Ever wondered what Indian street food tastes like? Spicy? Tangy? Sweet? If I had to sum up Indian street food in one phrase, it would be “vibrant.” It’s a sensory assault in the best way possible. India is a vast country with a wide variety of regional cuisines. Historically, it has been known to produce up to 75% of the world’s spices, resulting in some of the world’s tastiest and most interesting dishes.
The variety and abundance of Indian street food rival that of Indian cuisine. Every province has its own specialities, with vendors in cities offering hundreds, if not thousands, of different options. The origins of street food in India are unknown, but it is widely assumed that they date back to the time when Mughal emperor Shah Jahan relocated his capital from Agra to Delhi. During that time, the most social significance of Indian street food, chaat, was introduced to Old Delhi. After Mughal officials invited cooks from Varanasi to set up shop in Delhi, it became popular as a midday snack.
Today, street food is an important part of Indian culture and has spread throughout the country. Its low cost makes it accessible to everyone. Other popular Indian street foods besides chaat include kebabs, biryani, korma, and kulfi. As enticing as it is to try every Indian street food dish that catches your eye, you should proceed with caution if you don’t want a crippling case of the runs to ruin your trip to India such as looking out for only popular street food stalls, avoid food and beverages made with water, fried and grilled food is safe and avoid meat dishes. You can check out Teh Talk about the best Indian restaurants in KL.
Here are some of the must-try Indian street food dishes:
- Nimbu masala soda
- Nimbu masala soda is a carbonated beverage made with lemon juice and soda water, as well as chaat masala (a spice mix), cumin, and kala namak (black salt). It’s an unusually tasty and intriguing blend of sweet, sour, spicy, and savoury flavours.
- Nimbu masala soda is widely consumed in India, where it is known by various names such as banta soda, goli soda, goti soda, and fotash jawl. It’s especially popular in North India and Delhi, where it’s served as a summer refresher and dubbed “Delhi’s local drink.”
- Masala chai
- If you’re a regular at Starbucks, you’ve probably heard of chai tea. It’s a tea beverage of Indian origin that’s become a staple on cafe and teahouse menus around the world. It’s widely consumed throughout India and South Asia.
- Masala chai recipes vary, but it’s typically made by steeping a strong black tea, such as Assam tea, in a buffalo milk and water mixture. It’s brewed with karha, a spice blend made with ground ginger and cardamom pods as a base. Other spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, peppercorn, star anise, and fennel seeds, can be added to the karha mixture depending on who is making it.
- Masala chai is a popular drink in Indian households and is frequently sold at roadside stalls across the country. When consumed at home, it is usually consumed with breakfast in the morning or offered to guests as a sign of hospitality. It’s a warming beverage that can be consumed plain or sweetened with sugar, syrup, honey, or jaggery.
- Aside from chai tea, lassi is perhaps the most well-known Indian drink outside of India. It is a probiotic drink made from a combination of dahi (yoghurt), water, and spices.
- Lassi is typically made with yoghurt and water and can be salty or sweet. Sweet lassis are typically flavoured with sugar, rosewater, or various types of blended fruit juices such as mango, lemon, strawberry, and other fruit juices. It’s a refreshingly sweet and tart beverage with the consistency of a milkshake.
- Gol gappa or Pani Puri
- Pani puri or gol gappa is one of India’s most intriguing street foods. It refers to a popular type of chaat made of crispy hollow balls known as puri. Regional differences include flavoured water, tamarind chutney, mint chutney, chaat masala, green chilli, onions, chickpeas, and potato mash. It is popular throughout India, where it is known by various names such as puchka, gol gappa, fulki, pakodi, and gup chup.
- Aside from its intriguing combination of sweet, spicy, and sour flavours, what makes pani puri unique is how it’s prepared. Before being dunked in tamarind water, the top of the puri is punctured and filled with the spice mixture. Because the puri is delicate, similar to a potato chip, it is recommended that you eat the pani puri whole before it disintegrates. The vendor will continue to fill puri arter puri until you instruct him to stop. You can find out about the best North Indian restaurant in KL from Teh Talk.
- Aloo tikki
- Aloo tikki is a deep-fried Indian fritter made from mashed potatoes. Aloo is a potato, and tikki is a small cutlet or croquette. Consider aloo tikki to be the Indian equivalent of hash browns.
- You can make aloo tikki with or without stuffing. Boiling potatoes are mashed and formed into patties before being filled with coriander, peas, chana dal, and various herbs and spices. Deep-fried patties are then served with a sauce such as tamarind chutney, green coriander chutney, tomato chutney, or dahi. To get the best aloo tikki in KL, visit Teh Talk to find out more on Indian restaurants located in KL.
- Samosa is one of the most popular Indian dishes. It is widely available as street food or as an appetiser or snack in restaurants, cafes, and gatherings throughout India.
- A samosa is a savoury pastry filled with potatoes, peas, onions, lentils, meat, herbs, and spices. It’s usually shaped like a triangle or a pyramid, but it can take on other shapes depending on where it’s made. Samosas can be baked or fried and are typically served with tamarind or green coriander chutney.