We recently brought you a list of New Delhi street food, chock full of off-the-beaten-path delicacies in the bustling Indian city. As it turns out, there’s no shortage of interesting foods in this international metropolis, so here’s a second helping of Delhi street foods worth the sweaty hunt:

Paranthe Wali Gulli (puh-raan-thay waah-lee gull-ee)

Delicious street foods in New Delhi
From left to right: a fresh mound of simple bread dough (flour+water+butter); a dish of cottage cheese and peas filling; the vendor’s rolling pin and ready, hardworking hands. via bilkul delhi

Translation: The Fried Bread Alley. One of Delhi’s most chock-a-block neighborhoods is home to a tiny, poorly lit alley where you’ll have to fight the masses to get your hands on some of most delicious, hand-kneaded fried bread. Four shops jostle for room in this sliver of space, but each proffers fresh Indian paranthas. Mounds of glistening dough sit aside the various fillings – cottage cheese and peas; potatoes and onions; spicy minced radish; and, of course, you can always have it plain. The bread sizzles on a wide black skillet, and as soon as the skin develops beautiful, crisp black spots, it’s slid onto a plate with butter and plain yogurt. (Dipping hot shards of the bread in rapidly melting butter provides the savory kick, and dipping your next bite into the yogurt cools the palate, readying it for the next butter-dripping bite.) Almost no one waits for the fire-hot bread to cool down – neither should you.

Moong dal halwa (moon-guh da-al hull-wah)

Delicious street foods in Delhi
A variation on a traditional semolina pudding, moong dal halwa combines savory and sweet flavors with dried fruits and nuts. via bilkul delhi

Just before you enter Fried Bread Alley, a ramshackle but heavily crowded stand doles out a sort of Indian semolina pudding, called halwa (pronounced hull-wah). Normally this is made it out of semolina itself, or grated carrots (a winter favorite, especially when the bright orange dessert is studded with buttery cashews, toasted and slivered almonds, and plump raisins). But this variety, a smash hit among Delhi natives and curious tourists, is made out of lentils, specifically moong (moon-guh) beans. This slightly salty edge to the beans adds a pleasant counterpoint to the sugar and milk, which are stirred with the boiled lentils till they create a creamy pudding. A dollar is equal to about 50 rupees, and a generous serving of halwa costs 40 rupees. You do the math. Or better yet, just eat up.

Chaat with sev (chaah-t with say-v)

Delicious street food in Delhi
A bowl of chaat: decked with plain yogurt, red chili powder, fried dough and tamarind chutney, the dish is a universal favorite in India. via Wikipedia

Delhi is home to immigrants from all over India, and chaat – a street snack made out of potatoes, plain yogurt, chopped onions, coriander, a sweet-salty spice blend. Sev (which are tiny, dried yellow noodles) tops the whole thing and gives the impossibly delectable snack an enjoyable crunch. Chaat is immensely popular all over India, and ingredients vary by region – chaat in Bombay tends to be influenced by the local Gujarati population and might have more coriander, and a kick of dried mango powder. In Delhi, chaat comes glazed with tamarind chutney, which binds the dish together and before you know it, you’re having seconds. And thirds. And fourths.

Born in New Delhi, India; after nine years, I pit-stopped in Fort Worth, Texas (read: culture shock) for another nine years, and finally escaped the South to attend NYU and major in cinema studies. Friends include tea, sweets, all food (except beef/pork/almonds), sleep, books, the newspaper, television and Netflix (and a few real people). Enemies include chemistry/physics/science/math/numbers of any kind, lack of sweets, lack of sleep.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Kathryn – I know what you mean, semolina pudding really is delicious! It’s a lovely and subtle ending to a meal. And yes, Indian food, overall, is pretty damn great. I hope I can write more about it in the future – let me know if you have anything you’d like to hear more about.

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