Potato Masala Pani Puri with Date and Tamarind Chutney

Plate of the potato masala pani puri from Mister Mao
Image by Sam Hanna

This medley of spices, textures, and powerful flavors combine to create something truly beautiful. This pani puri recipe is a combination of multiple cultures, but holds true to the original Indian philosophy of using rich, earthy, full flavors. Sweet dates, sizzling chile powder, and tart lime juice pack a range of flavors into the pani puri’s crispy shell. They also pair contrasting textures of the crunchy shells and creamy, comforting potato masala filling in a bite-sized package. This recipe makes a great appetizer or side dish.

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Makes 24 to 36 pani puri

  • 1 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal or split lentils
  • 1 tablespoon black mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon kashmiri chile powder
  • 10 curry leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 4 cups diced yukon gold potatoes, cooked until fork-tender
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Store-bought pani puri shells (available on Amazon or Asian markets)
  • Date and Tamarind Chutney (recipe follows)
  • Fiery Mint Water (recipe follows)
  • For the Date and Tamarind Chutney
  • Look for tamarind concentrate at Asian or Mexican markets.
  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 2 cups prunes or raisins
  • 1 cup chopped ginger
  • 8 ounces tamarind concentrate (find this in Asian or Mexican markets)
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid or lime juice
  • 2 serrano peppers, sliced thin
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the Fiery Mint Water
  • 1 quart ice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon Indian black salt
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind puree (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon citric acid or lime juice
  • 5 to 7 serrano peppers (or more, depending on spice level of peppers)
  • 1 bunch mint
  • 2 bunches cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt to taste

For the Date and Tamarind Chutney

Combine all ingredients in a large pot over medium heat and cook until fruits are soft, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly; transfer to a blender and puree until mixture reaches the consistency of ketchup. Let cool completely.

For the Fiery Mint Water

In a blender combine 4 cups water with all ingredients. Blend until smooth. (You may need to do this in batches.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Add 4 more cups of water to mixture and stir to combine.


  1. In a saute pan over medium heat, heat oil until shimmering. Add urad dal and heat until toasty and nutty, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add black mustard seed and cook until seeds pop slightly. Remove pan from heat. Add cumin, turmeric, chile powder, and curry leaves (if using) then stir in chickpeas, potatoes, and salt. Mash everything together gently with a spoon and let cool.
  2. Prepare pani puri shells according to package. Transfer filling to a piping bag and pipe into prepared shells. (You may have leftover filling.) Top with Date and Tamarind Chutney and pour Fiery Mint Water into each shell right before serving.


  • Recipe By
    Sophina Uong of Mister Mao in New Orleans
  • Contributing City
    New Orleans
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