Everybody knows that street food is not so hygienic and not very healthy compared to restaurants, but still, people love to eat street food because of the large varieties available at a cheaper price. It is mostly people from the middle class and lower middle class who want to taste a variety of food at an affordable price and indulge in street food.
The Mughal era is remembered mostly for its decadent food and magnificent architecture, and in cities like Delhi and Lucknow, both are abundant. You could spend a week and eat kebabs for lunch and dinner and there would still be some varieties of kebabs left to try. At its simplest, a kebab is a barbequed piece of marinated meat. They are originally from the Middle East, but it is in India that the khansamah, or royal cooks, elevated them with their expertise and understanding of flavors and spices. Some, like the chicken tikka and the reshmi kebab, have gone on to make waves in restaurants around the globe but others like the kakori kebab (similar to the seekh kebab but the meat is tenderized with raw mangoes), the sutli kebab (minced meat wrapped with a string around a skewer and grilled), and the gallouti kebab (minced meat patties invented for a toothless king!) can only be found in these cities.
Ros Konkani for gravy is poured over the omelet and served with buttered Goan Pao bread at stalls across Goa for breakfast. The gravy in this Indian street food is either made with chicken or chickpeas or spiced with fragrant Konkani spices. The omelet soaks up the flavors of the gravy beautifully! Pair it with a strong cup of chai and you already have the perfect start to your day.
An iconic Kolkata street food, the Kathi Roll is a parantha filled with kebabs and garnished with pickled onions, lime juice, and green chili sauce. The most popular item is the Egg Roll, a parantha, and omelet wrap stuffed with pickled onions. According to local folklore, the dish came into existence when a bunch of royals demanded parantha and meat that they could eat without their hands getting stained with oil. An enterprising cook rolled the meat into the parantha, then wrapped the roll with paper and served it to his royal patrons. The word Kathi become part of the nomenclature when Nizam’s, an eatery in Kolkata, made a switch from iron skewers to bamboo sticks (locally called Kathi) to grill kebabs in 1964.
Telebhaja means fried in oil and come evening, telebhaja stalls are where a significant number of Kolkatans are drawn like moths to a flame. In Kolkata, we call these fried items chop. Not much is known about the etymology, but they are close kin to the English croquette and are prepared similarly. There are two kinds of chops on offer: crumb fried, and without. Crumb fried options range from potato, mashed beet, mocha (banana flower), paneer, and more. Non-vegetarians can gorge on fish fries, chicken cutlets, dimer devil (a cousin of Scotch eggs), and kobiraji cutlets. Classic batter-fried options are the beguni (batter-fried eggplants) and the futur (fried dough balls).
These fried dough balls from the street food stalls of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will keep you coming back for more! The batter is made with rice flour mixed with black gram and fried in hot oil. A punugulu is crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. They are served with coconut chutney, ginger chutney, and peanut chutney. Perfect for rainy evenings!
No trip to Kerala is complete without some pazhampori, crisp ripe banana fritters. Bananas are sliced lengthwise, dipped in a batter of rice and gram flour mixed with a little semolina, and fried in hot oil. The pazhamporis are crisp on the outside and soft and custardy on the inside. Best enjoyed alongside a cup of milky tea at a roadside joint!
Lukter is popular in Arunachal Pradesh. To make lukter, meat is first sun-dried and then grilled with the bhoot Jolokia, one of the hottest chilies in the world. This chili scores a brain-numbing 1,041,427 units on the Scoville scale.