If you are a thrillophile for tastes, then India is the best place to get your high. The penchant of loiterers and sightseers alike, the street food of the subcontinent is blissfully unregulated sprinkling of masala and great bonhomie. Prepared in a jiffy right in the street, before the sea of indulgent eyes, street food is always served with a smile.
One experiences a kind of slow surprise as the secret ingredients are mixed with a sleight of the masterful hands before the first bite. A devilish twinge of excitement assaults the senses; conversation, laughter and sometimes tears flow unrestrained.
Here are some of the all-time favourites from across the country-
This mixture of puffed rice, sev, onions, tomatoes and other assorted condiments is a house-hold name in India. The recipe originally cooked up in the heads of the chaat stall vendors of the crowded beaches of Mumbai, it enjoys a huge fan following. Bhel puri is also served as an appetizer in many feasts and celebrations.
Soft crusted with meat/vegetable filling, this dumpling native to Nepal and Tibet has grown in popularity among the spicy food loving denizens of the neighbouring country. Served with a red chilli sauce, momos can be steamed or fried or even baked in a tandoor! It is a heart-warming case of good cultural influences transcending even the mountainous terrains to mutually delight the young and old alike.
Another contribution from the state of Maharashtra, vada pav is roughly the Indian version of a veg burger. Mashed potatoes are dipped in batter and deep fried patties are made. These patties are sandwiched between thick buns. Many people like to spice this up by stuffing salted full green chillies along with the patty.
Masala dosa is a South Indian delicacy, which can be had for breakfast, lunch and even dinner. It is a pancake cooked on one side and rolled. A stuffing of spiced potatoes forms the core of sinful indulgence. It is served with a variety of sambhar, chutneys made with coconut gratings and/or vegetable sauce dips. In recent times, experiments with the masala dosa have yielded many variants like the Cheese Masala Dosa, Schezwan Noodle Dosa and Mushroom Masala Dosa, all of which are equally delicious, if not more.
Samsa, somsa, sambosak, sambusa, samoosa, singada, samuza, somasi, somaas- all different names for the pyramid-shaped snack which is a quintessential favourite of high teas and just any random time of the day when your stomach is grumbling.
Gol guppa/ phuchka/ pani puri
A spherical thin crusted, hollow crisp baptized through the fires of spicy pani (water)- the gol guppa is an eye-watering snack. A fun challenge among groups of friends to eat the most number of the hot and tangy crisps, the gol guppa is a runaway hit with the masses.
From the street food capital of India comes the famous poha-jalebi. Indore is every street food connoisseur’s dream. Poha-jalebi is a combination dish of flattened rice soaked in water which is mixed with a nutty assortment of condiments and spices, along with crisp deep fried, pretzel-like sweet made from wheat flour. The conflicting textures and flavours are sublime on the taste buds.
Chicken tikka roll
Boneless chicken strips cooked in the tikka masala style and wrapped in a thin and soft Indian bread. It is garnished with onions and sprinkled with hot masala powder. This is a handy takeaway option and it is delicious as well as nutritious at the same time.