The Indians are known for their love of spices and flavours. Food is a quintessential part of India’s cultural representation. The Indian population is an extreme consumer of delicious street food, ranging from traditional food items to fusion dishes being sold on the streets. Street foods are so widely loved and enjoyed in India because they are ready-made food items being sold on the go. The vendors sell a wide variety of delicious dishes in a very short time (a few minutes). People don’t have to wait too long or have any fancy etiquettes to enjoy street food. The eccentric aroma and flavours of the street foods compel passersby to stop and taste them at least once.
Indian street food is loved worldwide. Indian flavours do have a distinct identity around the world and people from every culture or country are highly attracted to Indian flavours. Indian Streer foods give the taste of traditional old recipes, with an interesting fusion touch of modern flavours. Indian food has a diverse range of savers. The mouth-watering amalgamation of spices and flavours is the reason for its huge demand and popularity. Now let’s check out some of the best Indian Street foods that can make everyone hungry and crave some deliciousness.
Golgappe, also popularly known as gupchup, panipuri and phuchka, has a lot more names. There are different names for different regions, and it is the most popular and loved street food in India. Every Indian love golgappa to their core. It is a bite-sized deep-fried Puri (flatbread) or hollow crispy fried balls filled with a spicy mixture of masala (potato, chickpeas, coriander and spices) and spicy tamarind or pudina chutney. It is a blast of flavours in the mouth. Pani Puris can be customized according to one’s taste buds. The masala can be made spicy or plain and the chutney can be made spicy, tangy, sweet or savoury, as per one choice. The puri can also be eaten with dahi(curd) with the potato mixture. Historians predict its origin from chaat or Raj Kachori, a staple of Uttar Pradesh. Golgappe is the most loved savoury snack of people of all age groups.
Make sure to have an empty stomach to devour this heavenly combination of spicy and flavourful Chana masala with bhatura/ puri. The origin of Chole Bhature is often debated. Some say it originated from Delhi and others know it to be a Punjabi dish but it is loved and enjoyed all over the country and world. The chole is prepared by cooking chickpeas in a mixture of different Indian spices like cumin, chilli, garlic, ginger etc which makes it spicy and flavourful. The Bhatura is a fried flatbread that is made with a combination of flour, water, salt and oil, all kneaded together to form a dough. The dough is rolled out and deep-fried to make the batter soft and puffy.
Also famously known as Sunday Kebabs, It is a dish mostly popular in Lucknow, but loved all over the world. Galouti kebabs are minced meat patties, mixed with several different spices and slow-cooked to make them soft and tender. It is incorporated with yoghurt, garlic, ghee, mint sauce, saffron, vinegar, rose water, lime, onion rings and as many as nearly 160 dry roasted spices. The kebabs are mainly made of minced Buffalo or goat meat which gives it a juicy and fatty texture. They are said to have been introduced first to the Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah.
Rolls are cylindrical shaped, savoury, appetizers filled with vegetables, sauces and a choice of meat. They are a thick wheat flour skin, stuffed with several mouth-watering fillings and rolled up. The wrappers are often made with eggs and are thus called egg rolls. Other varieties include chicken rolls, paneer rolls, vegetable rolls, momo rolls etc. They can be made with literally anything you can think of. Rolls are so highly loved and consumed because of the explosion of flavours all at once. They are served hot with spices and tangy sauces. The vendors make it on large pans and the making of these rolls also is quite an interesting watch.
Biryani is a flavourful rice dish, also immensely loved by all Indians. It falls under the Mughlai cuisine, Hyderabadi biryani being the most famous style of biryani worldwide. It is made with Basmati rice cooked with a lot of ground and whole spices and any meat, though mutton biryani is mostly preferred. It can also be made vegetarian. Though it is a complete dish in itself, when accompanied with boiled eggs, Mirchi ka salan, Dahi/raita, chutney and salad, its taste enhances manifolds.
A luscious concoction of yellow chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, coriander and lime, topped with various spices dahi and chutney, ghugni chaat is one of the best Bengali street foods one can devour. It is typically served hot at the roadside tracks from stalls or food carts. The tangy- salty spices, sweet and sour chutney (made of ginger, tamarind sauce and mint) and yoghurt makes this dish an all-rounder of flavours. It is served with chopped onions, sev, chat masala, amchur, cumin, Kala namak and red and black pepper on top. Its other variants include aloo tikki, samosa chaat, papdi chaat, bhel puri, dahi puri, dahi vada and sev puri. It is a must-try savoury dish.
An Indian version of a burger, a vada pav is one of the most famous street foods of Mumbai, India. Though it is native to the state of Maharashtra, vada pav is widely loved all over India. The dish consists of a vada or wheat bun sliced halfway through the middle and a deep-fried potato patty slide in between the cut of the vada. The patty is deeply fried covered in a batter of besan and spices, topped with green and red chutney. The real flavour comes from the super delectable chutneys and fried hari mirchi (green chilli) eaten with it. Vada pav can be said to be the heart and soul of Mumbaikars. It also comes in a lot of varieties like chicken vada pav, Jain vada pav, Chinese vada pav, keema pav, misal pav, bhaji pav, anda bhurji pav, dabeli, usual pav and a lot of others.
Italy sambar is the staple breakfast dish of South India. It is rice cakes, served with hot vegetable sambar and coconut chutney. It is one of the healthiest savoury dishes that is sold on Indian streets. A mixture of white lentil (black gram) and uncooked rice is fermented overnight and grounded into a fine paste batter. The batter is then steamed in Idli makers to make the idli cakes. The idlis are served with piping hot sambar- a lentil and vegetable soup cooked with tamarind broth and spices. Also, coconut chutney is served to add to the taste.
Jhal Muri is yet another very popular street snack, originated from Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. It is a delicious dry concoction of puffed rice, finely chopped onions, green chillies, coriander, chanachur, mustard oil, dry ground spices and peanuts. The spicy taste and crunchy texture of jhal muri make it the perfect evening snack accompanied by a cup of hot tea. It is a highly enjoyed street food in India, especially on the streets of West Bengal. The Bangladeshi diaspora has extended the popularity of jhal muri even to the streets of London and NYC.
Thukpa is traditionally a Tibetan noodle soup, which has originated in Tibet itself. Its variant, namely, Arndo Thukpa, is very popular among the North Eastern Indian states especially Ladakh and Sikkim and Nepal. The original dish is also called Thenthuk. Thukpa is now enjoyed as popular street food all over India. The soup is prepared by boiling chopped vegetables and meat in water with masala and chilli powder. Noodles are rolled out of dough and poured straight into the boiling pot of soup. The hot and spicy flavour of the soup feels like a warm comforting hug.
Native to Nepal and Tibet, momos are traditionally small dumplings filled with stuffing. The wrappers of these dumplings are rolled out of wheat flour dough and the stuffing can be a variety of meats (minced chicken/mutton/pork etc), vegetables, tofu/paneer, cheese and other various combinations. It is a very popular Chinese street food eaten all over the Indian subcontinent. The momo fillings is a spicy mixture of meat or vegetables with a lot of spices, garlic, onions, cilantro and shallots. Served with hot soup and flavourful chutneys, these momos have many variants like steamed momos, pan-fried momos, deep-fried momos, tandoori momos, Afghani momos and a lot more to please everyone’s taste buds.
A staple of Bihar, litti chokha is a complete meal that fills up your appetite as well as your heart. The littis are small balls made up of wheat flour dough and filled with a spicy and tangy mixture of sattu (ground flour powder), onions, green chilli, pulses, ginger, garlic, dry spices and especially aachar ka tel (pickle oil), served with chokha (smashed and roasted potatoes, eggplant, tomato and spices). It is a very filling dish. The litti balls are roasted over coal or wood which gives it the signature smoky smell and flavour. The hot balls are then dipped in ghee and served hot with chokha. A modernised version is also very popular, wherein the littis are served with murgh korma (creamy chicken curry).
Renowned street food in Madhya Pradesh, especially in Indore and Bhopal, poha jalebi is the perfect combination of sweet and savoury that delights your taste buds. The poha (flattened rice) is well-cooked with a lot of vegetables and mild spices. It has a very subtle spiciness and tanginess of lemon. Jalebis are circular discs like sweets, that is first deep-fried and then dipped in sugar syrup. Jalebis form the perfect companion to poha. The savoury taste of poha and the sweetness of jalebi complement each other perfectly.
Another national favourite savoury snack is the samosa. It is originally a triangular-shaped, deep-fried snack filled with lots of stuffing (preferably boiled potatoes and vegetables), served with mint and tamarind chutney. But with the trend of fusion and food, many modern versions of the samosa are made. They are now shaped as open cones or half-moon and the traditional potato filling is also swapped with cheese, different types of meat and paneer. The filling is what makes the samosa so widely loved. It is a burst of spicy flavours, wherein the potatoes and vegetables (or meat) are finely minced and mixed with a lot of spices like ginger, garlic, red chilli powder, cumin, amchur etc. Served hot and tastes best with chutney and tea/coffee.
15Nagori Halwa and Bedmi Poori
Another deadly combination of sweet and savoury, nagori halwa and bedmi poori is a complete meal that will fill you up whether you have it as a breakfast, lunch, dinner or brunch. It is the favourite go-to meal for almost every Delhite. Bedmi poori is a deep-fried and fluffy flatbread made of wheat flour, spices and a special dal, called bedmi. The pooris are made soft and crispy and are served with a spicy aaloo ki sabji (potato curry). Nagori halwa forms the sweet component in this meal which is kind of a dry-crumbly porridge made with suji (semolina), ghee, sugar and a lot of dry fruits. The combination is sure to fulfil your sweet and savoury desires at once.
16Daulat Ki Chaat
Unlike its name, Daulat ki Chaat isn’t the regular savoury chaat. It is a sweet dish or a dessert that can be devoured only during the spine-chilling winter days. It is an extremely creamy and rich milk-based desert that is prepared by mixing raw milk and cream and left overnight on ice slabs. After being cooled overnight, a portion of this mixture is taken and whisked continuously to make a thick froth. This sweet frothed milk is mixed with chena and khoya and served with more khoya, a pinch of saffron and lots of dry fruits. It tastes best in kulhads or donas.
17Mirchi Ke Pakode
As the name itself reveals, these are extremely spicy and flavourful big green chillies, stuffed with potatoes and deep-fried. A popular snack in the streets of Rajasthan, mirchi ke pakode is also famous as Jodhpuri mirchi vada. They are prepared by slitting open the big green chillies, stuffing them with a mixture of potatoes and spices, dipping them in a besan batter and finally deep-frying the mirchis. To balance out the hotness of the chillies, it is served with coriander or mint chutney.
Kanji vada is a very popular local delicacy of Rajasthan and Gujarat. It is a sweet and tangy dish, consisting of small vadas, i.e, deep-fried balls of moong dal, immersed in a tangy and spicy mustard fermented liquid, called kanji. The kanji (rai ka paani) is prepared a day in advance to get the tangy fermented taste. A grainy paste of the moong dal is made, formed into small balls and deep-fried. It tastes best when the vadas are served immersed in chilled kanji. It improves your digestion.
Bhutta (roasted corn bub), is comfort food on rainy days. The vendors grill the corn bobs in the open fire until the kernels are soft and juicy. It gives the distinct smokey and burnt flavour, and is drizzled with lemon juice, kala namak and chaat masala. Having hot bhutta on a rainy day is a feeling of extreme euphoria.
20Moong Dal Laddoo
A supreme street delicacy, moong dal laddoo or Ram Laddoo is a sweet as well as spicy delight. The ladoos are made firstly, by roasting moong dal (lentils) until they are aromatic and brown. The roasted moong dal is then ground dry once cooled and mixed with powdered sugar, lots of ghee and crumble dry fruits. The mixture is then made into small bite-sized balls and again fried in ghee. It is finally served with spicy coriander chutney and seasoned radish.