Whether you call it a puchka, pani puri, or golgappa, but this savory snack is intrinsic to India's rich history of street foods.
But, have you ever wondered who actually invented this street food?
One of the most popular theories states that in the Mahabharata, Draupadi invented the pani puri in response to a test set by her mother-in-law, Kunti. During the Pandavas' period of exile, Kunti asked Draupadi to create a dish for all the 5 brothers using leftover aaloo sabzi and a small quantity of dough.
Apparently, the idea was to see which brother would Draupadi favour the most. Draupadi, however, created pani puris. Impressed by her creativity, Kunti blessed the dish with immortality.
2. The Kingdom of Magadha
Yet another popular theory states golgappas originated in the Kingdom of Magadha. Originally called "phulki" (a name still used in Madhya Pradesh), they were crispier and smaller than the pani puris we consume today, and supposedly filled with potatoes.
3. By a team of doctors for Nawab Wajid of Lucknow.
Another theory states that golgappas or pani puri actually came into being as a way to administer medicine for an upset stomach to the Nawab Wajid of Lucknow. Apparently, the Nawab didn't want to take the medicines and thus, they were one of the "spices" added into the water and the filling.
*From curing an upset stomach to causing an upset stomach, what a journey!*
While these are the most popular theories, a user also suggests the Western-coast region of India as its place of origin, because "basic set of things required are all native to this region, and probably NOT native to anywhere else in India."
However, Mahabharata is still considered a mythological tale. And while "phulki" may have originated in the Kingdom of Magadh, the ingredients were bound to be different because potatoes were introduced to India in the 17th century, long after the Magadha empire came to an end.
Reportedly, food historian Pushpesh Pant believes that the dish originated over 100 years ago, in either Uttar Pradesh or Bihar. According to him, Raj Kachori was actually the precursor of golgappas, and the dish came into existence when someone created a small "puri".
Well, whosoever invented the dish, we have nothing but gratitude for them.