Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Have you heard of the abbreviation S.P.D.P before? Well if you are from Pune or have lived in Pune for a while you are sure to know what I am talking about. It's the most popular dish in the most popular cafe in Pune. The dish is Sev Potato Dahi Puri , a tantalising combo of crisp puris filled with boiled potato, beaten yogurt, sweet and sour tamarind chutney, hot chilly and mint sauce, finely chopped onions and tomatoes all topped with more yogurt and crispy sev. In short it is heavenly.
The cafe is of course Vaishali on Ferguson College Road . For those of you who don't know Pune so well Vaishali is the most popular hangout for people of all ages in Pune. Mostly frequented by college going teenagers, it is also a favourite with ladies who come there in groups maybe for theie kitty parties or just to catch up on the latest with their friends , with people who come there for steaming hot idlis and delicious coffee after a session of tennis or badminton in the morning , and of course with pensioners who come there to relax and enjoy the youthful atmosphere . It is considered a great achievement to get a table in Vaishali as soon as you get there. Normally you need to wait at least 10 to 15 mins unless you are fortunate to know a waiter there who will be kind to procure a table for you at once.
So coming back to S.P.D.P it is a dish I have eaten umpteen times at Vaishali and have of course replicated it at home on many occasions too. I made it a few days back and could barely spare a few puris to take a picture of the dish. In my family we are notorious for devouring all kinds of chaat items in a matter of minutes
Making this in the UK requires a bit of planning as the puris are available only at the Indian grocers (you can make them at home but I find that a bit tedious ) and you must have plenty of coriander ,mint and chillies at hand not to mention tamarind and palm sugar or demerara sugar for the chutney .
So you need:
1box of Pani Puris or flat Puris (whichever you prefer, it is easier with the pani puris as they are puffed and therefore easier to fill )
2 large potatoes boiled and coarsely mashed,
3 to 4 cups of sprouted moong beans (this is optional but I recommend it , soak green moong lentils one day earlier and then wrap them up the next morning in a thin cloth till they sprout )
1 large onion finely chopped,
1 large tomato finely chopped,
Sweet and sour tamarind chutney (recipe given below)
Chilly and mint sauce (recipe below)
2 cups beaten yogurt (add a little sugar and salt to this)
Chilly powder to sprinkle on top
Chaat masala to sprinkle on top (available at Indian stores)
Fine Sev (available at Indian stores)
Fresh coriander for garnishing
Whew!! thats quite a list.
Tamarind Sauce or chutney
Boil a handful of tamarind fruit in water till the tamarind goes all soft and pulpy, let it cool a bit, then check to see that there are no seeds in the pulp, remove seeds if you find any. Strain this boiled tamarind so that you have a smooth pulp left ,
Add double the quantity of palmsugar (jaggery) to the pulp, 1 tspn chilly powder, 1 tspn salt, 1/2 tspn each of cumin and coriander powder and blend it all together in a blender. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning. If you find it too sour add more jaggery and blend again.
Your tamarind sauce is ready
For the mint and chilly sauce:
Blend together a handful of mint leaves, 3 green chillies, and a handful of coriander with 2 to 3 tspns of lemon juice and a tspn og salt. Add a little amount of water while blending but keep it to a minimum as we do not want a very runny sauce.
Now the assembling:
To serve place 6 puris on a plate. Make a hole on the top of each one them to put in the different fillings.
First put in the boiled potato bits, then come the sprouted moong beans, now the onion and tomato, , next add the yogurt and the two sauces, and finally top it all with plenty of sev, another lashing of yogurt and season with chaat masala ,chilly powder and salt. Garnish with corainder and serve.
Don't get discouraged by all the prepping that is involved. The final product is worth every bit of effort it takes