A recent survey was held named ‘Taste of Travel’. Beating cities like New Delhi, Mumbai and Amritsar, the cultural capital of India has won the title. Back in 2018 the study also highlighted how 49% of Indian travellers were planning on a dedicated food tourism trip to Kolkata. We all know how famous and delicious Bengali sweets are but by the end of this article, you would definitely be in a dilemma of what’s better, the spicy taste of street foods or the sweetness of Bengali sweet shops.
Pani puri is a famous snack in India, but puchka is slightly different because Bengalis prefer an overload of tamarind in the potato mixture. Small puris are fried until hollow and round and left in sun to dry and have a crisp effect. For the potato filling, there is not just one recipe as traveling from North to South Kolkata the taste changes according to people.
Hollow puris are filled with potato mixture and tamarind water. In Kolkata, kids start having this exotic dish even before they start going to school but for adults who have never tried puchka, do try it once. Puchka as it is tastes amazing but the best part is when the taste of spice cools down after a while. The taste it leaves after one or two minutes is pure bliss.
2. Ghughnir Chat
Ghughni is common in the eastern region of India. In Kolkata, it is very common and found at affordable prices. The key to perfect this dish is not to over boil the dal. It should be well-cooked and remain whole. The gravy should also be slurpy but not watery. The chat is garnished with bhujiya, coriander leaves and onion which adds to the taste.
Churmur is another twisted recipe that comes out of the family of Puchka. When you are not ready to leave the puchka stall just yet, Churmur comes as your saviour that allows you to take it home. The name Churmur is inspired by the sound of the crispness that comes out when you eat this.
It is a type of chaat with the basics; sliced boiled potatoes, boiled motor dal, green chillies, tamarind, coriander leaves and spices. The papri made from the puri of puchka is crushed and mixed with the same which gives it the crispy taste. If you love puchka, it’s hard to not fall in love with churmur.
4. Jhal Muri
This street food has originated from the Bengal region. Muri or puffed rice is the base ingredient, which is mixed with different spices, roasted peanuts, chanachur and bhujiya. Vegetables like onion, tomato and boiled potatoes are also added. It has a spicy and tangy/chatpata taste. Perfection is achieved when it is kept in mind that the Muri has to remain crispy and not turn soggy.
5. Aloo Kabli
Aloo kabli is a simpler version of churmur which does not include the crispy papri which makes it easier for people from all age groups to eat and enjoy it. Also, the preparation for this dish does not require a lot of effort. Boiled potatoes are cut into cubes and mixed with boiled chickpeas and chopped onion. Spices like salt, pepper, chilli powder, green chilli and turmeric powder are added along with lemon juice giving it the perfect tangy taste along with keeping it healthy
6. Daaler Boda
Monsoon season in kolkata is incomplete if you haven’t drenched in rain, spotted a daaler boda stall and had it in under a shade. This can be easily made at home but the ones in the streets have different crispiness to it. And the accompanying coriander/mango chutney is just the perfect combination. I’ve searched and experimented with many different recipes, which basically is boiling dal, grinding it, adding salt and some other spices along with chilis, and deep frying balls of this mixture. I’ve tried this with many different dals but never have I ever got the similar taste or texture. So to get the authentic taste, I would definitely recommend having at least this food directly from the streets.
7. Mughlai Paratha
As the name suggests, it is one of the Mughlai dishes that entered during the Mughal Empire and since the British raj has been a popular tiffin snack. Nowadays it is found in almost every stall and shop. The stuffing is made with eggs, onion and pepper. Sometimes chicken keema is also added. This stuffing is put between and wrapped with a paratha and fried in tawa. It comes with a side of aloo sabzi and chutney
8. Deemer Devil
Almost everyone eats eggs today. Most commonly people have boiled egg for breakfast. Adding just a few more ingredients and deep-frying the eggs, you will get this lip-smacking dish. When you try it you’ll find a crispy covering outside made from egg wash, flour and breadcrumbs. This is the part which turns crispy on deep frying. Inside there is a soft mixture made from potato, spices and coriander leaves which covers a half portion of hard-boiled egg. Two pieces of this hot, crispy and tasty pakora will be enough to satisfy your hunger for a while at a small budget.
9. Fish Fry
Bengalis eat almost every kind of fish there probably exists, so it seems almost impossible that they wouldn’t have them as a snack. Fish fries are found in two forms. One where the fish as a whole is deep-fried covered with spiced flour mixture, and another which is found as a cutlet. The second type can only be made with boneless fish whereas the type of fish doesn’t matter in the former one. Once you’ve tried them both it is hard to choose which one tastes better.
10. Kathi Roll
This street food has originated from the streets of Kolkata. Originally this dish is made by wrapping skewer-roasted kebab in paratha bread with different types of sauces and onion. However, this isn’t the only tasty roll. Recipes have evolved and now rolls are found in many different types including egg roll, chicken roll and mutton roll.
In the streets of Kolkata you will find food more easily than you find a shopping companion and there are surely many other options to choose from. But the ones mentioned above would definitely fit into your budget and satisfy both your hunger and your cravings.