Life is short, but the list of street foods is painfully long. We are a nation of street food lovers. We make such a ceremony of eating them, from Momo, golgappa to pav bhaji, options abound and with it the flavour and taste.
There are never enough excuses to line up at the hawker from across the street and get a plate of aloo chaat or bhel puri, anytime of the day. The craze for street food is so amazing that even cafes and five-stars are replicating them on their menu with sophisticated plating among other visual treats.
Here’s reliving our love of everything the hawker in the corner of the street rustles up.
1. Steaming, juicy and succulent Momo melts in your mouth
Of Nepalese origin, the momo is traditionally a dumpling made of flour with a stuffing of minced meat that is steamed to attain its juicy, succulent texture. Now there are fried and tandoori versions of momo available on every street, and the stuffing varies from paneer, cheese, cabbage to pork, chicken and lamb.
2. Everyone can make Maggi, and every Maggi is just as awesome
Despite running into trouble with the Foods Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Maggi had to be re-launched almost on popular demand. And when the first stock hit the market, it was a sell out in a matter of hours. Maggi is a classic, you can spruce it up with veggies, cheese, sprinkle some meat bits on it, or simply slurp it down from a bowl. And there isn’t a dearth of roadside shacks selling this 2-minute noodle.
3. Colourful corn chaat is what you crave mid-morning, or whenever
Boiled corn kernels seasoned with salt, lemon, chillies, julienned tomatoes and onion, and coriander can actually taste so brilliant. Your street side vendor further spruces it up with some chaat masala and chilli flakes. Traditionally a healthy snack, but depends on how far you really want to go.
4. Paani puri, Phuchka or Golgappa, we can’t keep our hands off them
Golgappa stalls do roaring business, season or month notwithstanding. To have your share, you might have to queue up a bit, but won’t regret the wait. Outside of its sweet and tangy taste, having Golgappas is another excuse to socialise.
5. You can never say no to Pav Bhaji
The soft, buttery bun, shiny from having soaked up enough butter, and the bhaji made of beans, onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, served with some raw salad and a lemon wheel is the way we know Pav Bhaji. A Mumbaiya snack traditionally, now every place has its rendition of this popular street food.
6. The thought of delicate and crunchy Aloo Tikki makes your mouth water
When this aloo patty is cooking in the griddle, you simply cannot ignore the aroma. It smells so delicious, that even if you aren’t hungry, you invariably end up ordering a plate. Served with mint chutney and other sauces, aloo tikki is a popular street favourite, something every vendor gets it right.
7. Delicious golden brown Aloo Chaat and a sprinkling of chaat masala, what more?!
The golden brown potatoes have a crunch that is unparalleled, and the seasoning of lemon, aam chur, chaat masala, coriander etc lifts it to another level. A very North Indian street side snack, Aloo Chaat is often served with a mint or tamarind chutney and sometimes without it. Either way these crunchy and soft potatoes are delicious and speak for themselves.
8. Creamy Dahi Bhalla is what you need when hunger pangs strike
These urad dal or moong dal vadas soaked in yoghurt and further topped with pudina chutney and tamarind chutney is an extremely popular snack in Delhi and Punjab. It also makes for a great starter at lot of luncheons. Some like to sprinkle some pomegranate crystals on it or even the crispy papdi.
9. Samosa and Chai, there isn’t a more magical pair. Is there?
We love to sit down to a cup of tea and samosa in the evening, whether we are at work or home. And good samosa is so easy to find, in fact every hawker has a unique recipe which he jealously guards.