Origin of Pani-Puri: The Khatti-Meethi story of Gol Gappa

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Origin of Pani puri – Who doesn’t love Pani Puri? Golgappa is a snack that consists of a ball-shaped hollow puri filled with a mixture of flavoured water, tamarind chutney, chili, potato, onion, or chickpeas. Pani Puri or Golgappa travelled across India and made everyone fall in love with it. Over the years, the combinations and the ingredients underwent many changes as each region developed its own version. The main element of this recipe is stuffing of potato-chickpea mash and tangy, sweet and sour water. But, did you ever wonder who made the golgappas first? Let’s find out the history of Panipuri or the origin of Gol Gappe.
origin of pani puri

Origin of Gol Gappe – Origin of Pani puri

Although there are no confirmed records to show the actual origin of the golgappas, two stories float about it. While one of the stories is connected with Indian mythology, the other has roots in Indian history. The first story is connected with Mahabharata. When Draupadi came home after marriage, the Pandavas were living in hiding and had to manage with very limited resources. So, to test her capabilities to run the household, Draupadi’s mother-in-law, Kunti gave her some leftover potatoes and a small amount of wheat dough. She asked her to make food that would satisfy the hunger of all her sons. It is said that Draupadi then made small puris and filled them with potatoes so that everyone can get something to eat. This is believed to be the origin of Golgappas.

The second story says that the first origin of Golgappa was in Magadh, where it was called ‘Phulki’. However, who discovered this has not been mentioned anywhere in the books. 

Two main ingredients of Golgappa are potato and chili and they both came to India 300-400 years ago. According to Pushpesh Pant, a prominent food historian it is possible that Golgappa was made out of Raj-Kachori. But, then again there is no proof to that.

Do Read: History and Origin of Idli: Get some fun facts about Idli

Different names of Pani Puri – Origin of Pani Puri

Today, Pani puri has a dozen different names that change from place to place. In most parts of central and southern India, it is known as pani puri but the recipes have few variations.

In north India, pani puri is known by various names such as gol gappe, pani ke pataashe, gup chup or phulkis.

In West Bengal, pani puri is called phuchka. There it is made from whole-wheat flour, unlike the other places where these are usually made of all-purpose flour or semolina. The panipuri water there is also a little spicier than that used in the rest of the country.

In Maharashtra, white peas curry is added to the potato mash, while in Gujarat, boiled moong is added and in Karnataka, chopped onions are added to potato mash.

Origin of Pani puri

The interesting part is in Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, Golgappa is called Tikki, which is used to denote crispy potato patties in north India!

Irrespective of what it is called, one thing is for sure that Golgappas are loved by foodies throughout India and are now a popular dish in various parts of the world too. Its no longer associated only with the street-food but is also served in various fine-dining restaurants.

Must Read: India Guide: List of Most popular cuisines of India

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