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.

How to cook… Chicken Tikka Wraps

Recipes

Makes 4–6 wraps

These Chicken Tikka Wraps make a delicious and fresh tasting snack when combined with peppers, onions, salad and Mint Yoghurt Sauce. It’s best when cooked fresh but to speed up the process simply marinate some extra chicken when making any of the tandoori dishes that require Chicken Tikka, such as Chicken Tikka Masala, then cook it up for the perfect lunch-time snack the next day.

What you need…
• 1 recipe Chicken Tikka (starter)
• 2 teaspoons oil
• 0.5 green pepper, sliced
• 0.5 red pepper, sliced
• 0.5 onion, sliced
• 1 tomato, chopped
• An 8cm piece of cucumber, chopped
• Handful of crispy lettuce, chopped
• Small handful of fresh coriander, chopped
• 1 recipe Mint Yoghurt Sauce
• 4–6 wraps (or nan bread or roti)


How to make it
1. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the peppers and onions in a pan until soft (about 4–5 minutes).
2. Warm the wraps under the grill for a couple of minutes.
3. Lay 4–5 pieces of chicken just off the centre right of the wrap and add your choice of peppers, onions, salad and coriander, plus some Mint Yoghurt Sauce.
5. Fold the long side of the wrap to the right over the mixture and tuck it just under the mixture. Now fold the bottom of the wrap up so it overlaps the flap you have created on the right and holding it tight with your thumb fold the left side over to create the wrap.

CHEF’S TIP
If eating on the go you can wrap if in tin foil and peel back the foil as you eat.



Chicken Tikka is an excellent snack when combined with pepeprs, onions and salad in a wrap.

If you like this you should try our
Sag PaneerChilli PaneerButter ChickenButter PaneerPrawn KormaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken Dopiaza

Don’t worry. Just wrap up your troubles.

How to cook… Kathi Roll

Recipes

Serves 4 as a snack

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

What you need…
For the warm filling
• 2 Tablespoons oil
• 0.5 mustard seeds
• 0.5 cumin seeds
• 1 onion sliced
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 1 teaspoon ginger paste
• 0.5 teaspoon turmeric powder
• 0.5 chilli powder
• 0.5 garam masala powder
• 400g chicken breast or thigh cut into small, 2cm chunks
• 0.5 teaspoon salt
• 1 Tablespoon coriander chopped (the stems are the tastiest)
• 4 paratha

For the cold filling
• 0.5 onion sliced
• 2 tomatoes, chopped
• few coriander leaves
• 4 Tablespoons Coriander Chutney

How to make it
1. Heat the oil to a medium-high heat and fry the cumin seeds and mustard seeds for 30 seconds.
2. Add the onion and fry until it starts to brown (about 5 minutes).
3. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook for 1 minute.
4. Add in the turmeric powder, chilli powder and garam masala, mix well and cook for 3 minutes. Avoid adding water if possible as you want the mix to be dry.
5. Add the chicken, salt and coriander, and stir fry until all the pieces are cooked through.
6. Open up the parathas and spread in the hot mixture in a line just off centre. You need less than you think – don’t overload it or you won’t be able to wrap it up.
7. Add the cold filling, making sure the Coriander Chutney is spread evenly, and roll the paratha to create a wrap.

CHEF’S TIP
If there is too much moisture in the pan after cooking the filling then drain this off before filling the parathas or the juices will soak in and they will fall apart.

If you like this you should try our
Sag PaneerChilli PaneerButter ChickenButter PaneerPrawn KormaMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken BhoonaChicken Dopiaza

Why is this street snack the smartest of all? … Because they are always rapping.

How to cook… Sweet Coconut Buns

Recipes

Makes 5–6 buns

With just a handful of ingredients and a oven and you’ll soon have a batch of these Sweet Coconut Buns (Macatia Coco), a favourite in Mauritius and delicious when warm and with a bit of butter.

What you need
For the buns
• 250g plain flour
• 1 Tablespoon butter
• 2 Tablespoons sugar
• 1 teaspoon instant yeast
• 120ml warm water

For filling
• 75g dessicated coconut
• 2 Tablespoons sugar
• 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
• 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Plus
• milk for glaze


How you make it
1. Mix all the ingredients for the buns, adding the water at the end, bit by bit. Knead the mixture for a couple of minutes. Leave the dough for 1 hour, which will allow it to rise.
2. Heat the oven to 180 C.
3. Roll the dough for a couple of minutes and divide it into 5 or 6 equal amounts.
4. Mix all the ingredients for the filling.
5. Take one of the lumps of dough and push down using your thumbs to create a cup. Fill the cup with some filling and close the cup back into a ball. Roll gently and keep working the dough until it is completely sealed again. It should now be in the shape of a small bun. Place it on a lightly greased baking tray and repeat the process until you have used all the dough and filling mixture.
6. Using a brush coat all the buns with milk.
7. Place the baking tray into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and let the buns stand for a few minutes. Sprinkle a bit of dessicated coconut on the top and serve warm.


CHEF’S TIP You can add a touch of tropical to these buns by swapping the vanilla essence for pineapple essence.

If you like this you should try our
Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Bhundi Shakarkandi)
Medium Chicken Curry
Chicken Madras
Chicken Vindaloo
Chicken Bhoona

How to cook… Gateaux Piment

Recipes

Serves 4 as a snack or starter

Gateaux Piment (Chilli Cakes) is a popular street-food snack in Mauritius, and is sold in small shops or from homes of people looking to earn a bit of extra income. It is particularly popular at breakfast time and locals often eat it bread and butter. You may also see these advertised as Gato Pima, which is the Creole spelling of the snack.

What you need
• half a cup of yellow split peas
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 2 spring onions chopped
• pinch of cumin powder
• 2 chillies, chopped
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 Tablespoon cooking oil


How you make it
1. Soak the split peas in water for 12 hours.
2. Grind the split peas to a paste, using a little water if necessary.
3. Add all the other ingredients (except the oil) to the peas and mix well.
4. Form the mixture into small (about 2cm diameter) flat pancakes, using a little water to bind the pancakes, if necessary.
5. Heat oil to a medium heat. Add the cakes, turning occasionally, and cook until golden brown.
6. Drain the pancakes and remove any excess oil with kitchen paper. Serve with bread and butter or your favourite chutney.

CHEF’S TIP If you are a bit heat adverse then go for a sweet chutney like mango.

If you like this you should try our
Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Bhundi Shakarkandi)Medium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

These Chilli Cake are so delicious… they’ll have you in tiers of joy.

How to cook… Roasted Corn with Sea Salt & Spice

Recipes

Serves 4 as a snack or starter

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.

What you need
• 4 corns on the cob (with leaves still on if you can get them)
• 2 lemons cut into halves or quarters
• 1 Tablespoon Tandoori Masala Spice
• 1 Tablespoon sea salt


How you make it
1. Heat your barbeque to high heat. Peel back the leaves and cook the corn until they are soft. This will take 30–40 minutes. Don’t wrap them in foil as you want them slightly charred.
2. If you are using real wood or coals you can pell back the leaves and and finish them off directly in the coals for a few seconds. You can use the grill to cook them but it’s impossible to replicate the charred, smokey taste.
3. Put the spice and the salt on a plate with the lemon pieces.
4. Each person should push a lemon slice into the spice and salt and then rub generously over their own corn.
5. Eat immediately, dipping the lemon back into the spice and salt as required.

CHEF’S TIP Once you’ve tried this a couple of times experiment with other spices as your rub.

If you like this you should try our
Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Bhundi Shakarkandi)Medium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

Always be noce to the corn… and it’ll smile from ear to ear.

How to cook… Bharwan Mircha

Recipes

Serves 4 as a snack or starter

Bharwan Mircha (Pan-Fried Stuffed Chillies) are ideal street snacks as the banana chillies are perfect ‘plates-that-you-eat’. From Uttar Pradesh in north India, this tasty snack provides a nice kick.

What you need
• 4 red banana chillies (very large chillies for stuffing)

For the stuffing
• 3 potatoes, boiled and very finely diced
• 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
• 2.5-cm piece ginger, peeled and chopped
• 2 green chillies, chopped
• few curry leaves, chopped
• 2 carrots, peeled and very finely diced
• 60g peas, defrosted if frozen
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• salt, to taste
• 0.5 teaspoon garam masala
• juice of 1 lemon
• 30g Cheddar cheese, grated
• 2 Tablespoons mint and coriander chutney


How you make it
1. Cut the potato into small chunks and boil in water until cooked.
2.
Cut the chillies in half lengthwise, deseed and set aside.
3. To make the stuffing: Heat 3 Tablespoons oil in a pan to a high heat. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to crackle for 15 seconds. Turn down the heat and add the ginger, green chillies and curry leaves and sauté for 1 minute. You may need to remove the pan from the heat initially to stop them burning.
3. Add the carrot and green peas and cook until soft.
4. Add the potatoes, turmeric, chilli powder and salt and cook for 2–3 minutes. Sprinkle over the garam masala and lemon juice and salt, and cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
5. Heat a non-stick pan, add the other 1 Tablespoon oil and cook the chillies for 1–2 minutes on each side over a low heat, turning regularly until golden.
4. Stuff the chillies with the carrot, peas and potato mixture plus the grated cheese and mint and coriander chutney.
Recipe from Food of the Grand Trunk Road by Anirudh Arora and Hardeep Singh Kohli, courtesy of New Holland Publishing.

Large round peppers would provide an good alternative to the banana chillies, although naturally less spicy.

If you like this you should try our
Roasted Sweet Potatoes (Bhundi Shakarkandi)Sindhi BiryaniMedium Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

Fans of Christmas lunch love this dish… because it’s full of stuffing.

How to cook… Bhuni Shakarkandi

Recipes

Serves 4 as a snack or starter

Bhuni Shakakandi (Roasted Sweet Potato) is a popular Punjabi street snack. It’s pretty simple to make yet tasty and filling with bread of your choice.

What you need
• 4 sweet potatoes
• 1 teaspoon chilli powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon amchoor (dried mango powder)
• 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
• juice of 1 lemon
• 1 red chilli, roughly sliced
• few sprigs coriander, torn
• 2.5cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped


How you make it
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Wrap the sweet potatoes in foil and bake them in the oven for about 35 minutes or until tender.
2. Leave until cool enough to handle, then peel and cut into 2.5cm rounds.
3. Put the sweet potato in a bowl, add the chilli powder, cumin, amchoor and salt and mix well.
4. Squeeze over the lemon juice, then add the chilli, coriander and ginger. Serve warm.
Recipe from Food of the Grand Trunk Road by Anirudh Arora and Hardeep Singh Kohli, courtesy of New Holland Publishing.

If you like this you should try our
Stuffed Pan-Fried Chillies (Bharwan Mircha)Sindhi BiryaniMedium • Chicken CurryChicken MadrasChicken VindalooChicken Bhoona

Why are potatoes so fat? … Because they are couch potatoes.

Recipe… Egg Curry (street style)

Recipes

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Egg curry street style
Serves 4

What you need
• 8 eggs
• 3 potatoes
• salt to taste• 3 tbsp oil
• 1 onion finely chopped
• 2 tsp roughly chopped garlic
• a 2-3cm piece of ginger peeled and roughly chopped
• 1 tin chopped tomatoes
• a small handful of coriander (tear the leaves off and chop the stems)

Spice mix 1
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 cloves
• 2 cardomom pods (cracked open slightly)
• 6 peppercorns
• 3 whole dried red chillies (or a tsp of crushed dried chillies)
• 1 bay leaf

Spice mix 2
• 1 tsp turmeric
• 1 tsp cummin
• 1/2 tsp chilli powder (add more if you like your curries hot)

How to cook
1. Hard boil the eggs and remove the shells.
2. Peel and slice potatoes and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle potatoes with salt.
3. Heat the oil and fry the potatoes until they are cooked through and just start to brown. Set aside.
4. Fry the eggs in the same oil for about 5 minutes, rolling them frequently to avoid them crisping. Remove eggs and set aside.
5. Turn up the heat to ensure the oil is piping hot. Add the whole spices and cook for 20-30 seconds (cover the pan with a lid as it may spit). Timing is important. You want to infuse the oil with the flavours of the whole spices but if they burn you will have to do stage 5 again.
6. Add onion, garlic, ginger and tomatoes and turn down to a medium heat. Cover and cook for about 12-15 minutes, stirring from time to time to avoid the sauce sticking.
7. Add the Spice Mix 2 with some salt, and stir in thoroughly. Cook for another 10 minutes. You may need to add in some water if the sauce is too thick.
8. Add the potatoes and eggs. Stir so the eggs are covered with the sauce but be careful not to break them up. Heat through for about five minutes.
9. Spinkle on the coriander.

Roasted corn with lemon and spice

Recipes

Roasted corn

This is a simple street snack you’ll find all over the sub-continent. For that delicious roasted taste the vendors finish cooking the corn in the coals, leaving on the leaves so the corn is protected. You can try the same on the barbecue at home or try to replicate under the grill. On the street it’s eaten with your hands, of course.

For 2 people

4 corn on its cob (with leaves on if you can get them)
A lemon cut into halves or quarters
A large spoonful of mixed tandoori spice (or any mixed spice you choose)
A small spoonful of salt, preferably sea sea salt with large grains

1. Cook cobs over barbeque until corn is soft (finish off for a few seconds in the coals if you have leaves to protect the corn). Use the grill if it’s cold and raining.
2. Mix the spice and salt together and add to a plate with the lemon pieces.
3. Once corn is ready rub the lemon into the spice and salt mix and then rub generously over the corn.
4. Eat immediately.