February 4, 2013

Street food from New Delhi: 'Chaat'

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I'm home for a month in New Delhi and one of the things I miss most about this place is the food, especially the street food. The 'chaat' is the most humble of the Indian capital's street foods and also the most complicated! There is no fixed recipe and everywhere you go, you will be presented with something different. One thing is for sure, though: it will be a riot of tastes and textures!

One of the places we frequent is near the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) in Delhi. This very modest vendor is apparently decades old with a secret mix of spices (masala) of their own. Most chaat's that you'll find in this city consist of fried papdi (like tortilla chips, made with flour), bhalle (soft dumplings made from lentils) and umpteen condiments and chutneys (sauces). What I like best about this place is the freshness of all the ingredients, probably because everything sells so quickly!

The crisp and crunchy papdi jostles for attention with the melt-in-the-mouth bhalla. All the while, your tongue experiences a medley of sweet, tangy and spicy flavours. There are other types of chaat on offer as well such as the aloo tikki - fried and stuffed potato cakes or simply, fried potatoes mixed with spices. For the more adventurous, there's the gol gappe - puffed flour balls filled with spicy/tangy water - served one by one to you.

If you do visit Delhi, try to locate  this hidden joint. The ambience leaves a lot to be desired, but the taste makes up for it tenfold. And that's what street food is about anyway, right?

This post was featured in the 'Carnival of Weekend Wanderings' hosted by Grace, a fellow blogger at Sandier Pastures.


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  2. I LOVE Chaat! Can't believe I only discovered it last year. Sweet yoghurt, crunchy noodles, spicy, fragrant chilli paste and sour tamarind - what a taste explosion. Favourite is pani puri, and have even learned how to make it myself at home. Although the 6 dirham version at Bombay Chowpatti is pretty hard to go past.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! If you are a real chaat lover, a visit to New Delhi is warranted. I'll post a guide to the city soon.


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