Made with wheat flour the puri is a flat piece of bread like a mini pancake before it is deep-fried. It swells up like magic upon frying into a crunchy rotund ball. The ball is then punctured at the top to create a pea-sized hole and filled with a mixture of boiled potato, fried chickpeas, thin fried noodles, and spices. The tangy flavor is due to sweetened tamarind chutney, and water flavored with mint, asafetida, salt, and red chilly powder. In order to obtain optimum taste pick the ball between fingers and place it inside the mouth. Then bite into it to release the stuff onto the palate. Believe me, you are bound to pick the next ball before one slithers down the throat.
Pani puri is sold not only on roadside handcarts, but the popularity has also widened the scope immensely, and the poor man's snack has found a place in fast food joints, sweet shops, and sophisticated departmental stores. The latter is a surprise entry. It has become a prerequisite. Nowadays women's shopping is incomplete without gracefully downing a few water balls while on a spree.
The description may not create an appeal amongst food fanatics but down a few of these tangy water purees and then experience the turnover.
Incidentally, chaat in Hindi means to lick!