India has some fabulously delicious snacks referred to as “chaat” (meaning a quick eat). There are sweet as well as savory varieties, and they can be eaten hot or cold. As Indian cuisine has penetrated to even the most remote of places, it has proved to be a well-known and loved range of food worldwide. Many popular Indian snacks are commonly sold in India by street vendors with carts, and in shops and restaurants around the world.
Just like the Indian continent being one of grand size and home to a variety of languages and many people, similarly, Indian snacks are numerous and bountiful, and there are many to choose from. Food is traditionally eaten with the fingers in India, and so, a lot of the popular snacks are easy to pick up finger-foods. There are some that have proved to be more popular than others, both within India and globally, and these will be outlined below.
Samosas are known as the king of snacks. They are the most popular and renowned of Indian snacks worldwide. They can be found everywhere including many supermarkets in the US and Europe. They consist of a triangular crispy pastry pocket stuffed with a number of fillings. Common fillings include lamb or beef mince with onions, potatoes and spices and mixed vegetables and potatoes and spices. They are often eaten alongside various dips and chutneys and can be eaten hot or cold. In India especially, there is often a long queue to be seen of people waiting by a samosa-seller.
Pakoras or bhaji’s as they are also known as is a very popular snack that has many varieties. They are very popular in the Western world as well as in India itself. One very popular variety is the onion bhaji, which is made out of a mixture of garbanzo or gram flour, baking powder, lots of onion of course, various spices like chili, cumin and turmeric and cilantro. They are formed into balls and deep-fried. Again, like most Indian snack foods, they can be and are eaten alongside a delectable variety of mother-watering sweet as well as spicy chutneys and dips.
Poppadums also known as papad in the north of India are immensely popular. They are very crispy and thin and resemble dried tortillas but with air bubbles on top. Some of them are plain-flavored; others have spices added to them. They are made out of lentils and are often deep-fried, although they can be baked. While they hail from the south of India, they can be found everywhere. Many Indians enjoy them as a snack accompanied by various tamarind sauces, chutneys, pickles and dips like raita (an Indian yogurt, cucumber and mint dip). In some parts of India, they are eaten at the end of the meal, but it is more common for them to be eaten alongside a meal. In many Indian restaurants in the UK, US and Australia, they are served as a starter to a meal alongside chutneys, like mango chutney.
These popular Indian snacks are not only widespread and loved in India, but worldwide as Indian cuisine has graced every island and land. Most of the popular Indian snack foods are finger-foods. They are often accompanied by a delectable array of mouth-watering chutneys, pickles and dips, all ranging in flavor from sweet to salty and spicy.