Indian cuisine, in all its varied forms, is extremely popular all over the world. But did you know that there are some local delicacies that are too unusual for words?
All that’s good and holy, is right here in India. Beautiful scenery, several different languages, warm people and great climate aside, it is a land of many surprises and heart-warming events. As a people, we celebrate festivals and happy occasions with gusto, cry with a passion when we lose an important cricket match, and we eat with abandon.
On the subject of food, it goes without saying that Indian food is simply awesome. Its street food, especially, is so varied and tantalising in terms of texture and taste. But we’re not referring to the usual gol gappas and sandwiches that you find on street stalls – here’s presenting, in no particular order, some of the most unusual street food of India:
* Baby shark curry: As the name suggests, this curry is made out of baby sharks. It is a Goan delicacy employing several locally ground spices and condiments. The curry is a mildly spiced preparation that is sold on street corners near beaches like Arambol and Calangute during peak tourist season. Have it with roti or steamed rice.
* Bhang pakora: This preparation is a spicy dish of pakoras in which cannabis leaves are pounded and used. They are served with a tangy chutney or sauce, and served in the weeks and days leading up to Shivratri or Holi. This street food of India is prepared in Uttar Pradesh.
* Onion halwa: Onions in a dessert? It sounds surprising to add this ingredient to a sweet dish, but onion halwa is a delicacy in certain North Eastern States. It is made by frying onions in butter, and then boiling the caramelised onions in sweetened milk over a low flame. Cashews and other dry fruit are added to this unusual dish.
* Daulati chaat: This unusual street food of India is a winter staple in Delhi, Gujarat and some Northern States. It is made by boiling milk and whisking it periodically to create a delicate foam at the top. At the right consistency, the foam is then picked out of the cooking utensil and put in a glass, and topped with cashews, chopped pistachios and raisins.
* Haldi halwa: This dish primarily comprises turmeric as the base ingredient. It is lightly flavoured and garnished with chopped nuts and nutmeg powder. Turmeric’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties make this snack a wholesome one during the monsoon and winter months.
* Ole chutney: If you generally dislike ‘Suran’ or ole, then you should steer clear of this one. But do taste it at least once – it is tangy and full of benefits for gut health and for increasing digestive enzymes in the body. You can have it as a dip or a side dish with chapati and vegetables.
On your next holiday, book yourself into an experiential resort and ask for a special food tour that can take you on a culinary journey across the region’s streets.