5 Best Indian Street Foods

Curry News

Take a stroll away from the smart restaurants and you can often find some of the best food you’ll ever eat. Street food is the only food some people ever eat in India. They street vendors are effectively their restaurants to them. Some have one or two rickety chairs and tables; for others you have to grab and go. Ask and of the vendors why their food is so good and they’ll tell you: “we don’t need rules and regulations. If our food is not healthy and tasty we will lose our customers. They are the only rules we need. Next time you are in India skip the tablecloths and fancy waiters and yourself down the streets for some proper treats. Until then why not try these five favourites at home…

Here are Five Best Indian Street Foods


1. Kathi Roll (Calcutta)

The famous Kathi Rolls are from the streets of Calcutta in West Bengal but they are now famous all over the world. The rolls are ideal for commuters eating on the go and would traditionally have included meat, fried onion and spices in a paratha. Today Kathi Roll has become a catch-up phrase for any spicy wrap, so you are likely to find it will all sorts of fillings.

2. Roasted corn (Goa)

Roasted Corn is a simple street snack you’ll find all over the sub-continent and it’s delicious rubbed with grainy salt and spice. For that delicious roasted taste the vendors briefly finish cooking the corn in the coals, leaving the leaves on the corn to protect it. You can cook on the barbecue at home or try to replicate the taste under the grill. On the street it’s eaten with your hands, of course.

3. Tali Machli (Maharashtra)

Tali Machli (Spicy Fried Fish) is a popular street food snack eaten all over India but is especially popular in coastal Maharashtra. It’s lightly spiced so you don’t need a sauce, which makes it ideal for eating on the move, but it’s also delicious with your favourite chutney or pickle.

4. Bunny Chow (Durban)

Ok, you won’t find this in India but you street food lovers must try this! It’s simple, it’s rustic and it’s tasty… it’s a Bunny Chow! You’ll find someone selling them on every street corner in Durban, South Africa. Ideal for that steamy tropical climate, yet also great comfort food for cold winters. Cut off the bottom of a loaf, scoop out the white stuff leaving a crust shell. Fill with hot chicken curry (don’t forget the sauce now), settle down and use the bread you scooped out to mop up and eat your curry. No cutlery permitted. Durbanite and Bunny Chow lover Richard says bunnies are best eaten sitting cross-legged while staring at the Indian Ocean with a bottle of ice-cold Coke by your side.

5. Chicken Tikka (North India)

You may know it as the archetypal restaurant starter but there are not many more popular dishes on the street than Chicken Tikka. The stalls are filled with long skewers hanging ready for customers. But few hang there for long as they are soon snapped up and eaten on the go with hot chapatis by the hungry customers. Cooked in makeshift tandoors, often no more than a old drum that’s been coated on the inside with thick concrete to hold the heat, the chefs are kept busy from one morning till the early hours of the next.

5 Favourite Restaurant Curries

Curry News

The first Indian restaurant in Britain (the Hindoostane Coffee House) was established in 1810 and restaurants serving spicy food remained popular throughout the 19th Century. However, it was post-World War II, when a large number of Asians from Commonwealth come to Britain, that the number of restaurants really boomed. The chefs soon learnt to adapt their dishes to local tastes and many authentic dishes have been adapted and mixed over the years to create a particular style of dishes known as British Indian Restaurant (BIR)-Style. Today there are an estimated 12,000 such restaurants in the country in Britain, mostly run by Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Nepalis. In a Royal Curry Club survey we asked: “What’s your favourite curry?” Jalfrezi stormed the poll, with 41% saying that dish was their favourite, with Biryani coming in second. Tikka Masala, once dubbed “a national dish of Britain” flopped, with only 19% of curry lovers choosing the old creamy favourite. Madras and the super-mild Korma came in at fourth and fifth curry house favourites.

Here are Five Favourite Restaurant Curries.


1. Jalfrezi (Medium-Hot)

Jalfrezi was originally a stir-fry created by Bengali chefs working during the Raj-era. In true British restaurant-style it has evolved into something quite different from the original Chicken Jalfrezi, where the ingredients were cooked in their own juices. Restaurants add some Base Curry Sauce and mix it with different coloured peppers, onions, tomatoes and chillies to create a lovely range of tastes and colours. The dish can be cooked with a variety of main ingredients but Chicken Jalfrezi remains the most popular.

2. Biryani (Medium)

There are many different types of Biryani. The British-restaurant version is little more than pilau rice with some pre-cooked ingredients added to it. The authentic cooking method is very time consuming and few restaurants (or their customers) have the time for it. The South Indian Hyderbadi Pakki Biryani uses chunks of lamb (or mutton if you prefer) that is pre-cooked (Pakki) then added to the rice and steamed. It also includes cooked and fried chunks of potato and is finished off with saffron and fried onions.

3. Chicken Tikka Masala (Mild-Medium)

Often called Britain’s “national dish”, some people refuse to order anything else but Chicken Tikka Masala on a visit to an Indian restaurant. Chunks of Chicken Tikka are cooked with green peppers and tomatoes and simmered in a mix of Base Curry Sauce, Tikka Marinade, yoghurt and cream. The dish is widely accepted to have been created in Scotland, when an enterising chef realised the Chicken Tikka was too dry for his diners so he added some creamy masala sauce.

4. Madras (Hot)

Lamb Madras is one of the most-ordered dishes in Indian restaurants. Meaty chunks of lamb are cooked gently in the Base Curry Sauce that’s given an extra kick with the black peppercorns and chilli powder. Madras is another British Indian Restaurant creation and you certainly wouldn’t find it in Chennai (formerly called Madras). In the early days the restauranteurs simply used the name to mean a hot curry. They used Vindaloo to mean a very hot curry. Chicken Madras and Prawn Madras are also popular.

5. Korma (Very Mild)

Having shaken off the reputation of being the “beginner’s curry”, the mild Korma is gaining in popularity again. And it’s no surprise that chicken is the preferred choice for this delicious dish. This recipe avoids the sickly sweetness and coconut dished up by some restaurants and mixes onions, yoghurt and cream to create a creamy smoothness. Chicken Korma and Paneer Korma are the favourites for diners.

The most popular curries

Curry News

In a recent survey we asked: “What’s your favourite curry?”

Jalfrezi stormed the poll, with 41% saying that dish was their favourite. Tikka Masala, once dubbed “a national dish of Britain”, flopped with, surprisingly, only 19% of curry lovers choosing the old creamy favourite that was once dubbed a “national dish of Britain”. Biryani polled 22% and Madras 18%.

Spice Card holders can enjoy a 20% discount on curries, including on takeaways at many venues. Get your Spice Card here…

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