Indian street food is popular across the globe for its diversity, spicy flavour and amazing taste. Some popular street dishes found in different cities of India are Aloo Tikki, Chaat, Pani Puri/Gol Gappe, Misal Pav, vada pav Chhole Bhature, Litti chokha and more.
Besides Indians, many foreign travellers swear by any Indian dish that’s easily accessible in the streets of India. Therefore, these Indian foods have become popular in different parts of the world.
You can visit any Indian restaurant in any part of the world to satisfy your craving for scrumptious Indian street food that’s likely to tantalise your tongue in no time.
What is Indian Street Food?
Indian street food is often made of a medley of various seasoned ingredients, flavourful spices, fresh vegetables, and sweet & sour sauces.
This food variety varies from one region to another. It can incorporate dumpling-like recipes like momos or fried dough without or with fillings such as chaat papri, samosa, etc.
You will be amazed to know that a wide range of culinary landscapes of different Indian dishes expands throughout Dubai and Bangkok in different forms of dosas and Kati rolls to spicy snacks like Aloo Tikki or Chaat.
People in different parts of the world are also building an appetite for these foods. That’s why it’s not difficult to find a good Indian restaurant offering traditional Indian street food in various parts of the world.
There are a homely feel and comfort factor in every Indian food. That’s the reason why this has become a commonplace food in India and intrigues so many people due to different cuisine options for different types of food lovers.
Is Indian Street Food Healthy?
A mere mention of Indian street food can easily make mouths water just on hearing its name. However, many people still stay away from street food, as it falls into the category of junk food.
However, the truth is that if you go to any good Indian restaurant, you get a variety of dishes to choose from. Many street food varieties are indeed devoid of significant health benefits and essential nutrients.
But some Indian street food dishes may not necessarily include in the list of foods to avoid. Moreover, a wide selection of this food variety is quite healthy. This is because Indian street food variety available in restaurants is prepared with fresh ingredients and different spices that are known to be beneficial for health.
We won’t say that Indian street food is healthy. But if prepared with freshly cooked vegetables and other health-benefiting spices in a sanitized restaurant kitchen, it can be quite a safe and healthy option to eat with your family and friends.
10 Indian Street Foods that need to go global
While you can choose from a wide variety of Indian street foods, some dishes are so delicious that you cannot miss tasting them. Here is a list of the popular street food that must go global:
1. Aloo Tikki
Aloo Tikki is the South Asian variety of potato croquette. It is made of mashed boiled potatoes that are mixed with onions, coriander and spices. After that, these are shaped in round patties.
These round patties are further deep-fried to form a crispy exterior that’s still soft enough to melt in the mouth. The spicy potato cutlets are served with tamarind and mint chutney, tomato ketchup or yoghurt sauce and hence, a perfect South Asian staple.
Bhelpuri is a blast of different flavours in your mouth. It is a West Indian street food item that combines salty, sweet and spicy flavours in the form of one delicious snack. It is also a vegan dish and traditionally served in a simple paper cone.
Recently, it’s also being served as a common appetizer in dinner parties, as it is easy to make. For preparing bhelpuri, pre-prepared ingredients are tossed into a large bowl, mixed with chutneys and viola!
All the ingredients contain sev (fried noodles made of chickpea flour and puff rice), diced onions, chaat masala and green chillies. Finally, cilantro is added as a garnish to make the dish presentable.
It is another common Indian street food that’s mostly found in different regions of North India. However, chaat is a term used generally for South Asian street food. Many people in the world are fond of Indian Chaat.
Chaat includes papri that’s further layers with boiled potatoes, boiled chickpeas or maybe bean sprouts. It is further layered with seasoned yoghurt sauce.
According to different types of chaat varieties, its components can also be added to samosa or Aloo Tikki. Finally, the dish is served with sev and tamarind chutney.
The different kinds of Chaat available in different Indian restaurants across the world are Peas and Aloo Chaat, Idli Chaat, Sprouts Chaat, Oats Chaat, Raw Mango Chaat, Cutlet Chaat, Palak Chaat, Boondi Chaat, Cutlet Chaat, etc. Not only that but there are also over 500 varieties of Chaat that must be available globally, as these are quite healthy alternatives to other junk food.
Dosa is a perfect crepe, which is made from a fermented batter of black lentils and rice. Although it is a major South Indian cuisine savoury, Dosa is commonly found in various food stalls in different parts of India.
Dosa is made of stuffed or plain crepe. The stuffed dosa is usually filled with mashed potatoes, onions and other ingredients. Depending on the type of dosa, it can also be stuffed with paneer, mutton or other food items. Some Indian families also serve dosa with shredded cheese that tastes amazing.
The most common chutneys served with dosa are green chutney and coconut chutney. Even sambar is served with dosa. Milagai podi (also called gunpowder) mixed with gingelly oil is another commonly found dosa condiment for dosa purists.
5. Kati Roll
Have you ever tried Kati roll? If not, you must try this tasty Indian dish in the lunch hour to fill your heart and stomach. Besides lunch hour, it can be enjoyed as a filling breakfast or evening snacks if you’re too hungry.
No matter whenever you prefer to have it, Kati roll is likely to become one of your favourite Indian food items as soon as you taste it. Although Kati Rolls are considered West Bengal’s burrito, they are a closer relative of Frankie or shawarma (if you’ve tasted these dishes, you’d get an idea).
The unique flavour of the Kati roll is distinctive. It’s roti exterior envelopes soft spiced paneer, lamb or chicken, in addition to some tasty toppings that vary from mixed cooked/raw vegetables to scrambled eggs. Finally, it’s garnished with different types of spicy sauces, a sprinkle of chaat masala and some lemon or lime squeeze.
Kebab is a South Asian dish that includes different types of vegetables or marinated pieces of fish or meat (grilled or roasted) for evoking charred flavour. Indian-style kebabs taste out of this world and are worth your time and money, as they guarantee to please your taste buds as soon as you take a bite.
According to the type of restaurant you visit, Indian-style kebabs are prepared in different types of spice blends that vary from spicy and sweet to sour flavours. Usually, the murgh malai (which is a Hindi translation of “tangy chicken”) is the less spicy flavour of kebab. The most famous kebabs that many people around the world love are chicken tikka and Tangri chicken.
But if you find tandoori chicken or chicken tikka too mainstream, you may think of taking your kebab game to another level by ordering it in different flavours like seekh, hariyali, reshmi and shami kebabs. These are some of the best kebab varieties to enjoy the flavours of the Indo-kebab world.
Kulfi is known to be an Indian version of ice cream. However, there are many differences between ice cream and kulfi. The major difference lies in its texture and flavour.
Usually, kulfi in Indian streets is served in the classic mould with a unique topping for creating kulfi falooda. Falooda is a type of ice cream float that’s prepared with rose syrup base, basil seeds and vermicelli noodles. Besides, there are many other varieties of kulfis like mango kulfi, badam kulfi, malai kulfi and more.
8. Pani Puri
Pani puri is also known as gol gappa, gup chup and puchka in different parts of India. It is the most popular Indian street food, which not only Indians love but many foreigners as well.
This dish consists of small puri shells that are made from unleavened dough, bread pieces and semolina mixture. These are hollowed out and generally stuffed with a mixture of potatoes and smashed chickpeas or bean sprouts (which are added very occasionally)
These stuffed puri shells are further garnished with some different toppings like mint chutney, tamarind chutney, diced onions and green chilies. Finally, spicy “pani” (water) is added, which is usually flavoured with chaat masala and tamarind paste.
You can easily find pani puri in any good Indian restaurant in different regions of the world. But after enjoying the crispy pani puris, don’t forget to enjoy leftover pani as a cocktail.
It is one of the easiest street foods for replicating at home. Pakora fritter is usually made by dipping different types of vegetable pieces in chickpea flour-based batter. It is further deep-fried until turned golden brown.
The fried pakora is served with different types of sauces, such as mint chutney, tomato ketchup or tamarind chutney, depending on your preference.
Some of the most common vegetables used to make pakora are eggplant, onions, cauliflower and green chilli peppers. Besides vegetable pakora, chicken and fish pakoras are also available for non-vegetarians.
10. Pav Bhaji
Pav Bhai has originated from the Indian state Maharashtra. It is a blend of vegetables that are cooked on a flat griddle with tomato-based gravy. The entire dish is served with a buttered bread roll.
This Indian dish seems to be a version of Sloppy Joe but Indian vegetarian-style. Even non-vegetarian style versions of pav bhaji are made with curried ground meat (or kheema). This type of pav bhaji is known as kheema pav.
One of the best things about Indian street food is that it’s easily accessible in almost any region in India. With the popularity of Indian restaurants in the world, people living in foreign lands can also enjoy the taste of different flavourful and spicy Indian street food dishes.
The reason why Indian street food must become popular across the globe is that it’s delicious, which is quite evident from the rush of crowds gathering to eat any Indian dish. Furthermore, Indian street food is affordable and hence, ideal for those travellers who are on a budget.