Asian Mash-Up: Pani Puri

pani puri

Our Asian Mash-Up feast began with humble appearing Pani Puri.  Pani Puri are an example of South Indian chaat, street food snacks.  The puri are the fried dough puffs, and pani means water.  The waters are spiced chutneys, in this case, a tomato water and a tamarind based water (these are in the clear Solo containers).  Pani puri are eaten by poking a hole into the top of the puri, and filling in with desired amounts of the fillings (counterclockwise from top), followed by pouring on the pani:

sev, red onion, spiced potatoes, cilantro

Each bite yields a delicate crunch and a burst of flavor.

All recipes are from Chef Nalin, unless otherwise noted.

Mango-Tomato Chaat

Finely cut mango halves into small cubes

Finely cut heirloom tomatoes into small cubes

Small amount of finely diced red onion

Chaat masala, chili powder, aamchoor, cumin, coriander, salt

Let drain, and then refrigerate

Pani Puri Chaat

Potatoes – 1-2 medium sized ones

Green chilli – 1 finely chopped (optional)

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp

Cumin/jeera powder – 1 tsp

Chaat masala – a pinch (use more)



Onion – 1 finely chopped

Coriander leaves – as needed (finely chopped)


Pressure cook potatoes, peel the skin and mash it well. Add finely chopped green chillies, red chilli powder, cumin powder, chaat masala, salt needed and mix well.

Variant 1: Pani


Ice cold water – 3 cups

Green chutney – 3 tbsp

Sweet chutney (dates tamarind chutney) – 2 tbsp

Chilli powder – 1 tsp

Chaat masala powder- 1 1/2 tsp

Roasted Cumin/jeera powder -1 tsp (dry roast cumins seeds and powder it)

Variant 2: from Shinku (Nalin’s cousin):

Cut 1 green mango. Boil it in water with a green chili if you want spicy.

In the blender, put  20-30 leaves of mint, 1/2 a bunch of fresh cilantro, cumin, black salt, regular salt, and some of the green mango mixture. Grind well. Add remaining green mango mixture and grind everything. Add tamarind chutney. It is ready made and available at Indian stores. Add water, salt, lemon juice, amchoor as needed.

Tamarind Chutney (aka Imli Chutney)

2 tbsp tamarind concentrate

2 cups water

1/2 cup jaggery or sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1. Boil 2 cups water in pot. Add in the tamarind paste and mix well so that no lumps form.

2. Add the jaggery next and reduce heat to medium.

3. When mixture has reduced to about half a cup, add the ground cumin powder, salt and red chili powder. Keep stirring the chutney. When the chutney nicely coats the spatula, then you know it is ready. Remove from flame.

Essence of Tomatoes

(from Running With Tweezers)

5 pounds large cherry or small roma vine-ripened tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 stick celery , finely chopped

1 small cucumber, peeled and finely chopped

1 small shallot , finely chopped

half of a fennel bulb, finely chopped

1 small garlic clove , finely chopped

2 sprigs thyme , roughly chopped

handful basil leaves, roughly chopped


In a food processor, pulse the tomato mix in batches until roughly chopped, add salt, cover and marinate overnight

Place three layers of cheesecloth (or a new kitchen cloth) over a large bowl and pour the mix into the cloth. Tie up with string and hang in a cold place for several hours over the bowl to collect the tomato essence. Taste and correct the seasoning, if necessary, then cool in the fridge. Add smoked cumin.

This is part of the Asian Mash-Up menu, presented by Chef Nalin.

The Inaugural Spicebox Supperclub Dinner: Asian Mash-Up

Welcome to the Spicebox Supperclub!
Who are we?
spicebox– masala dabba, a traditional container used by Indian cooks to organize and store spices
supperclub– an eating establishment that functions as a social club; a pop-up restaurant; a speakeasy
We’re a group of four couples in San Francisco who share a love of food, travel, adventure and conversation. To be clear, we really, really love food.  Several of us have been known to fly across the oceans in pursuit of one particular meal.  One of us is the author of, a food and travel blog.  While we all enjoy eating in restaurants, the idea for our supper club came about from a member who has vivid memories of his parents’ supper club in the ’70s, enigmatic adult-only dinner parties that would last into the wee hours of the morning.  We’re reviving the model and planning quarterly themed dinner parties.  As might be expected from people who travel to eat, we can be a bit fanatical in our menu planning, and we’ll be sharing our menus, recipes, and stories here.
The inaugural dinner was a multi-course menu with the theme of “Asian Mash-Up.”


Spicebox Supperclub Dinner #1 Saturday, September 7, 2013

Asian Mash-Up

Hosts: Heather and Nalin

Executive Chef: Nalin

Bartender:  PCH, assisted by Linda (AKA SpiceboxTravels, the original)

Sommelier: Chris

Pastry Chef: Dave


Cocktails: Singapore Sling


Pani Puri with Mango-Tomato Chaat, Pani Puri Chaat, Tamarind Chutney and Essence of Tomatoes

2012 Gritsh Gruner-Veltliner

Miso Soup

Main Courses:

Miso-Ginger Salmon with Sumeshi (vinegared sushi rice) Round and Sweet Soy Glaze, served with Mint-Cilantro Chutney

2012 Hovey C2 White Wine Blend:  tasting room is in the Murphy, CA, childhood home of Albert Michelson, physicist and 1st American to receive a Nobel Prize for calculating the speed of light; visited by the hosts in August, 2013

Kimchi Sesame Noodles

2004 Domaine de la Vieille Julienne Chateauneuf du Pape that Chris and Diana had shipped back home while traveling and wine tasting in Provence in 2006.

Lychee-Plum Soju Sorbet

Indian Influenced Char Siu Pork, served with Wok-Seared Baby Bok Choy with Chili Oil and Garlic and House-Pickled Cucumbers

2004 Finca Sandoval (83% Syrah, 9% Monastrell, and 8% Bobal), a Rhone style wine from Spain


Gingersnaps with Sugar Sparkles

Tea Truffles: Lapsang Souchong Truffles with Candied Ginger, Earl Grey (Blacker originals)

Cardamom-Vanilla Panna Cotta with Mango and Toasted Coconut

2001 Chateau Doisy Vedrines Sauternes 

It was an epic meal, full of conversation and laughter, lasting close to seven hours.  If you’re tempted by the menu, please check back in the coming weeks for the recipes.  Thank you for visiting!