Masala Poori is a popular street food in the state of Karnataka. For the uninitiated, it refers to a warm chaat wherein a flavourful green pea gravy is poured over crushed crunchy pooris. This is served topped with sev, finely chopped onion and tomato, lots of coriander, and sweet and spicy chutneys.
In Bangalore, you will find Masala Poori (aka Masal Poori) being sold at almost every street corner. It is something I took a lot of time wrapping my head around – for me, chaat is never warm, always room temperature. However, as I began trying more of it, I started appreciating its many layers and even started liking it. It’s just the perfect thing for the overcast weather in Bangalore most part of the year and, when made right, can be absolutely delicious too.
One of my aunts, who has lived in Karnataka for decades, has a definite Kannadiga touch to her cooking. She is my go-to person for all things Kannada and culinary, from whom I have learnt many of the state’s heritage dishes. Masala Poori is the husband’s absolute favourite thing ever, so it is one of the very first things I learnt to make from her. Today, I’m going to share with you all how to make Masal Poori, the way I have learnt from my aunt, the way we make it at home.
A closer look at Masala Poori Chaat
There are three main components of a Masala Poori Chaat:
1. Crunchy golgappa pooris, i.e. the pooris that are used to make pani poori. You can make these from scratch if you prefer or buy the ready-to-use ones that are commonly available in departmental stores these days. I bought the flat ‘pani poori papads‘ that are available in several stores now, and then deep-fried them at home.
2. The green pea gravy that is poured over crushed pooris. It is always made using dried green peas, never fresh peas or dried yellow peas. The dried green peas are soaked, then cooked along with a few spices and other ingredients.
3. The toppings, which are similar to those used in any chaat – chopped onion and tomato, coriander, sev, and sweet and spicy chutneys. Here is how I make the sweet chutney at home, and here’s my recipe for the spicy green chutney.
I would like to add here that the making of Masala Poori is fairly simple though, at first glance, there seem to be many ingredients involved. Do not be intimidated by the long list of ingredients or the lengthy method. There are a few easy steps to perform, after which putting together the Masala Poori is a breeze.
How to make Masal Poori
Here is how to go about it.
Ingredients (serves 4-6):
To grind together – 1:
1. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
2. 1 small onion
3. 4-5 cloves garlic
4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
To grind together – 2:
1. A handful of fresh coriander, leaves + stems
2. A handful of fresh mint leaves
3. 2 green chillies or as per taste
1. 1 cup dried green peas
2. 1 medium-sized potato
3. 1 small carrot
4. Salt to taste
5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
6. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)
7. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
8. 3/4 teaspoon garam masala
9. 3/4 teaspoon coriander seeds powder
10. 3/4 teaspoon chana masala
11. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
12. About 30 golgappas/ pani poori pooris
1. 1 medium-sized onion
2. 1 small carrot
3. About 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
4. 1 medium-sized tomato
5. Sweet-sour tamarind chutney, as required
6. Spicy green chutney, as needed
6. Fine sev, as needed
1. Soak the dried green peas in enough water to cover them completely, for 8-10 hours or overnight.
2. When the peas are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Take the drained peas in a wide vessel. Peel a medium-sized potato and a small carrot, chop them into large pieces, and add these to the peas in the vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover everything fully.
3. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Allow to cook for about 4 whistles or till everything is well-cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.
4. In the meantime, we will grind together the first set of ingredients needed for the Masala Poori. Peel the ginger, garlic cloves and onion and chop them roughly. Chop the tomatoes roughly too. Grind together the chopped ginger, garlic, onion and tomatoes to a smooth puree. Keep aside.
5. Now, we will grind together the second set of ingredients we need. Chop the coriander leaves and stems and green chillies roughly. Add them to a mixer jar along with the mint leaves. Grind together to a smooth puree along with a little water. Keep aside.
6. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, get the vessel out. Transfer the cooked potato and carrot pieces and about 2 tablespoons of the cooked peas to a mixing bowl. Mash these well, using a potato masher. Keep the rest of the cooked green peas aside – do not discard the water they were cooked in.
7. Transfer the tomato puree we ground earlier to a large pan. Place on high flame. Once the pan gets heated up, reduce the flame down to medium. Cook on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the raw smell of the ingredients is gone completely. Stir intermittently.
8. Add some salt to the pan, along with turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix well.
9. Now, still keeping the flame at medium, add the coriander-mint puree we ground earlier, to the pan. Mix well.
10. Add in the cooked green peas, along with the water they were cooked in. Mix well.
11. Now, add the garam masala, coriander seeds powder and jaggery powder to the pan. Mix well.
12. Now, add in the mashed potato and carrot. Mix well.
13. Cook everything on medium flame for 4-5 minutes or till the gravy thickens and comes together. Stir intermittently. You may add more water if the gravy becomes too thick. Switch off gas when the mixture has thickened but is still on the runnier side, as it will thicken up more upon cooling.
14. Mix in the lemon juice. The ‘masala‘ is ready. Keep it covered while we prepare for the chaat to be served.
15. Next, we will prepare the garnishing we need to serve the Masala Poori. Peel the onion and chop finely. Chop the tomato and coriander finely. Peel the carrot and grate medium-thick. Keep the sweet-sour tamarind chutney, spicy green chutney and fine sev ready.
16. When you are ready to serve the Masala Poori, ensure that the ‘masala‘ is warm if not hot. To assemble one portion, take 6-7 golgappas in a large bowl and break them up using your hands. Put a couple of ladles of the hot/warm ‘masala‘ on top of the pooris. Drizzle some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and spicy green chutney on top, as per taste. Add some chopped onion, tomato and coriander and grated carrot on top. Drizzle some fine sev on top of this and serve immediately.
17. Prepare all the portions of Masala Poori and serve the same way.
Tips & Tricks
1. Adjust the amount of water you use depending upon the consistency of the masala you require. Ideally, it should be runny but not too watery. Also, do remember that it thickens up with time.
2. Don’t skip the jaggery. It adds a lovely flavour to the Masala Poori.
3. Sometimes, whole spices like cinnamon are added into the masala. I have skipped them because my family doesn’t prefer them.
4. Adjust the number of green chillies you use as per personal taste preferences. If the heat from the green chillies is enough, skip the red chilli powder completely.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me in your comments!