Did you know that there are approximately two hundred thousand phuchka walas just in Kolkata? Just like several small industries, phuchka selling is quite a defined industry in the unorganised sector. Kolkata, like many other things, is fiercely loyal about its phuchka. A Kolkatan may travel to other parts of the country, have the pani puris or the golgappa but will always come back to the phuchka, vehemently proving that it is undoubtedly the best. Keeping in mind the passion, a few chefs have dared to explore the phuchka beyond the tradition and have been successful in attracting attention, if not anything else.
Phuchk-izza at Paranthe Wali Galli – Chef Rahul Arora defied all norms and turned the humble phuchka to a pizza. These bombshells are loaded with jalapenos, olives, paprika, pizza sauce and molten cheese. They simply explode with flavour as you pop them in your mouth.
Wax gourd Phuchka at Bohemian – Wax gourd? Are you serious? The maverick Chef Joymalya Banerjee has quite a number of phuchka variations in his restaurant at the newly launched Boho Hours. This one has a filling of wax gourd mousse with spicy honey lemon water. The mousse is smooth and the flavour is phenomenal with a subtle hint of fresh coriander leaves.
Thai Phuchka Bites at Mamagoto – The traditional snack Miang Kham from Thailand gets an interesting twist with a local touch. These small wonders are part of their Hawker’s Hall menu. These are phuchkas stuffed with betel leaf, peanuts, onion and lime and accompanied by sweet ginger sauce and red chilli.
Smoked Eggplant Phuchka at Bohemian – A splendid innovation, for those who do not want to explore too much and stick to vegetables that are generally acceptable, this is the phuchka to go for. Smoked eggplant has its own set of loyalists and with spiced Nolen Gur water, this one is a winner.
Garlic Keema Phuchka at Bohemian – Another one from the Bohemian stable is for meat lovers and it is packed with a strong mutton flavour which takes the centre stage in this signature creation. The spicy honey lemon water when swirled together is bound to please the most demanding taste buds.
Mutton Phuchka at MUD – A small and quaint little cafe with more or less regular cafe food has this variation of phuchka. The filling is with mutton keema and sticking to the tradition, they have added the regular tamarind water to make it palate pleasing.
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For someone who's run two restaurants, being a baker and cook par excellence comes easily to Madhushree . When she's not eating out, she's organizing her own pop ups or experimenting with regional recipes. Her experiments with food and her recipes are part of Pikturenama , where she's a co founder.