The New York Times

Pani Puri: A Dribbly, Joyful Mess

THIS INDIAN STREET FOOD REPRESENTS THE LOUD, HAPPY CHAOS OF MY CULTURE.

LOS ANGELES — I grew up thinking my mom was the pinnacle of virtue. When I was young, she told me that she had lied only once (a lie in itself). The story of that lie was of mythic importance to our family: When my mother was a kid in Kolkata, India, there was a “pani puri” cart across the street from her house, but she wasn’t allowed to eat from it in the afternoons for fear that she’d ruin her appetite for dinner.

Pani puri is a small crackerlike pocket of unleavened

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