9 Must Have Snacks of Kolkata
9 Must Have Snacks of Kolkata
Rarely will you come across a Calcuttan who doesn’t swear by this descendant of the Pani Puri/Gol Gappa family? One of the most iconic street food in the streets of the city, Phuchka comes in numerous variations, sometimes with yogurt (doi phuchka or dahi phuchka, as it is known here), sometimes even with vodka shots. In fact, the filling of spiced mashed potatoes dipped in tamarind water or meethe paani (mishti jol) is simply put an explosion of spicy tart, crunch, and softness from the potatoes that account for a milieu of happy memories.
This is inarguable, the most famous street food from Kolkata to have traversed across continents, thanks to the enormous popularity of Jhalmuri. In fact, Jhumpa Lahiri, in her novel Namesake synonymously used Jhalmuri for nostalgia. Basically consisting of puffed rice, chanachur or/and jhuri bhaja (bhujia, sometimes), chopped onions, chillis, tomatoes, coriander, spices, nuts and tossed in mustard oil, Jhalmuri is light and entirely satisfying snack to have in afternoons or between meals. Calcuttans tend to be nostalgic about Jhalmuri being served in old newspaper cones, as is the tradition even now.
The city is most frequently dotted with shacks and stalls which provide one with the tastiest of fried snacks. Deliciously oily and sinful, the crispy cornflour (or besan) battered fries of items ranging from onion rings, potatoes, aubergine slices to quirkier stuff like raw mangoes, ginger, Bombay Duck (lotey maach), coriander leaves, et al are what every Calcuttan outside the state detest missing out on. These are as mouthwatering as it gets without leaving a dent in your wallet.
A typical Bengali dish, ghugni, is made of yellow dried peas or white peas, boiled and tossed in with chopped coriander, coconut, onion, chillis, tomatoes and tamarind water and seasoned with spices. A spoonful of Ghugni will burst into a plethora of unthinkable flavors into your mouth.
5) Batata Puri
Another happy addition from the north-west of India, Papri Chaat in Kolkata is a slight twist of a popular snack in places like Mumbai, Delhi, Goa, etc. Papri or deep fried chips are laid down first and topped with spiced potatoes, chopped onions, coriander, chillis, yellow Indian peas boiled, and dressed in red tamarind chutney that tastes tangy sweet. It’s quite like the Mexican nachos, only Indian, and if you ask me, way tastier.
6) Doi Bora
Also known as Dahi Bhalla in Punjabi, this dish is popular all over India and deservedly so. They are deep fried vadas that are softened in water and then transferred in a bowl of beaten yogurt. Mostly, the yogurt is seasoned with masala, chili powder, lime, coriander or pudina leaves, pepper, coconut, cumin, etc. Dahi vadas are not harsh on your tummies and in fact, serve as nice snacks to have during the sultry months of summer.
7) Radha Ballavi
A very famous deep fried, lentil-stuffed puri, Radha Ballavi is usually served with ghugni/ chhola’r dal/ alu’r dom or alu’r torkari. In fact, Radha Ballavis are a rage in the city and vanish really fast from the sweetmeat shops here. Masala Kochudi as well as my personal favorite, Koraishuti’r kochuri, is dished out the same way as Radha Ballavi barring the fact that they have either masala or Green Indian peas pasted and pureed inside. Go, try, now.
8) Alu Kabli
One of the easiest snacks in this list to rustle up when in a hurry, Alu kabli are boiled cubes of potatoes tossed in with roasted chickpeas (previously soaked, usually overnight), chopped onions, tomatoes, coriander, tamarind paste, chopped chillis and seasoned well. This hot and spicy street food have what I considered my comfort food when a kindergarten kid.
9) Ghoti Gorom, Badam Makha
Every Bengali once made memories of summer evenings with Ghoti gorom sellers walking past dark lanes, while their bells/keys sound as they move. Ghoti Gorom basically is chanachur with onions chopped, chillis, peas and nuts, and masala.
You may also find some regular foods like jalebi and chowmein with a local twist like the paneer jalebi. So people, if you are ready to treat your taste buds with some lip-smacking food Kolkata, is the place to. And for your safe and happy journey book a taxi with AHA taxis.