Street food is a big part of India’s landscape. No matter what time of day it is, there is an appropriate snack to match. The streets bustle with shops, people and ‘halvais’ – people who make desserts by profession. A halvai’s destiny is pre-determined by the caste he was born into–he makes Indian sweets and snacks, as did his father and grandfather and as will his children. Their set up is small and dramatic and their stands boast brightly colored barfis (Indian fudge), milk cakes, and jalebis (bright orange, Indian funnel cake-like sweets).
On the savory-side, there are huge Indian skillets ‘tawas’ with sizzling snacks of channa masala (chickpea curry), spicy cakes, crispy tortilla-like snacks drizzled with yogurt and tamarind sauce and my favorite, ‘alu tikki’. Alu tikki is the Indian croquette. Spicy disks made from potato and flour, these snacks can be eaten on their own, thrown in to a burger bun or even as a side.
Saira Malhotra is a classically trained chef and graduate from the French Culinary Institute. Saira brings her European, Asian and American background together via the palate and communicated through her food blog: www.passportpantry.com.
Photos: Saira Malhotra