A Guide to Indian Street food

There are two types of people who will be reading this the ones who’s mouths have already started watering and the others who are thinking why would you want to eat from a cart on the side of the road. Street food may not be the prettiest but it is by far the tastiest food you will experience whilst travelling, in India street food is an art. A cart owner will always make the same dish over and over again and this one special dish is often passed from one generation to another so that it can continue to be served to perfection every time. It is also the ultimate comfort food, for many Indian’s street food will be their only meal of the day so every effort is put into each dish to ensure it is filling, satisfying and packed full of flavor.

So put your worries aside and dive in to your Indian street food experience by sampling a few ( if not all) of our favorite dishes below. Don’t panic about the dreaded Delhi Belly you could just as easily get sick in a restaurant which is why we actually prefer to eat street food. This way you can judge for yourself if the food is safe to eat by following these few simple rules

  1. Follow the locals! If there is a crowd around  a cart eat there, it means the food will be cooked fresh and the locals think it’s delicious so chances are you will too.
  2.  Eat food that has been freshly fried or heated in front of you, the heat will kill off any nasty bacteria. Don’t eat anything cold that has been sitting around for a while.
  3. Have a look around to check how the food is stored especially if you are eating meat. All food should be in a container out of the sun and meat should be in a cool box.
  4. Most importantly if you start to eat something and you think its not quiet right stop eating it! It won’t have cost you the earth anyway and you can just get something else.

Masala Dosa 

This was our go to meal in India perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This dish is popular across India but originated in the South and comes in many variety’s.  The Masala Dosa is still our all time favorite and is similar to a big crepe but  made out of ground rice and lentils. It is then stuffed with masala laced mashed potatoes and served with coconut chutney and sambar. Its the prefect balance between savory and spicy especially with the cooling coconut chutney made with coconut pulp, tamarind and a blend of mild green chilli and spices. Or you can add to the spice with sambar a fiery lentil and vegetable stew.

 

Chana Masala 

The humble Chana Masala is quite possible one of the best curries we’ve had! It’s a family favorite across India and can take up to 9 hours to make. Chana refers to the chickpeas in the curry which are in a rich gravy made with dried pomegranate seeds, mango powder and then balanced with garam masala. We loved it topped with red onion, grated carrots and a huge handful of coriander .

 

Aloo Tikki / Chaat

A typical northern Indian dish Aloo Tikki is India’s equivalent of a hash brown. Its a thick potato patty laced with spices then fried until extra crispy. There are a range of toppings to choose from including onions, coriander, curd, spicy green sauce and sweet tamarind sauce. But our favorite topping is Chana Masala, onions and coriander. Make sure you eat this dish to your hearts content whilst up north, we rarely saw it as we moved further south.

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Pav Bhaji 

This is a really simple but incredible delicious dish, it is also not as heavily spiced so is good if you want to ease into Indian food. The dish is made up of a delicious fried Dal (Lentil Curry) which is served with a sinfully tasty ghee soaked fried bread roll.

Pani Puri

These are great for a snack on the go, or as a side dish with any meal. The crispy puri, similar to a poppadom, are usually stuffed with a mixture of potato, chickpeas and onion and then filled to the brim with with either curd, spicy mint or sweet and sour tamarind sauce. They defiantly get your taste buds tingling but don’t be shy make sure you eat it in one mouthful otherwise you will end up very very messy.

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Parotta 

Parotta is a layered flat bread, its buttery and flaky and was our favorite breakfast in the Andaman Islands! In fact we went to a cooking class just to learn how to make these at home.  Porotta is best served hot and comes with a side of curry to dip it in, usually a version of Dal or Chana Masala. Our favorite way to eat it is rolled up with a spicy onion and chili omelette … it really is the best way to start you day trust me !

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