Bursting with tons of flavors and textures, gol gappa is a popular street snack from the Indian subcontinent that locals love to munch on regardless of the time of the day. Let’s discover more about gol gappas, the struggle of popping them whole in your mouth, and why they’re everyone’s favorite in India and Pakistan.
What is Gol Gappa?
Gol gappa consists of crispy puri (fried, hollow balls of dough) filled with boiled potatoes, onions, chickpeas, tamarind, and mint chutney, and sprinkled with chaat masala, and chili powder. They are accompanied by a bowl of sour-spicy liquid that is poured into each individual gol gappa while eating. The specialty of gol gappa lies in the way it’s savored: the whole stuffed and filled gol gappa has to be popped into one’s mouth without spilling, which makes eating gol gappa a challenge that’s best mastered with time.
Gol gappa is known by different names in different regions of the Indian subcontinent. For instance, it’s called pani puri in Mumbai, puchka in Bangladesh, gupchup in Bihar and Jharkhand, and gol gappa in Pakistan, and the Indian state of Mumbai. Just like the differences in the names, the ingredients of gol gappa also vary with places. While some make gol gappas spicier and tangy, others like to have milder, and sweeter ones.
What Does Gol Gappa Taste Like?
Gol gappa offers a myriad of flavors ranging from sour, spicy, and sweet. The puri (fried circular dough), sev (fried noodles), and onions give it a crisp texture while the mashed potato and chickpeas add a buttery creaminess. Gol gappa is sweet from the tamarind-jaggery dip and spicy from the sprinkle of chaat masala, and green chilies. The tanginess comes from the spicy-sour liquid they’re filled with as well as the yogurt dip.
How is Gol Gappa Made?
Making gol gappas consists of preparing four different assortments: puris, stuffing, chutneys, and tangy liquid. The puri is made from unleavened semolina-flour dough that’s rolled and shaped into several small circles (about 7” diameter) and deep-fried until they pop into their signature ball shape. The stuffing is prepared with mashed or cubed potatoes, chopped onions, boiled chickpeas, green peas, and seasonings. Each gol gappa is filled with a teaspoon of homemade or store-bought tamarind and mint chutneys. Lastly, gol gappa liquid is prepared by mixing water with tamarind paste, jaggery, chopped mint and coriander leaves, and seasonings. Here’s a guide to making authentic gol gappas.
Gol Gappa Types
Today, we can find nontraditional gol gappa varieties in many fine-dining restaurants around India and Pakistan. For instance, chocolate gol gappa in which the puri is coated and stuffed with chocolate and served alongside a chocolate dip instead of the tangy liquid. Similarly, ice cream gol gappay is stuffed with the ice cream of your choice and topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. While pizza gol gappay are stuffed with meat and cheese, fish gol gappay are becoming equally popular. Sometimes, gol gappas are stuffed with pea curry instead of the conventional potato stuffing. In India, people also like to douse their gol gappa with vodka or champagne instead of the traditional gol gappa liquid.