A mouthful of Indian street food is nothing short of a nirvana.
A hearty plate of Indian street food echoes an unadulterated culinary experience glazed with loads of flavours. A mouthful of Indian street food is nothing short of a nirvana.
Many people shy away from the food of the streets, and opt instead for the sit-down, waiter-service luxury of a high end restaurant. Those people are missing out on the food pleasures that can be found on countless street corners across India.
To give a voice to the ‘gastronomy geniuses’ from the streets of India, here are our top picks of what all Indian street food has to offer to the foodies around the world.
‘Topping the Chaats’, Golgappe aka Pani Puri is a quintessential street food that has coaxed people for decades.
On a bright sunny day, somebody thought of throwing together mashed potato, chana, moong, chutney along with spicy mint water and that is when Golgappe came into existence.
The best part is the relentless variations that this street delight has gone through over the years to suit different palates. Add sour grape juice to give it an extra kick or do away with water and add curd, garnished with herbs and extra chutney to get Dahi-Bataka Puri.
All it needs is one single gulp to get those taste buds going! And did we mention the price tag? 4 pieces for Rs 10 (less than 10 pence) – enough said!
An evergreen North Indian street food that has escaped the rut of mediocrity, thanks to the crowded streets selling delicious plates of Potato Chaat.
Fried cubes of potatoes, loaded with spices, a zing of lemon and a toothpick implies vicarious joys of life on a plate! You can also get Potato Chaat made with fruits, dry fruits or with curd to satisfy your hunger pangs.
With a price tag that is light on your pocket (Rs 20-30, 20-30 pence) and heavy on taste, you won’t regret any bit of this culinary excursion (your waistline can be taken care of later on). It’s a sinful pleasure that you just can’t miss out on!
Puffed rice accompanied with chutney, both sweet and sour, along with a generous amount of lemon juice finally topped with chopped mint to give it a waft of freshness, Bhel Puri is another delightful street-wise choice.
With no oil, minimum sugar and salt added to taste, Bhel Puri is to the people of Mumbai as breathing is to humans.
A typical beach food, it takes less than a minute to prepare and even less time to gorge it down. A viable option for taste conscious people and wellness buffs.
Popular in Western and Northern India, Aloo Tikki is not just another run of the mill street food. Human gluttonous transcend boundaries to create a dish that oozes ingenuity and hence Aloo Tikki was born.
Aloo Tikki is essentially a patty of mashed potato blended with finely chopped green chillies, spices and finally deep fried till it gets a bristling golden crust.
The best part is yet to come; served with pudina chutney, imli chutney, curd and onions you will drool by just the looks of it let alone digging into a hearty plate. It can cost anything from Rs 25-90 (25-90 pence), and every spoonful of Aloo Tikki will satiate your senses.
Veering our attention towards the Southern part of India, people can find vendors carrying Sundal (south Indian chickpea salad) in iron buckets served in handmade paper cups.
Prepared with dried chickpeas, mustard seeds, curry leaves, with a subtle hint of green chillies and coconut paste, Sundal is another quick grab savory snack that needs no time or place to enjoy.
With a price tag of Rs 2-5 (2-5 pence), haggling won’t be a virtue while enjoying it.
Pakoras and Samosa
Humans are hardwired to love anything that is laced with fat. It gives us an internal bliss for reasons unknown to mankind. The huge success of Samosa and Pakoras in the Eastern and Northern states verify it as the perfect street food.
Finely chopped vegetables dipped in gram flour and slipped into hot oil makes for a perfect platter (Chilli Pakoras, Aloo Pakoras, Gobhi Pakoras, Paneer Pakoras etc).
As for the Samosa, try it to experience the rich taste and ‘yumilicioness’ of potatoes covered with flour. Price might vary with your choices but the taste will remain impeccable.
So there you have it, a peek into culinary geniuses from the streets of India. We know your mind must have gone an extra mile and had a ‘spark of brilliance’ about shunning the crowded streets of India and enjoying these dishes in restaurants with posh ambience where diligent chefs will create street food with finesse.
But the thing with street food is that unless people prod you, unless you hear incessant honking and unless you can feel the heat from the spices and from the beaming sun, your Indian street food experience, regrettably, will remain a distant dream. So go out, find some food trucks lined up along the streets and let the hunger games begin.