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Subcontinental Street Foods


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To start with -

Amritsari Street Food

Amritsar%20Food1.jpg

When you come to this part of Punjab, leave behind all that new-fangled calorie-counting, health-conscious, low-fat rubbish. This is the land of milk and butter.

You are entering a gastronomic culture in which quantity is very much a part of quality. Know that strapping young Sardars with lustrous beards and shining round cheeks are made not with wheatgerm and celery, but with well-marinated meat with lashings of butter, and dollops of ghee on everything. From the dim recesses of the city’s many hole-in-the-wall dhabas issues an endless stream of such tasty food that most Amritsari households send out for food, rather than cook at home

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Same magazine, another article on street food. This one is by a familiar name.

The Melting Pot

 

 

Have you ever been consumed with a passion for pani-puris abroad? Suddenly felt you could really kill for a dosa? Or had feelings that only an assignation with a bhel puri could assuage? Well, here’s a tip, don’t go looking in any of the Taj Mahals or Jewel of Indias or Delhi Durbars that can easily be found in most cities across the world. All you’ll find inside them will be the vindaloos, madras curries, chicken tikka masalas, baltis and all the other peculiarities of that bastardized blend of North Indian food prepared by Bangladeshi cooks which is what passes as Indian cuisine in most parts of the world.

food2.jpg

What you want at this junction is neither that, nor whatever counts as home cooking for you. What your tastebuds are yearning for is that basic, essential, deeply satisfying type of food that is rarely made at home, but instead is sold from handcarts, makeshift counters, ramshackle shelters or even just from tins and baskets on street sides across India. And here’s how to find it: check the yellow pages or just walk around until you find a restaurant, the smaller and simpler the better, which has Bombay in its name. Not the politically correct Mumbai, but the original name in combinations like Little Bombay, Bombay House or Bombay Bites. And while its not a given, the chances are that these establishments will serve the pani puri, bhel, dosas, dhoklas or other types of snacky, street food of your yearnings. In the arbitrary way that international usage ascribes meanings, Bombay it seems has become a synonym for Indian street food.

food4.jpg

Edited by bhelpuri (log)
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My own favorite, irreplaceable, Indian street food is 'bhutta'. Tough Indian maize, roasted over glowing charcoal and then slathered with lime/chilipowder/salt.

It's a particular pleasure that i've never been able to replicate anywhere. Part of it is the atmosphere, the best 'bhutta' is eaten on the waterfront, on the long walkways of Marine Drive or along Bandra's Bandstand or Carter Road or at many places in Cuffe Parade.

But the biggest reason is that the maize is different, much harder and more robust. A few weeks ago, I had my first Bombay 'bhutta' after a couple of years. Offered the choice "naram ya kadak" (soft or hard), I felt a bit wimpy but went for the 'naram'. Good move, it was 20 times harder than any of the American sweet corn my teeth have gotten used to. I mean, really really hard.

Ate many more 'bhutta' this trip, never dared to go for the 'kadak'.

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My own favorite, irreplaceable, Indian street food is 'bhutta'. Tough Indian maize, roasted over glowing charcoal and then slathered with lime/chilipowder/salt.

It's a particular pleasure that i've never been able to replicate anywhere. Part of it is the atmosphere, the best 'bhutta' is eaten on the waterfront, on the long walkways of Marine Drive or along Bandra's Bandstand or Carter Road or at many places in Cuffe Parade.

But the biggest reason is that the maize is different, much harder and more robust. A few weeks ago, I had my first Bombay 'bhutta' after a couple of years. Offered the choice "naram ya kadak" (soft or hard), I felt a bit wimpy but went for the 'naram'. Good move, it was 20 times harder than any of the American sweet corn my teeth have gotten used to. I mean, really really hard.

Ate many more 'bhutta' this trip, never dared to go for the 'kadak'.

i beg to differ. the best bhutta is in delhi and punjab. and bhelpuri, have you ever tried it with butter and black-salt?

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Thanks for sharing this pictures. They are making me really hungry. I would love for you (Bhelpuri -- since your screen name is so apt to do this) to start a thread on how to host a street food party -- now that would be cool.. everyone knows we can get it there and its damn good.. can we make it here is the key :smile: . OFcourse without the wonderful "unknown ingredients" like those on the unwashed hands of the vendors.. I wonder if it will ever really taste the same!

I think Mumbai wins hands down for the best corn on the cob or Bhutta.. I agree with you on this Bhelpuri..

Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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As an Amritsari removed, the 'Amritsar Street Food' article brings back wonderful memories. As my grandparents still have a 'koti' in the Old City ('shaar' as Amrtisaris call it), I've navigated the labryinth of streets eating the best kulchas and drinking the best coma-inducing lassis.

It's a particular pleasure that i've never been able to replicate anywhere. Part of it is the atmosphere, the best 'bhutta' is eaten on the waterfront, on the long walkways of Marine Drive or along Bandra's Bandstand or Carter Road or at many places in Cuffe Parade.

I have to agree with mongo here. Having eaten 'bhutta' in both places, the best 'bhutta' is in Punjab. They grow it Punjab for goodness sakes! :smile:

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One can be in any part of the world, it will make no difference to the sweetness of the corn kernels as they pop betwen the teeth, the juices rushing to meet the flavours of salt and chilli and lemon leaving us licking our lips.

I like it in any form, roasted, cookedboiled... slathered with butter or salt, chilli and lemon. Basically it would all be for naught without the butta

I get my buttas and kernels at Fort. There is this guy who comes to the same corner every morning at 10:30 and only sells sweet corn. And boy is it sweet! It is the best! Rs 10 for three ears of corn or a bag of about 250 gms of kernals. I buy a whole lot at a time and freeze them. Then just boil or preassure cook and toss in butter and pepper as a snack for my family or a side dish.

An interesting variation is if you toss them in lemon olive oil, salt and pepper.

Rushina

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As an Amritsari removed, the 'Amritsar Street Food' article brings back wonderful memories. As my grandparents still have a 'koti' in the Old City ('shaar' as Amrtisaris call it), I've navigated the labryinth of streets eating the best kulchas and drinking the best coma-inducing lassis.

Me too, I remember Lawrence road.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja

http://www.gourmetindia.com

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Hey does anybody know about this book?Seems the right one for this topic

Yes, quite a nice book, I recommended it recently in another thread here. There are some nice touches, like the cover folds out to show the different types of containers that are traditionally used for Indian street foods - the ones made with leaves or earthen pots. Well worth buying.

Vikram

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Does this have information on the origins of the foods? How things came into being. i recently found out about how Pau Bhaji came into being, I would like to know about other street foods and dishes.

Rushina

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This is what I have heard, though I am not clear on wether it happened in Surat or Bombay.

All of the mills used to have late night shifts and what restaurants used to do was that they used to collect all the vegetables left over from the day and cook them up with a lot of butter and masallas and sell this reinvention really cheap with Pau. Hence Pau Bhaji. Still looking to find out more.

Rushina

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somehow i don't think the presence of the sea or the esplanades is essential to the bhutta experience.

Sorry Mongo, the presence of the sea is vital, especially the stormy monsoon sea when its battering Bombay. Its something about how the salt in the spray complements the salt on the bhutta. I'm not particularly fond of bhutta, but I definitely eat it then.

Rushina, I've heard the pau bhaji story too and its plausible enough, but I doubt if we're going to find out for sure. The street foods book doesn't have that sort of info though.

Vikram

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Hey does anybody know about this book?Seems the right one for this topic

Sorry to reply so late. Somehow missed this thread.

I picked this book up in my last visit to Kolkata.

Quite a nice book actually, reading it brought back tons of memories, and lots of saliva :>

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