Have you heard of an ‘ATM’ for pani puri?
In the early 90s, Indians looked on in fascination as ATMs dispensed cash within seconds
Now, you can even order your favourite biryani from a vending machine after punching a few buttons.
But have you heard of an “ATM” for pani puri?
Think of street food in India, it’s hard to miss people queueing up near pani-puri stalls, be it on pavements, or even wedding halls
But there’s one thing that often goes unnoticed – the hygiene involved in making and serving this street food.
In 2017, two engineers in Ahmedabad, Aakash Gajjar and Devendra Avhad, both fell ill after eating pani puri.
They decided to convert this unexpected setback into an opportunity
That’s how they came up with the idea of automatic pani puri vending machines.
With a zero-contact process, these machines would revolutionise the way pani puris are prepared and served.
The machines, developed by Penguin Innovative Engineering, operate like soda vending machines
So, how does this machine work?
A tank is filled with the flavoured water, and a sensor-activated nozzle dispenses the desired quantity into the puris.
Everyone has their own preferences, some like it spicy, while others prefer a sweeter and tangier flavour.
Therefore their machines allow customisation of the water quantity, and there’s even a manual button for start and stop functions.
These machines come in different versions, ranging from one to sixteen nozzles, with a container to store the puris.
The coin-operated pani puri machine has six nozzles, potato dispenser and gives out puris one at a time.
It also makes ready-to-make pani flavour powders that can be used with mineral water.
Some variants also come in the form of carts that can be pushed or attached to the back of a motorbike and are battery operated.
There are close to 50 other machines that mix and knead the dough, flatten it into sheets, cut them into puris, fry and store them.
While some traditionalists may prefer the traditional way of making pani puris, many street vendors and start-ups have embraced these machines.
In fact, some vendors using these machines can make up to two lakh puris in a day.
They say close to 150 filling machines are sold every month and are also exported to Canada, Amsterdam and the United Kingdom.
The company doesn’t stop at pani puris.
They have also developed other machines, like the coin-operated automatic bhelpuri machine that premixes all the ingredients before dispensing them.
Apart from that they have created robotic serving arms, automatic tea machines, and sugarcane juice machines, all aimed at bringing hygiene and efficiency to street food.
Read more here
Reporting: Ananyaa Desikan
Voiceover: Dhriti Mankatalia
Production: Reenu Cyriac
Video: Special Arrangement