indian street food

Exploring the Irresistible Delights of Indian Street Food

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Updated on May 23, 2024

Reviewed by Noha Basiony

The bustling streets of India not only captivate with their vibrant colours and lively atmosphere but also with the tantalising aroma and taste of Indian street food. Indian street food is a sensory adventure that offers an exquisite blend of flavours, textures, and aromas. From the crispy “golgappas” that burst with tangy goodness to the aromatic masala-laden pav bhaji that satisfies cravings, Indian street food is an integral part of the country’s culinary heritage. This article takes you on a mouthwatering journey through some of the most beloved Indian street foods, offering a glimpse into the diverse range of dishes that have become an inseparable part of Indian culture.

What Are the Most Famous Indian Street Food?

India is known for its diverse and flavourful street food culture. However, street food prices vary widely depending on the city, location, and specific vendor. Here are some of the most famous Indian street foods and their approximate costs:

indian street food
  1. Pani Puri/Golgappa/Puchka: This snack is made of hollow, crispy puris filled with flavoured water, tamarind chutney, potatoes, and spices. Prices range from ₹20 to ₹50 for a plate.
  2. Vada Pav: Known as the “Indian burger,” Vada pav consists of a deep-fried potato patty served in a bun, chutneys, and spices. It usually costs around ₹15 to ₹30.
  3. Samosa: A deep-fried pastry filled with spiced potatoes, peas, and sometimes meat. Prices vary from ₹10 to ₹30 per samosa.
  4. Aloo Tikki: This dish features shallow-fried potato patties seasoned with spices and served with chutneys. Prices are generally around ₹20 to ₹40 for a plate.
  5. Chaat: A broad category of savoury snacks that includes dishes like Bhel Puri (puffed rice with chutneys and vegetables), Sev Puri (crispy puris with toppings), and Aloo Chaat (spiced potatoes). Prices can range from ₹20 to ₹60 or more, depending on the type and size.
  6. Dahi Puri: Similar to pani puri, but with the addition of yoghurt, dahi puri usually costs around ₹30 to ₹60 for a plate.
  7. Kathi Roll: A popular street food originating from Kolkata, it consists of various fillings (like chicken, paneer, or vegetables) wrapped in a paratha. Prices range from ₹50 to ₹150 or more, depending on the filling and size.
  8. Chole Bhature: This dish pairs deep-fried bread (bhature) with spiced chickpeas (chole). Prices can vary widely, starting from ₹50 and going up to ₹150 or more.
  9. Pav Bhaji: A dish made of mashed vegetables cooked with spices and served with soft bread rolls (pav). It usually costs around ₹50 to ₹100.
  10. Dosa: A South Indian delicacy, dosa is a thin, crispy fermented rice and lentil crepe, often served with various chutneys and sambar. Prices can range from ₹30 to ₹100 or more, depending on the type and size of the dosa.
  11. Jalebi: A sweet treat made by deep-frying flour batter in pretzel or circular shapes, then soaked in sugar syrup. Prices can vary from ₹20 to ₹50 or more.

These approximate prices vary significantly based on location, vendor type (stall vs. established shop), and inflation over time. So, checking with locals or recent sources for the most accurate and up-to-date information on street food prices is always a good idea.

Savoury Indian Street Food Recipes

Remember that authentic street food might require specialised techniques and ingredients. Still, these recipes will give you a good starting point. Here are some simplified recipes for a few popular Indian street foods that you can try making at home:

1. Pani Puri/Golgappa

indian street food

Ingredients:

  1. Puri shells (available at Indian grocery stores)
  2. Boiled and mashed potatoes
  3. Cooked chickpeas
  4. Tamarind chutney
  5. Mint-coriander chutney
  6. Spiced water (pani)
  7. Chopped onions and coriander leaves

Instructions:

  1. Make a hole in the centre of each puri shell.
  2. Fill each puri with mashed potatoes and cooked chickpeas.
  3. Add a little tamarind chutney and mint-coriander chutney into each puri.
  4. Dip the filled puri into spiced water and place it on a serving plate.
  5. Top with chopped onions and coriander leaves.
  6. Serve immediately.

2. Aloo Tikki

indian street food

Ingredients:

  1. Boiled and mashed potatoes
  2. Finely chopped onions
  3. Finely chopped green chillies
  4. Chopped coriander leaves
  5. Salt, red chilli powder, and garam masala for taste
  6. Bread crumbs
  7. Oil for shallow frying

Instructions:

  1. Mix mashed potatoes, chopped onions, green chillies, coriander leaves, and spices in a bowl.
  2. Shape the mixture into round or oval patties.
  3. Put the patties in bread crumbs to coat them.
  4. Heat oil in a pan and shallow-fry the patties until golden brown on both sides.
  5. Drain excess oil on a paper towel.
  6. Serve the aloo tikki with mint-coriander chutney or tamarind chutney.

3. Samosa

indian street food

Ingredients:

  1. Samosa wrappers (available at Indian grocery stores) or spring roll wrappers
  2. Boiled and diced potatoes
  3. Peas
  4. Finely chopped onions
  5. Finely chopped green chillies
  6. Ginger-garlic paste
  7. Spices: cumin seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric, and red chilli powder
  8. Oil for deep frying

Instructions:

  1. Warm up oil in a pan and add cumin seeds.
  2. Add onions, green chillies, and ginger-garlic paste. Sauté until onions turn translucent.
  3. Add spices and cook for a minute.
  4. Add boiled potatoes and peas and mix well. Mash slightly while stirring.
  5. Let the filling cool.
  6. Fill the wrappers with the potato mixture and shape them into triangles or cones.
  7. Heat oil and deep-fry the samosas until golden brown.
  8. Serve with tamarind chutney or mint-coriander chutney.

Remember that the proportions of ingredients and the cooking times might vary based on your taste preferences and the specific brands of ingredients you use. These recipes offer a basic outline; feel free to customise and experiment!

Sweet Indian Street Food Recipes

If you’re interested in sweet Indian street food recipes, here are a couple for you:

1. Jalebi

indian street food

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
  2. 1 tablespoon yoghurt
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. Water
  5. Food colouring (orange or yellow)
  6. Ghee or oil for frying

For the sugar syrup:

  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 cup water
  3. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  4. Saffron strands (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the sugar syrup by dissolving sugar into water. Add cardamom powder and saffron strands. Simmer until it reaches a slightly sticky consistency. Keep warm.
  2. In a bowl, mix flour, yoghurt, and baking powder. Add water gradually to form a smooth batter (similar to a pancake batter).
  3. Add food colouring to the batter and mix well.
  4. Warm up ghee or oil in a wide pan for frying. Pour the batter into a squeezable plastic bottle.
  5. Squeeze the batter in a spiral or pretzel-like shape into the hot oil.
  6. Fry until the jalebis are golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and immediately dip them in the warm sugar syrup.
  7. Let them soak for a minute, then remove from the syrup.
  8. Serve the jalebis warm.

2. Dahi Puri

indian street food

Ingredients:

  1. Puri shells
  2. Boiled and diced potatoes
  3. Cooked chickpeas
  4. Sweetened yoghurt
  5. Tamarind chutney
  6. Mint-coriander chutney
  7. Chaat masala
  8. Sev (crispy chickpea noodles)
  9. Chopped onions and coriander leaves

Instructions:

  1. Make a hole in the centre of each puri shell.
  2. Fill each puri with boiled potatoes and cooked chickpeas.
  3. Add a spoonful of sweetened yoghurt, tamarind chutney, and mint-coriander chutney.
  4. Sprinkle a pinch of masala on top.
  5. Garnish with sev, chopped onions, and coriander leaves.
  6. Serve immediately.

3. Gulab Jamun

indian street food

Ingredients:

For the Gulab Jamun balls:

  1. 1 cup milk powder
  2. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (maida)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  5. A pinch of cardamom powder
  6. Milk, as needed to make the dough

For the sugar syrup:

  1. 1.5 cups sugar
  2. 1 cup water
  3. A few saffron strands (optional)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  5. 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)

Instructions:

For the sugar syrup:

  1. In a pot, combine sugar, water, and saffron strands (if using). Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes until the syrup thickens slightly.
  2. Add cardamom powder and rose water (if used), then turn off the heat. Keep the syrup warm.

For the Gulab Jamun Balls:

  1. Combine milk powder, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and cardamom powder in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add ghee and mix well to form a crumbly mixture.
  3. Gradually and slowly add milk and knead to form a soft and smooth dough. The dough should not be too sticky.
  4. Divide the dough into small, smooth balls without cracks. Ensure there are no cracks on the surface; otherwise, they might break while frying.
  5. Warm up oil or ghee in a pan over medium-low heat. The oil should be moderately hot, not too hot.
  6. Gently slide the prepared balls into the hot oil. Fry them on low to medium-low heat, turning them frequently to ensure even browning.
  7. Fry the Gulab Jamun balls until they turn golden brown. They will expand slightly in size as they cook.
  8. Take away the fried balls from the oil and place them on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.

Soaking the Gulab Jamun:

  1. Place the fried Gulab Jamun balls into the warm sugar syrup immediately.
  2. Allow the Gulab Jamun balls to soak in the syrup for at least 1-2 hours. They will absorb the syrup and become soft and spongy.

Serving:

  1. Serve it warm or at room temperature.
  2. Optionally, you can garnish them with chopped nuts like pistachios or almonds.
  3. Gulab Jamun is a delightful, sweet treat that’s cherished across India. Enjoy this melt-in-your-mouth dessert that’s perfect for special occasions or just as a way to satisfy your sweet cravings!

These recipes should give you a taste of some sweet Indian street foods. As always, adjust the ingredients and quantities to suit your preferences. Remember, cooking times and results may vary based on the specifics of your ingredients and equipment, so feel free to experiment and adjust as needed.

Indian street food is a culinary experience and a cultural phenomenon reflecting the nation’s rich tapestry of flavours and traditions. Whether the spicy chaats evoke memories of previous journeys or the sweet jalebis that bring comfort, these street foods transcend mere sustenance. They represent the spirit of India, where people from all walks of life come together to relish these delectable treats.

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