Indian Snacks and Appetizers

By: Silvia Blach

Until today, diversity is one of the characteristics that best describe India. India is relatively a large country, and every state in India has many different languages, dialects, unique traditions, and most importantly, Indian recipes. Food in India is so diverse that you can see dozens of variations of one dish alone.

There are two things that make Indian cuisine so rich and so diverse. One is India's history. Over the years, many foreign invaders have crossed and stayed in India and in the process have left behind a mark on Indian cooking. Second is how India values cooking. Here, Indian food is serious business. Cooking is not just an activity you do in the kitchen. Indian cuisine is special because cooking is considered as an art in India. And when it comes to snacks and appetizers, Indian food definitely provides an experience. Mentioned here are some of the popular Indian snacks and appetizers that you can expect to tickle your palates and satisfy your cravings.

Chaat – This flat bread is very versatile as you can flavor it any way you want. The basic ingredient in this snack is potatoes, which are mashed together with spices and other veggies and deep fried. You can accompany chaat with sauces, chutneys, and soups.

Samosa – This appetizer has already met many variations and has even been adapted in western recipes. Basically, it is a thin pastry that is stuffed with a filling of vegetables and spices. It is folded into a triangular shape and baked in an oven. Sometimes, vegetables are replaced with chicken added with flavorings.

Bhelpuri – As a delicious snack, this is commonly served in Mumbai. The basic ingredients include puffed rice, potatoes, and grated coconut as the base of the dish. There are chutneys that are made to accompany the puffed rice mixture, and sometimes herbs and spice combinations are added.

Malai Kofta – As a street food, this appetizer has also seen many variations. You can term it as vegetarian meat balls, as the basic ingredients are ginger, potatoes, raisins, cardamoms, and others. They are deep fried and served with traditional Indian sauces.

Chivda – Popularly called the Bombay Mix, chivda is a popular snack eaten with hands. It can be a healthy alternative to potato chips or popcorn, as chivda is made of dried lentils, chickpeas, chickpea noodles, peanuts, puffed rice, and many more.

Vada pav or wada pav is an Indian food. This vegetarian snack holds an iconic status in Mumbai and is a very popular Maharashtra, India. This Indian version of burger is made by deep-frying potato patties mixed with garlic and served in slices of “pav” or bun along with tasty condiments such as green chilis or coconut, garlic or tamarind chutneys.

Pakoras – Pakora is an indispensable fried snack found all over India as well as its neighboring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This crispy delight is made by dipping your favorite vegetables such as cauliflower, eggplant, bell pepper, potato, spinach, tomato and onion in a spicy batter and deep-fried. This delicious vegetable fritter is often served as an appetizer and during festivals and served with chutneys. Some popular pakora varieties are paneer (cottage cheese) pakora, palak (spinach) pakora, and pyaz (onion) pakora.

Papri Chaat also spelled Paapri Chaat or Papdi Chaat is a easy to make delicacy originated from north India. Papri is made from wheat flour mixed with oil and salt and then deep-fried till crispy into disc wafers. It is served with finger-licking Chaat which is a concoction of assorted ingredients such as boiled chick peas, potatoes, chilis, tamaring chutney and yogurt.

Masala Vada - integral part of street food culture in South India. Masala Vada is basically a medium-sized dumpling served with sambhar, coriander chutney, coconut chutney or tomato ketchup along with tea or coffee, perfect as evening tiffin. Its main ingredients are channa dal, chopped onions, curry leaves, ginger and green chillies. Masala vada is best served hot.

Kachori - is a popular spicy lip-smacking North Indian snack of various regions of India and each region has a slightly difference version from each other. This deep fried pastry is small and round in shape or flattened, made of flour filled with a stuffing cooked or baked lentils or potatoes spiced with black pepper, red chili powder, ginger paste, salt and other spices. Kachoris are often served with tamarind, mint or coriander chutney.

Indian snacks and appetizers can even be made as special dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You don’t have to wait for special festivals in India to enjoy sumptuous dishes and mouth watering snacks. With their huge array of sauces, soups, condiments, and spices, Indian cuisine offers no boundaries when it comes to taste.

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