SPICY TANGY STREET CUISINE
Eating out on the bustling streets across India is a culinary adventure worth experimenting. To gauge the real depth and pulse of any city, hinging on the local fare is almost divine. An Indian Journey brings to you the tangy tastes and smells wafting from the busy street corners of India.
Snacking chaats and gol gappas will remain every gourmetís favourite pastime despite the mushrooming of American fast food joints all across the countryís posh and glitzy neighbour hoods. Apart from being light on the pockets, these fast foods can be gulped down in the open air and in full view of the passers by.
Different regions of India have their own special flavours and exotic aromas. Moreover, what street food can offer cannot be experienced inside the controlled atmospheric temperature of an upmarket sphisticated hotel.
Indian street food is a snack of endless variety - prepared on the street, churned out by the good old street vendor in paper cones or plantain leaves and savoured right on the bustling street corner sans any seating arrangement. And herein lies the beauty of the overall experience.
Chaat is the iconic street food of Delhi that delivers a range of tastes and sensations to the tongue, from crunchy to soft, tart to hot and sweet to sour.
Papri chaat, dahi bhalla and gol gappas or pani purl are the hugely popular varieties. Among the other stuff are samosas, kachauris, bread pakoras, allu tikki, thole bhature and the list is endless. For those with sweet tooth freezing kulfis or piping hot jalebis and gulab jamuns can do the trick.
Like a true cosmopolitan city, one can even get to taste Chinese chowmein and Tibetan momos. And for the non-vegetarians, succulent seekh kebabs, tandoori chicken, chicken tikka, gilauti kebabs, fish fry, etc. can be tasted right from the red-hot skewers dipped with tangy green and red chutneys along with freshly chopped onion rings.
What chaat is to Delhi, pav bhaji and vada pav are to Mumbai. Then there are innumerable bhelpuri stalls. This is the Mumbai version of chaat that can be washed down with coconut water to beat the sultry weather.
Rolls are essentially grilled meat and cheese that are served with roti and spice and are delightful for anyone with a strong stomach. Vada pav is another famous street food that was originally meant to provide nourishment to the Mumbai mill workers.
Agra, Varanasi and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh share a gastronomical umbilical cord. A visit to the Taj Mahal is indeed incomplete without tasting different varieties of pethas and hot and spicy dalmoth. Then the mouth-watering Mughlai kebabs are always there to keep the non-veggies queuing for more.
Ditto for thandai and maghai paan of Benares (Varanasi). Think of the gol gappas, allu tikki, dahi vadas and matar chaat and the salivary glands go into an overdrive. In Varanasi bylanes, one can also savour hot kachauries, jalebis, samosas and poories with alu sabzi at any part of the day.
Obviously, the City of Nawabs is a heaven for non-vegetarian fare. Tunde kebabs and nihari kulche have become synonymous with Lucknow. A mind-blowing variety of kebabs like dora, indiancuisine shammi, seekh, boti, gelawati; mutton korma, chicken kali mirth, nihari, etc. can be had with taftan, kulchas, laccha paranthas, naans, tandooris, sheermals, phulkas, poories etc.
Then there is the unforgp,ttable biryani and for desserts, kulfis, rewaris,
gazaks, namishs, etc. can satiate cravings for sweets.
Apart from the regular idlis and dosas, sabudana khichdi, sabudana vada and shrikhand poories are some typical vegetarian items of Bengaluru. While in the famous IT hub, it would be almost criminal not to taste the akki roti, bete, obbattu, American baby corn, puliyogere, bonds, bajji, benne, gulkan, bete masala, masala pepsi and masala soda.
And non-vegetarians can always relish the typical Malabari soft shell crab, bhatti ka jheenga (prawns cooked in tandoori style), makai motiya seekh (corn kernels and pimentos rolled in), khumb galouti (mushrooms in lamb kebab style), etc.
QASH KAI KITCHEN & BAR DELHI
This spring, walk into Qash Qai, (located in Connaught Place, New Delhi), a kitchen that serves Turkish - Mediterranean-based gourmets, prepared from freshly procured fruits, vegetables and meat stocks with olive oil and freshly prepared cheese. The menu reflects Ďhand-pickedí cuisines from Turkey, Lebanon, Italy, Greece and some East European and West Asian countries.
You can enjoy Ricotta and Spinach Corn, Mushroom and Cheese, Mexican Crepes with grilled peppers and jalapeno, Panini (legendary Italian grilled sandwiches) and try the Grilled cottage cheese steak with mushroom pepper sauce, Vegetable and mushroom ragout served with cons-cons or, Gratinated soft parmesan polenta Spicy bolognaise meat sauce and go for a meal for two that is priced at Rs 1200/- without drinks. So do walk into Qash Qai Kitchen & Bar, Connaught Circus (Outer Circle).