Bollywood Cooking - Indian Street Food
I think it would be safe to say that the most authentic of Indian cuisines is the huge array of lip smacking street food. For just a few rupees one can purchase hot, fresh and simply delectable snacks sold by vendors from myriad makeshift or portable stalls.
Street food in India is extremely popular, mainly because they are available at half the price compared to any restaurant food. Be it take-out food, junk food, snacks, or fast food - all are synonymous with street food and all of these can be purchased on any foot path, beach-side or road corner.
The street food in India is a fusion of various flavors, stimulating the taste buds of not only the locals but also the tourists visiting the country. You will find these portable stalls in every locality and neighborhood in any Indian metropolitan city. The snacks are prepared right there in front of your eyes, tempting you visually and with the wonderful spicy aromas. In fact some of the vendors gain such a reputation for their snacks that people will journey far to experience the food from a specific vendor.
Indian street food varies from region to region. Depending where you are in India, you will be offered such a huge selection of scrumptious snacks, each prepared more temptingly then the other.
The quintessential North Indian snack found almost everywhere is Chaat - a common name for all tangy, spicy and not all that nutritious delicacies. The tangy flavor comes from the use of lemon, pomegranate seeds, black salt and tamarind. An all time favorite, made of crispy small pancakes, salted and sprinkled with a variety of masala powders, splashed with yogurt and drenched in different chutneys. My mouth is watering just thinking about this. There is a fruity version of the chaat too - prepared with seasonal fruits, especially guavas, bananas, apples and papayas. I remember enjoy bowlfuls of this when I visited my grandparents in Delhi during summer break.
The Eastern part of India offers a potato patty dipped in a flour batter and deep fried. They are served with chutneys, raw onions and cucumber slices.
Traveling to the West, the Vada Pav is one of the most favorite and cheapest snacks found in the sophisticated metropolis Mumbai. Also known as the "poor man's burger" it is a sensational mashed potato patty, spiced with green chilies, gingers and other spices, then dipped is a batter made of herbs and gram flour. Finally it is sandwiched between soft buns and drizzled with hot and sweet chutneys. Simply irresistible. One of my favorites from this region is the Bhelpuri. Puffed rice served with a spicy mixture of chopped potatoes, onion, coriander leaves, green chilies and tomatoes, then topped with sweet
chutney, a dash of lime juice, sprinkled with rock salt, normal salt and a hint of red chili powder. Drooling yet?
In the south you will find several thattukadas, which are covered carts or vans with stoves and utensils. Here you can indulge in some of the most delicious dosas, a light rice-flour crispy pancake fired in coconut oil and served with a spicy potato filling and coconut chutney.
There are so many types of street foods that the space in this post is just not enough. Warm samosas with a hot masala chai, sweet dripping jalebis. The list is long!
These popular types of street food have to be eaten fresh and as soon as they are prepared. Each region offers it's own local flavor making it unique. Locals and even foreigners love to gorge on them, making the road side eateries a class in itself. So much so, Indian street food has become world famous.
The popularity of Indian street food outside India has drastically gained over the years. There are many restaurants in several cities around the world that specialize simply in Indian street food. Dubai is one such city.
It's where I find all my favorite snacks that I used to eat when I was vacationing in India. Memories are almost always attached to each dish. However, what I enjoy the most is seeing my son gorging down the same snacks I used to and still enjoy. Jalebis are his sweet favorite - but when it comes to savory, the Bombay Frankies are unbeatable.
Frankies are the essence of Bombay street food. They are the Indian version of wraps if you will have it. During lunch time in Bombay - college kids will rush in hordes to their local food stall and indulge in one or several types of Frankies. What's so great about them is that they are so versatile and can be filled with anything you like. They are delicious, kid-friendly and perfect for a snack. Serve them with any kind of chutney to add a extra taste-level.
My Frankies are made with paneer and an array of vegetables. I spice mine with a mix of cumin powder, chaat masala and turmeric. Fresh ginger and garlic give a wonderful fragrance. Finally a dollop of fresh, homemade mango chutney tops off a perfect Frankie.
If you want a bit of the Indian street food in your kitchen this is one snack your family will love.
Printable version of recipe here.
For the Frankies
4-6 chapatis (you can also use whole wheat tortillas if you do not have fresh chapatis at hand)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
2-3 green chilies, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon chaat masala
1/4 teaspoon red chili powder
juice of 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoon canola oil
500g paneer, cubed. You'll find find step by step instructions to make paneer here.
250g mixed vegetables, julienne
Handful coriander leaves
1 egg, beaten
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large wok. When hot, add the onions and stir fry until transparent. Mix in the garlic, ginger and green chilies and sauté for another minute or so. Now add all of the spices. Cook for approx. 4-5 minutes, then add the vegetables and give it a good toss. Now add the paneer cubes and gently stir.
Drizzle the lime juice and sprinkle the coriander leaves. Mix well.
Assembling the Frankies
In a large skillet heat up a tiny drop of the remaining oil. Place the chapati (or tortilla) to heat through. Add a a little bit of water to the egg. Generously brush the egg wash onto the chapati and flip. Cook for 1-2 minutes, brushing with the egg wash on this side. Flip again and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Place the chapati on a chopping board. Add a few tablespoons of the paneer filling and roll, similarly to a wrap. Repeat the process for all of the chapatis and filing.
Serve with mango chutney.
6-7 ripe mangoes, cut into chunks
200-250 ml white vinegar
Juice and zest of 4 limes
2 cups sugar
10 whole cloves
15-20 red peppercorns
1 large red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
In a sauce pan add the vinegar, red onion, chili flakes, peppercorns, cloves, salt and sugar and bring to a boil over a medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for approx. 15 minutes.
Add lime zest and juice, ginger and mangoes and stir well. Simmer for approx 40 minutes until the mangoes begin to soften and the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and transfer the chutney immediately into jars.
Refrigerated the chutney will last for up to 4 weeks.
My mum knows my passions. So when I was in Dubai in April she took me to a fantastic street food restaurant. They served a delectable variety of typical Indian street food - all of the ones I mentioned above. But it was the Frankies that caught my eye. They were the right combination of sweet, zesty and spicy.
Back in Germany I created a bit of the street food in my own kitchen. These Frankies are simply superb. I love the combination with the mango chutney. I actually made fresh chapatis especially for these. Soeren found these absolutely delicious and Tom indulged in quite a few of these. Unfortunately no leftovers for later. My advice make several of these, because they'll go like hot cakes - err Frankies.
Hope you enjoyed a tiny peak into Indian street food. With this simple recipe I am sure you too can enjoy a taste of India at home.
You might enjoy these great Indian dishes too:
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