Phuchka or Chatpati always make wet our mouth, as just utter them or hear. Both are really awesome in taste. Though we call them by different names, but both are made with same ingredients- boiled Pigeon pea, boiled egg and potato slices, various spices, jaggery and tamarind mixed: sweet-sour water and salt. Along with these the most inevitable ingredient is Phuchka; which usually made with Flour and Talmakhna.
It's important for both the item Phuchka and Chatpati. Item Phuchka is named on its own name with all other above mentioned ingredients, a round shaped hollow puri filled with those. Chatpati is different than phuchka; it's made from the same ingredients too, but served with the crushed phuchka puri. One spoon chatpati or bite of a single phuchka always introduces a massive tasty wave in our mouth, which is always peerless. It's really hard to find someone who never likes phuchka or chatpati.
From such popularity we can easily measure its level of tastiness. Along with this it has a nutrient value too. Professor of the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science of University of Dhaka, Dr. Khaleda Islam says, "Phuchka obviously has some good nutrients value for our health. Its pigeon peas have true protein. Though flour is being used as the main ingredients of this round shape phuchka puri, it's an authentic source of carbohydrates." But we have to be conscious about purity. She added, "Phuchka have to make in a hygienic way.
It's never brings any good for our health, whether this phuchka would fry in non edible oil-item, like: diesel or burned engine oils, to make them crispier. As we see this nowadays on various Medias. Not only that we have to confirm that it's not fried in several times used edible oil too.
And such unhygienic oils might bring various disorders to health. In the long run it's caused Cancer to our stomach and liver, as this unhygienic ways carry toxicity. We need to use pure drinking water for it too. And the other spices bring good impacts on our health, as these full of good ingredients. But we have to use green chili, instead of red chili powder, as green chili is a source of Cardio glycoside, which is very good for heart health."
According to National Geographic Journal of India, this mouth-watering dish's origination was in Varanasi. It's invented from the idea of consuming popular dish Luchi in a smaller and crispy shape. Afterwards Indians bring a necessary change on its outlook and taste with the touch of Mughlai cuisine. Before 1947 phuchka couldn't find much popularity like today in Bangladesh. After the partition of India -Pakistan, many people came here from the West Bengal and made permanent residences.
And from their cooking process phuchka had made a stable position here in our Bangladeshi kitchen. Ordinary luchi became a crispy- crunchy smaller Phuchka, which is mostly known as Pani Puri throughout India. But it has some different names in different places of India too. In Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan it's generally called 'Patasi'. But in New Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh - it's widely known as 'Golgappa'.
Even in Pakistan phuchka is known as golgappa too. It has another name, 'Fulki' is called in Nepal and Sri Lanka. Whatever it called throughout the subcontinent but it's from our very cuisine. Region wise it has various type of names like: Golgappa, Fulki, Tikki, Gupchup, Panipuri, Phuchka etc. And there are some interesting sakes behind such naming; Golpappa is called as this round shape edible thing is usually taking at a time with a single chance entirely the whole-piece. In some native language of India consuming something with a single chance at a time entirely is often called 'Gappa'; though the item is round and round is uttered as 'Gol'. So with these two syllables the name formed as 'Golgappa'.
On the other hand Panipuri came, as it's usually taking with spicy - sour - sweet mixed water inside. I mean, though this round shape phuchka usually consume with spicy mixed water, so that it's called Panipuri too. Among all the titles Panipuri is much uttered and conventional. Records are saying that this name is from Magadha, an ancient kingdom of southern Bihar of India. It's served in different ways, as it has different names in region wise. But its main difference is seen within its inner materials, which is called 'Pur' in our native Bengali.
Somewhere this pur is made with boiled pigeon peas, various seasonal boiled vegetables and somewhere with only boiled potato; along with various spices. Almost everywhere this food is made in a hot-spicy taste. But somewhere it's also served with sweet taste. Most of the consumers take phuchka with sweet-sour tamarind water. But it also served with condiment of smashed coriander leaf, mint-water, lemon-water or sweet date-juice.
Entire the country dahi-phuchka or phuchka with sour yogurt is pretty much popular, using various peas with spicy chanachur or sweet Papad as inner ingredients; along with various nuts. Here in dahi-phuchka sour yogurt is used instead of tamarind-water. Usually in small Rickshaw van-shop, hawker with bual, shopping malls and in front of school and college - phuchka or chatpati is seen available every corner of the country. And the price is really in the capable range.
Nowadays this common place's phuchka or chatpati costs 20 taka per plate. And in the posh restaurants it's price starts from 100 taka per plate. Whatever the price range is, it has a genuine and cordial acceptance. And that's why it's available in every standard's places.
Phuchka has been mentioned repeatedly in various international. traveling documentary and blogs. Food and Traveling program, "Food Safari" of channel 'TLC' and 'Fox Traveler', described Phuchka as "a complete Bengali street food". And in a sense it's not only brings good taste in our mouth, but also stands with a fame of the nation.
The writer is a Sub-Editor of The Asian Age