feeding atleast 12,500,000 Phuchkas so far! No mean task at all.
Dilipda arrives daily at his stall at 3pm in his small blue cycle van which he terms a as his BMW-Mercedes. Back in his Tollygunge house his family helps in making around 2,000 fresh crispy Phuchkas every day. And the different types of water that accompany the Phuchkas and the other snacks that he serves – the Telul Jol/Tamarind Water and the Phuchkar Jol/Phuchka Water. Along with the minute detailing in the variety of fresh garnishes.
The water is prepared fresh daily, he says. And he also prepares it with Mineral water if informed earlier for all his NRI (Non-Resident Indian) customers who are very fragile in their digestion capabilities where road side food is concerned.Kolkata: Panipuri is a common street snack in several regions of the Indian subcontinent. In East India, it is known as Phuchhka while in North India, it is called Golgappa. It consists of a round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of flavored water (pani), tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas.