How to Make Delicious Indian Snacks?
Lip smacking, tongue tingling snacks are popular in India, they are the root cause of cultural invasion all over the World. The snacks characterize the World of spicy Indian cooking. The country specializes in snacks that come in a thousand flavors. They are consumed with gusto, even at midnight.
The evolution of food styles began many centuries back, right from the Indus Valley Civilization to arrival of Mogul invaders . The impact of vegetarian cooking has been due to the influence of ideologies that taught abstinence from meat consumption. These were primarily Buddhism and Jainism.
A major impact that is visible in contemporary foods is due to cultural mix up within different regional styles, and that of foreign cultures that stepped in. Certain food habits have been influenced by the Western cultures, but nevertheless Indian cuisine stays unique, and it stands out from the rest of the World.
The snacks are mostly deep fried, hot and spicy. They are eaten when freshly fried otherwise many become spongy and inedible. Except the chivada - admixture of fried Indian noodles, peas, spices and nuts - the storage life of fried foods is very less. Most of the snacks that are stored to be eaten later do not contain preservatives. They are consumed within a stipulated period.
Most of the snacks are tangy and tasty, but nutritional value is much to be desired. The consumption should be limited for health reasons.
Samosa & Usal
India snack foods
The list of snack food in India is long with many variations, this is due to regional flavors added to it. The most popular items that are sold by street vendors and restaurants alike are:
- Aloo Banda
- Bhaji Vada
- Medu Vada
- Stuffed Paratha
- Pav Bhaji
- Usal Pav
- Fried Chick Peas
- Masala Puri
- Pani Puri
- Cholle Bhatura
- Spicy Peanuts
- Moong Dal Fried
- Chana Chor Garam
- Aloo PuriChole
- Jhal Mudi
- Egg Bhurji
- Paneer Bhurji
Some of the above items are basic but come with recipe variations and local flavors everywhere. Many like chaat, paratha, puri, vegetable kebabs and chevada encompass large number of snacks that fall under these common denominators.
When you expand the list it is never ending. There is hardly any standard in food recipes in this country. The variations depend upon the regional cooking, available raw material and local styles that people favour.
Like the Indian curry, the materials used can lead to spicy or non spicy dishes. The addition of herbs and varying degree of spices churn out a new item every time. Even the cooking method and medium can change the flavor.
Some of the Western and Chinese recipes have been incorporated into the in between meals but with a distinct Indian touch. Noodles, cheese, bread, vermicelli, burger, pizza, pasta, sandwich, and many more have become part of food industry.
Fast food chains are entering big towns as a substitute for snacks here, but they have to tailor their products according to the Indian taste. Chains like McDonald's, KFC, Subway, Domino, Pizza Hut to name a few have entered this market.
Bhajiya Recipe (Fritters)
Batter: Take chickpea flour add water to make a medium or thick batter:
Additions: Add chopped green or red chili as per taste. Add potato and onion that have been cut into small cubes. Add a dash of finely chopped ginger and sprinkle coriander leaves. You can add other herbs, instead of coriander to change the flavor.
Spices: Use red chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, carom seeds, and whatever else you fancy. But for newcomers it is good to use the above. Mix these in small amount and add to the batter. In order to make it more aromatic and spicy, you can also use Garam Masala - a hot spice mixture readily available in the market.
Method: Mix the batter well with all the additives in it. Roll into small balls using your hands. Bring the oil to a boil in a deep fry pan or Kadhai (Hindi). Let the oil cool down a bit and then slow fry the balls one by one. When a gentle brown coloring takes over, set the balls on a plate. Pour tomato sauce to the side of the plate, garnish with ringed onions and serve.
In India, tamarind chutney is the usual accompaniment and tastes far better than the sauce.
Khaman Dokhla Recipe
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Poha & Jalebi Images
How to Make Sev?
Sev is an Indian noodle made of gram flour (Chana). The snack is very popular all over India, and is usually had with accompaniment of hot tea.
- Gram Flour - Two Cups
- Red Chili Powder
- Salt to Taste
- Garam Masala (Optional)
- Garlic paste (Optional)
Make a batter using gram flour and mix all the other ingredients in it. Take a sieve or net of metal fill it with the mixture such that it falls directly on the wok as it passes through. Fry it for sometime, as soon as the Sev is done take it out and place it over a tissue paper to reduce excess oil.
The Sev is now ready to eat.
Note* Other flours can also be used but gram flour is the most preferred one.
- Potatoes + Peas (Common)
- Cottage Cheese
How to Make Samosa?
The recipe is very simple, but one has to be apt at folding the outer covering. This comprises of a jacket made of maida or fine wheat flour. The first step is to make a dough mixed with oil, ajwain or carom seeds and salt. The dough is then rolled to make a thin pancake.
The pan cake is laced with some more oil and then it is given a triangular shape to form a hollow inside for filling. This becomes a container for the filler. You need to practice a bit in order to get the perfect shape, nevertheless an amateur job will do initially.
Once the pancake is ready, fill it with mashed potato, green peas, garam masala (optional), salt, rock salt, cumin powder, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander and garlic. Once the filling mixture is done, close the samosa at edges using help of oil.
Deep fry the samosa till they become brown. Your wonderful yummy snack is ready to eat. Use tomato sauce, green or tamarind chutney whatever you prefer.
Suji Cachori Recipe
Idli is a savory snack but is also consumed as meal with other foods. This find more popularity in South but nevertheless it is catching fast all over India.
Curd & Health
- Milk Nutrients
- Vitamin D
Lentil Health Benefits
- Folic Acid
The addition of tamarind chutney adds its own benefits. The calories contained are minimum.
How to Make Idlis?
Idlis are savory snacks from Southern India. They have become equally popular in the North. Along with the yummy sambar they constitute healthy and light breakfast, lunch and dinner. Fried and salted idlis are usually had as snacks.
How to make?
Mix rice flour with moong dal flour (lentil flour) in equal proportions, and then add water. Alternatively semolina (Suji) can be used instead of rice flour. Soak the mix over night. In the morning put it in the mixture to form a thick batter. Ready made mix is also available in the market. Put the mixture in a special steamer known as idli maker. Place the steamer on the gas filled with the flour mix. Steam from underside till the idli is soft and done.
Have the snack with curd and coconut chutney, sambar, - pungent curry - or fry them in oil and tamper it with rai (mustard seeds), turmeric and salt. Use this as anytime snack.
This snack is eaten when hot but can be stored in a refrigerator for few days.
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How to Make Paneer Masala (Spicy Paneer) ?
Paneer is a cottage cheese popular in India. It is made from milk by curdling it with citrus juices. The resultant is paneer, it is available at all dairy shops and is best consumed fresh.
Paneer 250 gm
- Black Pepper - Half a Teaspoon
- Roasted Cumin - One Teaspoon
- Red Chili Powder - Half a Teaspoon
- Green Chili - One
- Ginger - One Small Piece
- Coriander - Sprinkle
- Kasuri Methi (Fennel) - Sprinkle
- Clarified Butter - Saute
- Salt To Taste
In a frying pan heat the clarified butter than add the paneer cut into square pieces. Saute lightly than add all the ingredients and continue to till the Kasuri Methi releases color and fragrance. Serve hot.
Tea & Snacks
- You can add peas, cauliflower and pieces of other vegetables that suits your taste.
- Fry with caution on medium flame for proper cooking.
How To Make Cutlet
This is a popular light food item available in coffee houses, fast food joints, cafes, tea lounges, small street restaurants and Indian homes as well. The ingredients and recipe are as follows:
- Boiled Mashed Potato
- Green Chili
- White Pepper
- Carrot Pieces (Small)
- Turnip Pieces (Small)
- Egg White
- Bread Crumbs
- Salt to taste
Mix all the ingredients with mashed potato in order to form a thick paste and then shape it. The popular shape is usually triangular. Dip this in egg white or mayonnaise and then layer the cutlets with bread crumbs. This done, fry the cutlets in oil over slow flame.
Serve with tomato sauce or green chutney.
Types of Flour Used for Pancakes
Breads (Flour Pancakes)
Yes, some Indian breads are perfect snack items and are consumed as such. These are cheela, paratha, puri, and dhebra to name a few popular ones. These are served with sauce, chutney or curd and constitute breakfast foods in some localities. Eaten in large servings they are a meal in themselves.
- Gram? Moong Flour...Two Cups
- Ajowain Seeds (Caraway)
- Turmeric Powder...Half Teaspoon
- Coriander Powder....Half Teaspoon
- Cumin Powder - Half Teaspoon
- Red Chili - Half Teaspoon
- One Tomatos (Small Cubes)
- One Onion (Sliced Small)
- Coriander Leaves (Sprinkle)
Take a cup full of flour in a bowl. Add just enough water to make a thick batter. Add all the ingredients according to taste or as mentioned above.
Take a preheated pan sprinkle oil on it. Then pour the thick batter and using a utensil shape it into the pancake. After some time roll over and add oil on the sides. Keep the heat low and cook till done. Serve it with chutney or curd.
Do You Like Indian Snacks?
Most of the snacks are consumed with chutneys in India. In fact its serving is prerequisite with bhajiyas, samosas, momos, cutlets, cachoris and vadas.
Some of the chutneys are consumed fresh, while some can be stored for a number of days. Remember these are had in small quantity, and the morsel is usually dipped into before it is put in the mouth.
These pungent sauces are served as accompaniment, hence strong taste is created. Those that are less spicy can be had in larger quantity, one good example is the coconut chutney.
This is a simple recipe where soaked urad dal, coconut and red chili are ground in curd. Urad is split black lentil popular in the country.
This is a mixture of tamarind paste, sugar/jaggery and powdered red chili. These are mixed together in proportion preferred by the makers. After the mix is prepared it can be boiled to yield a smoother watery paste.
I am posting recipes of two fresh chutneys below:
Green Chutney Recipe
- Green Chilis
- Lime juice
- Rock Salt
- Peanut (Optional)
- Mint (Optional)
Mix coriander and green chili in equal proportion and then grind with slice of ginger. Next add lime juice, sprinkle rock salt, plain salt, then add water and make a liquid paste. This item can be stored in a refrigerator for three days. Peanut paste can be added to the chutney as per taste, but peanut will make the taste mild. Adding mint to this recipe alters the taste altogether. Some prefer it this way.
Hot Garlic Chutney
This along with the tamarind paste and green chutney are used for making spicy and tangy bhel.
- Red Chilis
- Jaggery/Sugar (Optional)
- Shredded coconut (fresh)
Take one pod of garlic and peel it. Add a slice o ginger, few red chili and grind to paste. To make a sweeter mix add little bit if sugar or jaggery. If you add shredded coconut it will make the mix mild. This will yield a drier form, but if you add little water you will get a smooth viscous liquid.
Preparing Sabu Dana Vada
Bihari Liti Chokha
Though Indian Sweets are always accompanied with major meals, they are without hesitation eaten along with snacks and tea. Many sweets are chomped alone by people with sugar teeth.
The sweets in India are very sugary hence do not find much appeal with weight watchers. For many foreigners the taste is simply unpalatable.
Sweets are also made using jaggery from cane. These are becoming more popular due to being less sweet. Many types of these deserts contain mawa. Mawa is condensed milk. It is made by continuous boiling till all liquid has completely evaporated leaving solids behind.
Hot & Spicy
Four spices make foods hot. They are red chili, green chili, pepper and cloves. Use less of these if you wish to make milder snacks.
Poll Indian Snacks
Do You Like Indian Snacks
© 2012 Uday Patel