5 Appetising Desi Snacks to Try

Asians know there is much more to Desi cuisine than just curry. DESIblitz presents some delectable starters to try at home with a spicy twist.

5 Appetising Desi Snacks to Try

On a rainy day, served with sweet milky chai, this popular delicacy will lift up anyone’s spirits.

From street food kiosks and home delivery shops to mid-range eateries and fine-dining restaurants, Indian food is taking over the UK food scene.

The first ‘curry house’ in the UK was established at the turn of the 19th century.

Though the English palate did not take to Indian food then, today there is a Desi food restaurant on every street corner, catering to South Asian and English tastes.

Having started with gravy-laden curries, fit to eat with rice and naan; the ever-adventurous British palate is adapting to savoury treats like the bhaji and the samosa.

Where there are Asians, there will be restaurants serving the English-Indian cultural confluence to hungry patrons.

Birmingham, Southall, Leicester, Wembley, Manchester, Bradford, Glasgow and even the chic Brick Lane at Shoreditch are namak halaal to desi khaana.

Most Desi cultural events like weddings and birthdays are an excuse to eat and greet. Indian food, the likes of which one would find at a posh restaurant in India and ‘authentically’ off the street are available on order.

London even has a tiffin system for students and professionals who crave homemade Indian food night and day.

While there are many mouth-watering options to decide from, here are some easy recipes to cook at home while you mull over what Indian dish to try outside.

Keema Samosa

5 Appetising Desi Snacks to Try

From cheese and coriander to classic potatoes or your choice of meat, this is a versatile snack from the streets of Uttar Pradesh.

On a rainy day, served with sweet milky chai, this popular delicacy will lift up anyone’s spirits.

Kadak Chai (boiled not brewed) is a wonderful drink, perfect to warm one up in the winter and is a great herbal remedy for the flu.

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 250g minced mutton
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large tomato
  • Green chillies
  • 1 piece ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Pastry

  • 200g flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 180 ml oil
  • Cold water

Method:

Filling

  1. Chop up all the vegetables.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and fry the onions for five minutes.
  3. Add the tomato and chillies and sauté them with the ginger, chilli powder, garam masala and turmeric powder for a few minutes.
  4. Next, add the mince to the pan.
  5. Add a bit of water to the pan and salt to taste.
  6. Bring to boil and let simmer for half an hour or more, till the meat dries.

Pastry

  1. Mix the flour and salt together.
  2. Add butter and cumins seeds to the flour.
  3. Add water slowly, and knead the mix into dough.
  4. When the dough is ready, make thin large circles with the dough and cut into half.
  5. Put an appropriate amount of filling into the centre of the semi-circle.
  6. Fold each side on top of the filling, to make a triangular shape.
  7. Use cold water to seal the edges of the cone.
  8. Fry the samosas in hot oil till golden-brown and drain off excess oil.
  9. Enjoy with masala chai and spicy mint chutney.

Spinach Pakora

5 Appetising Desi Snacks to Try

Move over onion bhajis, this is the pakora of the hour. Constituting of chaat, or street food, the spinach pakora is a flat fried bhaji which can be eaten with curd and a mix of spicy and sweet chutney, or enjoyed as a single entity.

Undoubtedly, the spinach pakora is the most fun to eat of all the items here, and is a sure-shot way to make fussy kids eat their greens. Popeye just lost his job!

Ingredients:

  • 150g gram flour
  • 150g spinach
  • 1 medium onion
  • Ginger
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 tsp fennel seed powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 240 ml water
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

Method:

  1. Cut the spinach leaves according to the size of preferred pakora.
  2. Chop the onion, ginger and chilli.
  3. Make a thick batter with the gram flour and water.
  4. Next, add the chopped vegetables and spices to the batter.
  5. Dip each leaf into the batter and fry till golden.
  6. Enjoy with salted yoghurt and spicy and sweet chutneys.
  7. Sprinkle chaat masala on top.
  8. Also enjoyed without yoghurt.

Aloo Tikki

5 Appetising Desi Snacks to Try

This dish travelled far from the winding alleys of Chandni Chowk to being available over the counter in the UK.

Basically, a fried potato cutlet, it’s claim to fame remains having a McDonald’s burger named after it. The following recipe makes about 12 cutlets.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large potatoes
  • Green chillies
  • Fresh coriander
  • Rock salt to taste
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
  • Red chilli powder 1/2 tablespoon
  • Ghee

Method:

  1. Boil the potatoes.
  2. Chop the chillies and coriander till the potatoes boil.
  3. Without waiting for them to cool, mash the potatoes.
  4. Add the chillies and spices to the mashed potatoes and mix them in.
  5. Shape the batter into round cutlets.
  6. Shallow fry them in ghee till they turn golden.
  7. Drain excess oil onto kitchen paper.

Enjoy with mint chutney or pickle. An alternative is to add yoghurt and chutneys to make it chaat-like.

The cutlet can also be eaten between two toasts, as a nod to it’s Bombay-cousin, the vada pao.

Tandoori Chicken Skewers

5 Appetising Desi Snacks to Try

Chicken tikka masala is a national dish of the UK, but when the chicken is stopped short at the fire, and steers away from the frying pan with gravy, it remains good ol’ tandoori chicken.

No need for foil wrapped chicken legs or greasy fingers. This boneless recipe retains the flavour without the niggly chicken bone. The following recipe serves 4 people.

Ingredients:

  • 120 ml plain curd
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 grated small onion
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground and toasted cumin
  • 1 tsp ground and toasted coriander
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 450g chicken boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients and allow the chicken to marinate in them in the fridge, for as long as a few hours to overnight.
  2. Once the chicken comes to room temperature, put it on skewers.
  3. Grill the chicken for a few minutes on each side till cooked.
  4. Enjoy with a spicy mint yoghurt dip and lemon.

Apple Gujiya

5 Appetising Desi Snacks to Try

After a good dinner or with evening tea, apple gujiyas make a delightful accompaniment.

Not overpoweringly sweet, but enjoyed when each bite is eaten slowly, this sweetmeat definitely gives an air of leisure to its consumer.

Apple gujiyas are also the perfect mithai to enjoy on any festive occasion. This recipe makes 10-12 gujiyas.

Ingredients:

Pastry

  • 300g plain flour
  • Liquid ghee
  • Cold water
  • Salt

Filling

  • 150g crumbled khoya
  • 3-4 peeled and chopped apples
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp grounded mixed dry fruits
  • Oil

Method:

Pastry

  1. Mix the flour with salt, and start adding small amounts of ghee to it.
  2. Knead with your fingers till the batter resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Start to add cold water while kneading the mixture till it becomes smooth like dough.
  4. Cover the dough and let is rest for 25-30 minutes.

Filling

  1. Heat the apples and sugar on a hot pan.
  2. Stir them together on a light flame for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Mix in the dry fruits, cinnamon and cardamom.
  4. Add the khoya and stir in till it melts.
  5. Once the khoya is mixed in and melted, keep the mixture aside till it cools.

Preparation:

  1. Make rounds of the dough and flatten into circles.
  2. Add some filling to one side of the circle and close the other side on top of it.
  3. Use water to seal the edges of the semicircle.
  4. Pinch the edges of the gujiya with your fingers to create the typical folds or pleats.
  5. Fry the gujiyas till they become golden-brownish.
  6. Drain off the excess oil.
  7. Enjoy them warm.

Snacks are ideal for special occasions, over a round of drinks with friends and even on a quiet night in with the family.

It is always the perfect time to indulge in food and sweets with an abundance of ghee, herbs and spices.

Nazhat is a woman on a mission to reveal many different aspects of 'Desiness.' With interests in fashion, cooking and keeping fit, she describes herself as a bright and chic 'Desi' lady who lives by the motto 'survival of the fittest...'

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