Paani-puri is the indisputable 'queen of chaat'.  A crispy hollow sphere made of semolina or wheat flour, filled generously with a mixture of chickpeas and potatoes, topped with a jaw-numbing, khatti-meethi tamarind chutney and dunked straight into a vat of freezing cold theekha paani, this innocuous-seeming morsel has serious culinary charisma.

Packed with flavour and eaten readily and greedily across our country, this crunchy wonder occupies a special corner in every Indian's heart.

Have you wondered where paani-puri hails from? Or more importantly, which state is credited with its invention? Well, legend has it that phulkis (the cheeky ancestor) first originated in the Magadh Empire, present-day Bihar.

Another story, with interesting mythological roots, points to the Mahabharata. It is believed that this chatpata gem was conceptualised by Draupadi when Kunti put her to the test. The sneaky Kunti challenged her daughter-in-law to prepare a meal to satisfy all five of her sons using only some leftover atta and boiled potatoes. Voila! paani-puri was hence born. Apparently, Kunti was so impressed with Draupadi's ingenuity that she blessed this dish with immortality.

Perhaps, this is why the messy item is so beloved in our country, the paani-puri industry is easily worth millions. Just like its dubious origins which are historically impossible to trace, we can't seem to settle on its original name. Taking different forms in different regions of the country, the humble chaat is known by different names to different communities. While some are served with dahi and some are served with boondi, on thing is for sure - paani-puri is an intrinsic part of the Indian identity.

We bring to you a compilation of these 10 names. How many do you know?

1. Gol-Gappa

The most popular of names after paani-puri, gol-gappas are commonly found in Northern India, especially Delhi. In this version, you can choose between 'suji' (semolina) and 'aata' (wheat flour) puris. The filling is typically a mixture of mildly spiced chickpeas and boiled aloo. The puri is first topped with tangy imli chutney before being doused with the paani - made fragrant by pudina and black salt.

Find the best gol-gappas in Delhi here.

2. Puchka

Found all over Eastern India, and Calcutta's baby -the filling here is a combination of boiled gram and mashed potatoes mixed with a tangy chutney. The two distinguishing features are the paani and the puris. While the paani is known to be significantly spicier than its counterparts, the puris are bigger in size and darker in colour. Popular in West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and even Bangladesh. It is called so probably due to the ‘phuch’ sound it makes when you take a bite. The unique feature of the phuchka lies in the fact that it’s made of wholewheat, unlike the other that are usually made of maida or semolina.

Find the tastiest puchkas in Calcutta here

3. Pakodi

This rendition is characterized by the signature flavour of the state - meetha. Well, Gujarat's version of the chaat is known for the chatekedaar filling - a tantalizing mix of sev (a popular ingredient in all of West India), onions, mint and green chillies. The onions here replace the quintessential sweet chutney.The catch is in the paani, which is sweeter than most varieties. A food lover's dream, these pakodi are stuffed rather generously in comparison to its Northern cousins.

#FunFact: Instead of mashed potatoes, finely diced aloo, kala chana or boondi is often used as the filling

Find the mithi pakodis of Ahmedabad here

Another name for the variety eaten in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. The filling is potatoes and chickpeas, the water is made of dry mangoes and spices. Hazaratganj, Lucknow, is renowned for ‘Paanch Swaad ke Batashe’ which refers to the five types of water.

4. Patashi

It goes by this name in Rajasthan and parts of Uttar Pradesh. While the filling is similar to that of the Delhi golgappa, the paani here is spiced using amchur (dried mango) and a range of spices. In fact, Hazaratganj, Lucknow, is renowned for ‘Paanch Swaad ke Batashe’ which refers to the five types of water.

Find the tangiest patashis in Lucknow here

5. Phulki

Identical in flavour and appearance of the fatter gol-gappas of the North, it is known by this name in eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh and Nepal.

Find these little phulkis in Kathmandu here

6. Gup-chup

Well, the South always does it healthier and chaat is no exception. The gup-chup filling is only the chickpeas minus the potatoes. The paani reaches a level or two above on the theekha scale and chopped onions are almost always added in Karnataka. A lighter and brighter version, it is commonly found in Odisha, Hyderabad, southern Jharkhand and Telangana.

Find the healthiest gup-chups in Hyderabad here

7. Paani ki Pataashi

Haryana's personal nickname for India's favourite chaat - it is identical in taste to the Lakhnavi pataashi.

Find the best paani bombs in Gurgaon here

8. Tikkis

Well, this one is a misnomer. Interestingly, in Hoshangabad in Madhya Pradesh, paani puri is called tikki, which is usually the name given to crispy, greasy potato patties in North India! When it comes to taste and form, it is very similar to that of the gol-gappa.

Find this confusing, yet intriguing treat in Hoshangabad here

9. Padaka

An off-beat name, this is what the people of Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh like to call their paani-puris.

Find the pataka padakas of Aligarh here

10. Paani-puri

The most well-known of all, whose name literally and figuratively describes these balls of water are distinguished by their unique filling of hot ragda (white chickpea curry) which is added to the potato mash. Some even choose to use simply boondi as the heavy-weight. This combined with the meethi imli chutney and tangy, spicy water makes for a flavourful mouthful.

Find exceptional paani-puris in Bombay here.

It is said that when Tom Aikens, the famous British chef, on a visit to Bombay, was asked which Indian dish he liked the most, he said, "Round pastry cases with spicy sauce" 

Well, impressing the English is no easy feat and our very own paani-puri stands as a symbol of India's love for food. It caters to all discriminating tastes in its different avatars and has even won some well-deserved recognition as a Snapchat sticker.

Sign-us up for a paani-puri marathon anytime!