June 20, 2023
CM Content Team
Indian snacks and street food are an integral and huge part of the Indian food scene. As a tourist, one of the greatest things about travelling across the length and breadth of India is that you get to taste a variety of food that reflects the local heritage. The sheer variety of Indian snack food you find on the streets and restaurants across India is mind boggling!
From sweet dishes to spicy delicacies, the best Indian snacks options are endless here. Since it is World Food Day on October 16, we list down some of the best Indian snacks you must try to satiate your taste buds.
Just the mention of the word can make anyone drool! Popular mostly in northern parts of India, it is available in different forms and shapes throughout the country. Samosa is basically a deep-fried savoury pastry filled with the goodness of mashed potatoes, onions, peas, lentils, meat and a medley of spices.
This Indian snack is made of all-purpose flour and flavoured with spices like cumin and fennel seeds. The crispy outside and the soft inside provide a wonderful textural contrast that make it a delight to eat. The hit of spices in your mouth make you crave for more.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular Indian snacks, you can have samosas anytime of the day. While some like to have it in the morning, most prefer eating it with their evening tea. Usually, served with mint and yoghurt chutney or a sweet date and tamarind chutney, you can increase or decrease the spice levels to suit your palate.
As the name suggests, Calcutta Chop is one of the best Indian snacks that comes from the ‘Land of Joy’, ’Kolkata. Foreword – don’t be deceived by the word, ‘chop’ as it does not look or taste anything like a chop, instead it is more of a croquette or a cutlet.
Calcutta Chop is usually made of a whole egg, or minced meat, which is coated with batter and deep-fried until it is golden brown on the outside and crispy. In short, Calcutta Chop is the Indian version of Scotch eggs. It has hard-boiled eggs that are covered with a spice laden potato mash mixture, which is then covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried.
It is one of the most favourite street foods for many, and available throughout Kolkata. The chop is best enjoyed with a chutney, and nowadays vendors serve with any array of sides such as mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, and more.
If you are vegetarian, you can also find a vegetarian version of Calcutta Chop, which includes potato, cottage cheese or paneer and spices that amp up the flavours!
Simple yet complex, Bhel is a popular Indian snack food that is popular throughout the length and breadth of the country. Available in different forms and known by different names, every mouthful of Bhel is a flavour bomb. In the western parts of India it is called Bhel or Bhel Puri, whereas, in eastern states like Kolkata, Bihar, and Orissa, it is called Jal Muri. In south India, it is called Churmuri.
Easy to make, Bhel is made by mixing together a bunch of ingredients like puffed rice, peanuts, roasted chana dal, sev, onions, tomatoes, coriander, lemon juice, potato, tangy tamarind sauce, spicy mint chutney. All the ingredients are tossed together and usually served in a leafy or paper cone.
With every bite of Bhel, you get different textures, like the soft and melt-in-your mouth texture of the puffed rice, the crunch of the nuts, the gooey potato, the crispy sev, all binded together by the sauces. Apart from the textures, you get the taste of different ingredients.
Bhel is a tasty, light, healthy, and guilt-free snack that you can have to beat your untimely hunger pangs!
Inspired by the Lebanese Pita bread wrap, Frankie is a delicious and healthy Indian snack that is made of juicy naan bread coated with egg, stuffed with chicken or mutton meat and rolled up. A combination of different spices is sprinkled over the stuffing to elevate the flavours.
A popular street food, which is usually eaten on the go, it is hearty and delectable. Just like the Pita bread is inherently Lebanese, Frankie is one of the quintessential Bombay dishes. Just as tasty and delicious it tastes, how the dish got its name has a fascinating story.
The dish was invented by Mr. Amarjit Singh Tibb. He went to Beirut, Lebanon in 1967 and had Pita Bread. He was so fascinated by it that he wanted to bring the dish to India. Mr. Tibb was a huge fan of a yesteryear West Indian cricketer, Sir Frank Worrel, and he used to cheer for him by saying ‘Frankie.’ Thus, he named his Indian version of Pita Bread as ‘Frankie’ because he wanted to serve a dish to the people that everyone would cheer for.
Thus, in 1969, after much experimentation, he rolled up different ingredients in naan bread to suit the Indian taste, and started the popular ‘Tibbs Frankie.’ Originally, the dish had only meat filling, but nowadays, Frankie has vegetarian fillings and is served with sides of chilli, and mint chutney.
Many hardcore foodies would say, Momo are not any ordinary Indian snack, but are an emotion, it a state of bliss and happiness. Yes, that’s how much Indians love this delectable snack. Inspired by the famous Chinese dumplings, Momo made their ways to the hearts of Indians across the country from the north-east.
A delicious and humble Indian snack, Momo are the Indian version of dumplings. The outer wrap is made of wheat or all-purpose flour and the filling consists of a mix of vegetables or meat. It is then deep-fried or steamed. Both the versions have different taste and texture but are equally delicious and worth tasting.
The original dumplings recipe from China has stuffing made of corn, cheese, beef, duck, and pork. But, the Indian variants mostly include paneer and chicken filling. These delicious bite-sized snacks are best enjoyed with spicy chilli dip. But, Indians have their own variation of dips and serve with tomato ketchup, mint chutney, and sometimes mayonnaise.
When your hunger pangs hit, you may invariably like to munch on to something spicy and crunchy, right? Well, hence Chakli is considered one of the best snacks for evening; it is crunchy, and utterly delicious. Above all, it goes well with a cup of hot tea.
Murukku is a Tamil word, which means twisted and the name refers to its shape. It is popular all over India, especially down south in states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka. In the south, it is made of rice flour, urad dal and an assortment of local spices. The flour is then kneaded into a dough and then shaped into spiral or coil shapes either by hand or a mould and then deep fried.
Chakli is the same as murukku; it is a crunchy and spicy savoury snack. The only difference is it is mostly known by this name in the western and northern parts of India. Also, other than south India, Chakli is made of chickpea flour and the level of spice usage here is more.
Today, there are different variants of murukku and chakli like butter chakli, garlic chakli, schezwan chakli, coconut chakli and more.
The best Indian snacks list cannot be complete without Vada Pav featuring on it. The pride of the Mumbai street food, and an integral part of Maharashtra cuisine, it is everyone’s favourite. From kids to adults, everyone loves it and for a good reason. It is super tasty, and makes your tummy and heart feel full.
Vada Pav consists of two elements, i.e., vada and pav. Vada is made of potato that is mashed and mixed with an assortment of spices and then dipped into a chickpea flour and deep fried. It has a crispy outside and a soft filling inside. The taste and flavour comes from the use of the spices in the potato mix and even in the batter. The Vada is then served with a pav that is laden with a generous dollop of garlic, peanut and chilli chutney and mint chutney. The sauces in the pav augment the flavourful experience.
Termed as a common man’s food, Vada Pav is a humble dish but it can give any gourmet food a run for its money in terms of taste and popularity. With the monsoon season around the corner in India, Vada Pav is the perfect snack to have in the evening to get that feeling of warmth on a cold and cosy rainy evening.
Medu Vada is a south Indian delicacy from Tamil Nadu and is loved by all throughout India. If there ever was an Indian snack food hierarchy, Medu Vada would comfortably and rightfully take the top position.
A doughnut-shaped fritter, it is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. The traditional Medu Vada recipe is made of black lentils and rice flour mix. The mixture or the batter is leavened with curd and seasoned with a tempering of mustard seeds, onions, and green chillies.
A common breakfast dish in south India, it is served with a side of sambhar, i.e., a lentil soup and freshly made coconut chutney.
Puran Poli is another popular healthy Indian snack that is known in different regions by different names. Also, as per the region, its taste differs based on the ingredients used. But, it is a popular Maharashtrian dish, a sweet flatbread, which looks like a chapati or paratha but the only difference is it has a sweet filling.
The filling is made of chana dal and jaggery. Generally, in Maharashtrian homes, the dish is made during festivals and special occasions like Diwali, or Ganesh Chaturthi. It is best eaten when it is hot with a dollop of desi ghee, that adds aroma, and flavour. Not to mention, the ghee makes the humble poli a decadent treat, which is food for the tummy and soul.
While the Maharashtrian version is popular, its south Indian variants from Tamil Nadu, and Kerala are also quite delicious and worth tasting. In south Indian states, it is mostly known as Boli or Obattu and based on the region, the filling is made of grated coconut, mixed with spices like cardamom.
Pav Bahji is a fast-food dish that is eaten like a snack in different parts of India. It consists of a thick vegetable gravy or bhaji served with bread or pav. The dish originated in Mumbai was a favourite quick lunch time meal for the textile mill workers who preferred robust and tasty food.
The bhaji is made of mashed vegetables like potatoes, onions, peas, bell peppers, tomatoes, chillies and carrots, which is mixed with an array of spices. Originally, a street food, today, Pav Bhaji is now available at street hand carts and fancy restaurants across India and overseas.
The street sellers cook the vegetable mix, i.e., the bhaji mix on a tawa or flat griddle and serve the dish hot. The bhaji is now laded with a generous amount of butter and the pav is spiced with the gravy masala and coriander. While the dish tastes amazing by itself, people now prefer having it with Cheese, and Cheese Pav Bhaji has become the go-to easy evening snack for the modern day youngsters.
In conclusion, the popular Indian snacks list mentioned above is not an exhaustive one, but we have meticulously chosen these as we firmly believe they are the best amongst the lot and are a crowd favourite. So, if you are travelling across India, make sure to try one or all these Indian snack foods to get the real taste of the Indian food culture.
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