Also known as Panipuri or Phuchka, Golgappa is the quintessential street food of India. In most places in the Northern side of the country, you can encounter the neatly stacked golgappas at perhaps every turn of the road, and this is no exaggeration! Hollow balls made of dough are filled with a mixture of boiled potatoes and spices, and are served with a choice of chutneys, ranging from sweet to spicy to mint. A concoction of flavoured water and various spices makes for the ‘paani’ in the panipuris, and to an average street food lover, golgappas are nothing less than Manna from the Heavens!
Originally a Punjabi dish, any mention of the Capital of India is incomplete without Chhole Bhature. Large fried breads made of Maida served with spicy chickpeas, in colloquial terms, is Chhole Bhature. The dish is way tastier than its name suggests. Chhole Bhature is ubiquitous in Delhi, and people who once have it, are sure to keep going back for more!
Almost conferred the designation of The Snack of West Bengal, Jhal Muri is synonymous with the street food of the state. ‘Jhal’ is Bengali for ‘hot’ or ‘spicy’ and ‘mudi’ is puffed rice. The snack is a mixture puffed rice, vegetables, spices, and raw mustard oil. At times, pickles and lemon juice are added for a tangy twist. Chopped onions and fresh coriander leaves add to the flavor of Jhal Mudi. No matter where you are in West Bengal, encountering passersby with conical paper packets filled with Jhal Mudi is a very common sight!
In Eastern India, Rolls are a common street snack. Usually had in the evenings, Rolls have different variants, and taste heavenly. Among all, Egg Rolls are the most common, but Vegetable Rolls, Chicken Rolls, Mutton Rolls, and many other kinds are also very easily available in stalls. Eggs and other fillings are stuffed inside paranthas, and rolled to perfection – hence the name!
Pav Bhaji owes its origin to the Marathi Cuisine, and goes without saying, is a dish that is loved and lusted after in the Western and Central parts of the country. Given the advent of Indianisation and intermingling of various cuisines of the parts of the country, Pav Bhaji is now a dish loved by many Indians. Small loafs of bread (Pav) served with a thick potato based curry (Bhaji) is what Pav Bhaji is constituted of. Coriander, finely chopped onions and fresh mint chutney – all add to the flavour of this delicacy!
There probably is not a single road in Mumbai which doesn’t boast of numerous Sevpuri stalls. This dish was born in Mumbai, and has now invaded almost every part of the country. From roadside stalls to five-star hotels, from modest kitchens to supermarkets, Sevpuri is something that is omnipresent. Essentially, Sevpuri consists of Puri loaded with diced potatoes, onions; and tamarind, chilli and garlic chutneys all add to the taste. Sevpuri can be had at any time of the day – but stick to the evenings; that is the time when it is supposed to taste out of the world!
Usually famous in Bihar and Jharkhand, Litti is now available in almost all parts of the country. Litti is made of flour and stuffed with a filling of sattu (powdered baked gram), chopped onions, green chillies, coriander leaves and lemon juice. The Choka that is had with Litti, is mashed potato seasoned with spices. Litti Choka is commonly served with a bowl of Pure Desi Ghee, and the taste is – simply put – splendid!
On the streets of Indore – or for that matter, any part of Madhya Pradesh – Poha Jalebi is widely found. Poha (beaten rice) is usually cooked with lightly fried mustard seeds, turmeric, chilli powder, spices, and finely chopped onions and coriander. Jalebi is coils of deep-fried batter soaked in sugar syrup. Poha Jalebi makes an absolutely delectable dish, and Indore deserves special mention for being home to it!
Thattu Dosas were engendered by the Thattukadas – the street vendors who are prominent everywhere in Kerala. This traditional form of Kerala dosas are now a famous dish found both on the streets and inside high-end restaurants. The dosas are made in the usual way, and are thick and circular. They are served with spicy chutney or sambar, and has now invaded every kitchen in the southern part of the country – be it for household parties or celebrations, Thattu Dosa is inevitable!
And how can street foods of India be complete without the mention of Idli Sambar! Idlis – the small pristine white delectable cakes – are just the perfect street food. Now served in a zillion ways and with a trillion side dishes, Idli is a filling snack, and doesn’t wreak havoc on your digestive system! The healthy snack is most commonly served with Sambar – the spicy broth made with pigeon peas and tamarind as base. Idli Sambar has now gained an immense popularity all over the country and beyond, owing to the ease of preparation and availability. And as far as its position in street foods is concerned, it is no doubt unbeatable!