If you think India is famous just for the Taj Mahal or the Himalayas or Yoga, you could be wrong. India not only has the thrill and adventure of the Himalayas and the peace and happiness of Yoga, it has also created a niche in the popular street food culture across the world. Yes, Indian street food is famous across the globe and has indeed changed the dietary habits of people drastically. Whether young or old, people belonging to all age groups crave for street food. Therefore, hold your tongue and control your cravings as you read this post which presents some of the famous and tasty street food of India.
Pani Puri: A mixture of potato pieces and onions stuffed in puri filled with sweet mint flavoured water, Pani Puri or Gol Gappa is a popular roadside street food. This ubiquitous street food item can be found in every corner of India, and it is known by different names at different places. Style of preparation can vary according to regions, people and culture, but the basic ingredients – round-shaped puri and flavoured water – remains the same. Pani puri can be easily prepared at home where you can give it your own flavour by adding your favourite ingredients to it.
Aloo Tikki: If you ever enjoy Pani Puri at a road-side stall, you are also likely to order Aloo Tikki when you see them getting fried on a big hot pan placed right next to the box in which Puris are stored. Many of the small street food vendors sell only Pani Puri and Aloo Tikki, for these are cheap, tasty and eaten by masses. The first main ingredient in Aloo Tikki is Aloo, which is a potato. Potatoes have to be boiled and mixed with various spices, which increase taste, vegetables like peas etc, and finally, they are fried with oil so as to get converted into crispy and crunchy Tikki.
Idli Sambhar: An indigenous diet of South India, Idli Sambhar is not only delicious and tasty street food but also healthy. In fact, many people, including south Indians and others, have it very often in their breakfast. It can even be eaten as a full meal. Commonly eaten with coconut chutney, Idli Sambhar is not an instant food, it takes time, effort and correct technique to prepare this meal.
Vada Pao: Most of us know why Mumbai often appears at the top when it comes to street food. Vada Pao, which is native to Maharashtra and highly popular in Mumbai, is not very different from Aloo Tikki. In the sense that Aloo Tikki, when packed in a bun and fried, becomes Vada Pao. Modern day burgers that are lucratively sold by big international brands are but a standard form of the Vada Pao. Vegetarians love to eat this stapled food item which is an instant way of curbing hunger.
Samosa: One of the oldest street food items appearing in this list – Samosa – dominates the street food shops even today. In far off and remote areas where you wouldn’t find Pani Puri or Vada Pao, only Samosa will satisfy your appetite for street food. Samosa too is made up of boiled potato stuffed inside finely refined and bleached wheat flour. It is made in the famous triangular shape using hands before it is deeply fried. It is a good source of calories. One should, however, eat them occasionally and not frequently.
Momos: It’s a cosmopolitan dish which travelled all the way from China, Tibet and Nepal, entered the streets of India, and created its mark in the Indian street food culture. Momos are made into mini dumplings filled with a mixture of vegetables, or meat, and then are steamed. They can be fried also. Most of the people prefer steamed momos as they are healthier than the fried ones.
Kebab: A small piece of meat which is grilled, broiled or fried in a pan is called Kebab. From Hyderabad in south India to Delhi in the north, this dry-cooked street food is popular throughout the country. It is a dish that non-vegetarians can’t resist. Kebabs are one of the oldest Indian street food going on since the Mughal period. It is said that Kebabs were first cooked by the medieval Turkish soldiers who would cut the meat using their swords and then broil it. Over the centuries, the way of cooking Kebab evolved and today it is one of the most-eaten non-veg street food in India and the world.