How many of you feel incomplete if you havent had churmur after a nice rendezvous with Phuchka. At least for me no amount of Phuchka can satiate my hunger for it yet I stop after some time. I stop but I dont retire. I aim for the churmur.
There is a sequence in Phuchka eating –
Phuchka has been one of my fav street food for time eternity. There are many disputes on which one is better – Phuchka, Golgappa, pani ke batashe, Pani Puri – every state has their own favourite and their version. As much as there is a debate on which one is better, there is no less debate or passionate arguments over which one is the best Phuchka place in Kolkata. There are several Phuchka wallas across each street and para in Kolkata that claim to be the best. Here are my favourite ones. Again much later when I spoke with CondeNast Traveller there were several others from Kolkata who spoke yet all had different choices. For each Phuchka lover, there is a sequence. You eat as much as you want, yet you ask for one Phau ( pronounced as Fow in Foul) which is one extra. This one is a dry one without the tamarind water yet add all the condiments. Then comes the churmur.
Churmur is a form of chat and how much different is it from Papri Chaat?
Decoding Churmur is easy yet tough. It’s a street food mostly found with the Phuchkwallas. It is a type of chaat that is tangy, and crispy yet moderately healthy. Most often Churmur is a byproduct of the Phuchkawallas. The Phuchkas which are not inflated often are kept aside and are used for churmur. One of the major differences is in the papri chaat – the papris are not crushed and a generous dollop of dahi is poured after all the condiments are added. Here it’s definitely different and yet ask any phuchka lover, churmur is one of the essential commodities. You can call it a deconstructed fuchka.
Churmur Kolkata street chat – is it the best?
What comes to your mind when it’s Kolkata street food? A deep dive analysis shows that most of the street food related to Kolkata hasn’t actually originated from this part of the country. A roll, a jhalmuri, a kochuri or kachouri or dosa or chops and cutlets, all are either the food of the immigrants or settlers or few have got some strong colonial influence. Boiled potato is chopped finely and then mixed with boiled Bengal gram. Then, just like a phuchka filling, this too is customized as per the customer’s specification and then crushed phuchkas are added to it along with tamarind water. People like Dilip da (at Vivekananda Park), who is undoubtedly one of the best phuchkawallas around the city, will add some coriander leaves on the top after he has added some gondhoraj.
Churmur is necessary eventually
Phuchka is always for experimentation and if you are a little adventurous like me, then make it spunky – add enough green chilli and enjoy the journey like an adventure sport with an adrenaline rush. After the rush is over, take a pause and order your churmur. It will have a soothing effect, will calm the nerves down and a perfect ending is what one can say. When we posted the reel of the churmur, it stirred up a range of emotions. What makes a perfect churmur?
A few phuchka and churmur lovers came back saying that there was a wheat flour pakodi soaked in tamarind and jaggery water. Honestly, we haven’t seen anyone add this. We even asked Dilip da and he didn’t want to give much importance to the wheat pakodi part. Tamarind and Jaggery water is added to taste. The essence is the bhaja Moshla and that makes all the difference in Churmur. Some also commented that boiled potato may not be sliced but mashed, again that’s a very personal choice and as long as the perfect mash of potato is there who bothers?
Churmur is a Kolkata Street food
Churmur is a Kolkata street food yet the easy-making process makes it a convenient evening snack a home. During the lockdown, there were many evenings when we handled the missing out of street food through this. This easy recipe will definitely help you with that.
You can check the Instagram reel here –
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Phuchka Bhaja Moshla
- 2 tbsp Coriander Seeds
- 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 2 nos dry red chilies
- 2 nos bayleaf
- ½ blade of mace
- 1 pinch nutmeg powder
- 1 lemon-sized ball of tamarind
- black salt to taste
- sugar to taste
- 1 Gondhoraj lemon leaf optional
- phuchka masala to taste
- 1 tsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1 slice gondhoraj lebu or any other lemon
- 2 large boiled potatoes
- 1 handful boiled Bengal gram kala chana
- 1-2 chopped green chilies to taste
- 2 tbsp tamarind water
- Gondhoraj lemon to taste
- 14-15 crushed phuchkas the deflated hard ones like papri
- 2 tsp phuchka masala
- For making the bhaja moshla, dry roast everything and grind it into a fine powder. Store this in an air-tight container and use it as needed.
- Soak tamarind in half lt of water for 30 mins and then squeeze out all the pulp. Strain this and mix it with the rest of the ingredients.
- You can make the bhaja moshla and tamarind water both in advance and keep it. Tamarind water should be refrigerated.
- To make churmur, cut the boiled potato into fine pieces.
- Mix with Bengal gram, squeeze gondhoraj lemon, add black salt to taste, 2 tsp of bhaja moshla and 2 tbsp of tamarind water. Add green chillies and crushed phuchkas. Then give it a good mix.
- Add coriander leaves and serve immediately.