Since childhood, we have all been fond of the tangy waters of the gol gappas, the sweet and sour chutney of the chaat and the vegetable pakodas with the mint chutney. While travelling through the bylanes of Delhi, one can sense the aroma of the aloo chat or get a whiff of the bhalla papri. The street food has become our staple and it is difficult to imagine our life without one.
The Delhi Street Food Festival is one such platform where we can binge on a variety of street food dishes from across the country. Every state has its special street food and the varied flavours are a haven for a food explorer like me.
I shall begin writing about my recent experience at the Street Food Festival here. This was my second visit to this festival after a gap of two years. The entry ticket is very nominal and we need to buy coupons in packs of 10 for taking the food from different counters. My mantra for such food festivals is to try food which I have not tried before. I prefer exploring different cuisines from different states at such events. Here are the dishes I savoured at this festival:
Litti Chhola: An average dish according to me because the chhola tasted raw. The gravy was thick though and was quite spicy. The litti was cooked well but it was not enough to save the dish.
Keema Parantha : A true mutton lover will definitely love this. Who thought that keema could be cooked and used as a filling for parantha? The paranthas were sizzling hot and the keema made them hotter. The keema was well cooked with the prominent flavours of black cardamom and green chilli. The aroma of black cardamom transformed this dish into a masterpiece. The paranthas were soft and thick and were delectable to eat. It can be found at Lucknow.
Litti Chicken : This time, everyone was actually dying to try this dish. It is considered a delicacy in Bihar and when you taste it, you will know why. First of all, the chicken is marinated with spices and fried for a very small amount of time. Then a thich gravy is prepared with onions, garlic, green chillis and all our North Indian spices. The gravy is sautéed for around fifteen minutes till it is cooked and then the litti pieces are added and sautéed. After some time, the previously cooked chicken pieces are added to this mixture and cooked again. I actually watched the whole dish been made for half an hour. And this dish was worth the wait. I never ever had a better version of chicken before. The litti went well with the chicken. A must try for all the chicken lovers.
Sesame chicken : A common street food in Assam, this is one dish which is out of the world for people like me who have been born and brought on North Indian food. North Eastern food has been slowly dissolving into our food adventures (read momos) for the past ten years. But this dish is better than we all have tasted in the name of North-east. I mean, I do love momos and thukpa but sesame chicken is just too scrumptious. The sesame and chicken complement each other in this dish. The chicken is served with pulao which has peas and French beans added to it. The chicken is succulent and the gravy over it was spicy with sesame seeds adorning it.
Kakori Kebab : I have always been a big fan of kakori kebabs. This dish that I tried at the food festival was way different than what we usually have at the restaurants. The colour of the kebabs was yellow instead of the brown and no, they were not raw. They were equally good and melt in mouth. They were served with mint chutney.
Kahwa : I wonder why this particular beverage has not been included in our mainstream restaurant menus. I am not a big fan of teas and I usually go for the healthier green tea but Kahwa is my go to beverage from now on. This drink is a fusion of flavours and when I say fusion, it is an understatement. Green cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, honey, almonds and tea leaves. The tea is so refreshing that it can put your humble chai to shame. The honey and saffron in this concoction just play with your senses. And the best part is, it is light for the stomach and good for health. Kashmiri food has always been on my hit list and the kahwa made it worth all the effort.
There were many other dishes that I wanted to try at this festival but either the queue was too long or the ingredients were finished by the time we reached at the stall. Not too bad, there is always a next time.