Open your mouth wide and gup, gup! Crunch down with one bite on these round balls: hence the name in Punjabi, Gole Guppay. My husband and his college buddies would buy these refreshing and unusual snacks from the street vendor in Ludhiana who would break them open with his thumb, fill them with a savory stuffing and then carefully and quickly pour cold Zeera Masala Pani into the crispy puffs at the last minute. Our guests at the cooking class found them to be great fun as well as delicious.

Aly takes one big bite!

Stuffed Semolina Puffs
Gole Guppay/Pani Puri (in Hindi)
Yield: 40 puffs

1 (4 oz.) bag pre-packaged puff wafers*
2 med./small red potato (about 1½ cups when diced)
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup sweet or red onion, finely chopped (optional)
½ cup cilantro leaves (packed), and sliced finely at the last minute
½ teaspoon salt
Sont or Tamarind Chutney (optional)
Zeera Masala Pani

Open the bag of wafers carefully. There are usually a few broken pieces in the bag. Taste one. It should be very crunchy. If not, put the wafers in a single layer on a cookie sheet and heat briefly in a 300- degree, pre-heated oven to crisp. Let them come to room temperature before serving.

Score the potatoes with a knife and heat, microwaving or boiling the potatoes until just cooked—not mushy. Cool. Peel and cut into ¼ inch dice.

Fill a serving bowl with the chickpeas. Toss in the potato and onion (if using), cilantro and salt.

To Assemble: Each guest makes his/her own stuffed wafer, one at a time.

Carefully spread the wafers on a platter or cookie sheet. Poke a hole in the top of the wafer with your thumb. Add a spoon of potato mixture. Top with a half-teaspoon of chutney, if desired. Then carefully pour the masala panee water into the stuffed wafer. Quickly pop the whole thing into your mouth.

*Most likely called Pani Puri in the Indian grocery store.
 
Spicy Cumin Water (vegan)
Zeera Masala Panee

Yield: 2 cups for GoleGuppay, 1qt. as an aperitif

This refreshing drink plays double duty. Drink it as a “mocktail” before dinner to whet the appetite and aid in digestion, or pour it into the semolina puff wafers. (You will be more adroit if you pour the water from a creamer into the stuffed wafer, rather than pouring from a larger pitcher.)

4 tablespoons tamarind concentrate, or more to taste
¼ cup warm water* **
1-inch piece ginger root, grated
2½ teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, ground
1 teaspoon ground black salt
1-2 teaspoons salt, to taste
Cayenne pepper to taste
3-5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar, or more to taste
½ cup packed fresh mint leaves, ground

Dissolve the tamarind in the warm water in a pitcher. Add the ginger, cumin, black and white salt*, cayenne, lemon, sugar and mint. Add two cups cold water. Refrigerate for two hours. Strain through a sieve or cloth.

*Use the least amount of salt, lemon, and sugar at first. Taste the water after it has been cooled and strained. If it is too strong for your taste, add another half-cup of cold water. If using Sont, (Syrupy Ginger/Mango) or Tamarind Chutney, which are strongly sweet, be sure to make a test wafer before changing the lemon or sugar in this recipe.

**If making the mixture as a drink before dinner (aperitif), add two cups of water. Before serving, mix in two cups of crushed ice. Stir for several minutes. Pour into wine glasses with the ice. Serve garnished with sliced lemon and mint-leaf sprigs.