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No woman no cry, No chapati no chai

Posted by on May 30, 2013

Almost 3 months in India is guaranteed to put your stomach through its paces, both for good, and for bad. Below are some of the better memories from our time spent in this foodie heaven of a country.

Samosa
Found in frozen party packs all over the UK, the samosas in India couldn’t be much different. Although you may still find the odd pea in your pastry triangle, the samosas in India are often filled with potatoes, onions and their special masala mix. Walk down any street and you’re bound to see stacks of these ready made and sat next to a big couldren of oil ready to be fried. At only 4 rupees a samosa (£0.05) they make a cheap tasty eat any time of the day.

Samosa, train station near Varanasi

Samosa, train station near Varanasi

Pani Puri
Another Indian snack which was new to me, a small, crispy, round, hollow chapati like shell is filled with potato, onion and chickpeas then is topped with mango chutney, natural yoghurt and lemon zest. Eaten in one mouthful the end result is a sweet, spicy, little bite of yumminess. The quicker these make it in to the local Indians the better. A plate of Pani Puri as shown below costs about 50 rupees (£0.60).

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Pani Puri, Mumbai

Uttapam
Sometimes referred to as an Indian pizza, this dish is similar to a dosa which I spoke about in my earlier food post. The same rice/lentil batter is fried on a hot plate, and topped with ingredients such as onions, tomatoes, chillies, cabbage and fresh coriander. Traditionally a South Indian dish, at around 80 rupees (£0.96) this is far better than any of the western pizzas that are on offer in India.

Uttapam, Varanasi

Uttapam, Varanasi

Pav Bhaji
Found only in Mumbai, this roadside snack is guaranteed to clog the arteries. Potatoes, tomatoes, green peppers, onions and spices are fried and mashed in to a sauce. That is then ladled on to a plate and topped with 2 dollops of ghee and fresh coriander. Fresh bread is then toasted, dipped in ghee and served to dunk up the spicy sauce. To make this pleasure a little less guilty, this is often served with as much onions, tomatoes and cucumbers as you like, and costs around 50 rupees (£0.60).

Pav Bhaji, Mumbai

Pav Bhaji, Mumbai

Lassi
I’d never tasted a lassi before arriving in India as it was always difficult to order something other than a cobra with a curry back in the UK. However while in Inida lassis are everywhere, and not to be missed. Served in a ceramic pot, homemade yoghurt is mixed with sugar, then your choice of flavour, apple, mango, chocolate, or quite simply on its own. One of my favourite lassis were the apple lassis in Varanasi, or the Makkhaniya lassis specific to the Rajasthan region which contains butter and is similar to a milkshake. Lassis are generally around 50 rupees (£0.60).

Chocolate & Apple Lassi, Varanasi

Chocolate & Apple Lassi, Varanasi

Masala Chai
Us English love our tea, however before I arrived in India I’d never had a spicy cuppa. Surprisingly very tasty, milk is boiled with fresh tea, nutmeg, cardamon, cloves, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, and any similar spices you can get your hands on. This is the most common type of tea drank around India, and unless specified, almost all chai served will be of the spicy kind.

Masala Chai, Udaipur

Masala Chai, Udaipur

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