How to Snack Like an Indian

Indian snacks are amazing. Whether you’re savoring a crispy samosa or moist gulab jamun, it’s hard to go wrong with Indian snacks.  Snacking is a huge part of Indian culture, but it can be confusing where to start. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to snack like an Indian.

Be forewarned, Indian snacks are often deep fried, contain ghee, heavy on the carbs, yet delectable when portion control is exercised.

1. Samosa & Chai Combo (the usual)

Everyone knows about the delicious Indian Samosa, but have you tried it with Chai? Chai is India’s popular version of tea. The samosa, a potato filled pastry, soothes your appetite, while the chai, tea with milk, keeps you satiated. The Samosa Chai combo is perfect for when you’re on the go, as an afternoon snack, or when you want an excuse to eat a samosa. If someone offers you a samosa, say yes.

2. Pani Puri aka Gol Gappa (the gotta try it)

Literally translated to “Water Bread”, Pani Puri is a favorite of all South Asians and often considered a labor of love. You take a Puri into your hand and make a surgical style hole then fill it with tamarind water, onions, potatoes and even chickpeas. Pro tip: We recommend trying Pani Puri at an Indian snackshop like Patel Cafe where it is served with the toppings already inside.

3. Jalebi (the my day is complete)

The term South Asia commonly refers to the territories of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka – a vast and diverse community who differ on many issues yet agree on one… Jalebis are delicious. Jalebi is a fried dish made with chickpea flour and dipped in sugar syrup. They are circular and often have a bright orange color. The crystallized sugar coating and chewy texture means you should make sure there is a napkin handy (or two). It’s always a good day when you’ve had Jalebi.


4. Gulab Jamun (JAMMIN)

Similar to a donut except that… you need a spoon and the inside tastes like cake. Gulab Jamun is shaped into a ball and soaked in rose flavored sugar syrup. Unwritten rules state that you must eat Gulab Jamun in pairs. Pro tip: Use a bowl, only a sucker uses a plate.

5. Kulfi (Gelato’s half-Indian sister)

Kulfi is a denser, creamier, and more popsicle-like version of ice cream. Like ice cream, milk, cream, and sugar serve as its base. Kulfi takes a longer time to melt than traditional ice-cream due to its density, thus if you’ve yet to master the art of the ice-cream lick, don’t give up! Try a kulfi. The most popular flavors of Kulfi are Malai (Vanilla-ish), Mango (Indian-style mango), and Pistachio (personal favorite).

6. Barfi (includes edible silver)

Have you ever tasted something and immediately thought, “This could use a silver coating”? Then you have to try Barfi. Barfi is created by thickening milk with sugar and other spices then spread out in a shallow dish and cut into cubes, triangles or diamond shapes to serve. Adding edible silver leaf (Vark) is a common practice at important events, weddings, and holidays. Barfis come in many shapes and sizes. Pro tip: If you don’t like the first Barfi, try another shape or size until you find the one for you.

7. Nimko aka Bombay Mix (aka hot mix, aka chevda, aka Gujarati mix, aka Chanachur).

A spicy & salty mix of fried lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, flour noodles, vegetable oil, flaked rice, fried onions, and curry leaves is a staple South Asian dry snack. A burst of flavor hits you upon first bite. In the time it takes your taste buds to figure out what’s exactly going on, you’ve already grabbed a handful more. They range from spicy to so spicy that you may feel your blood thinning. Pro tip: mix with regular cashews, almonds, and other nuts to tone down the heat.

Is there something we missed? Let us know in the comments!


About the author:

Hasban Shaikh is a South Asian American who is continually fascinated with his culture, roots, & traditions. He enjoys traveling, basketball, and creating media. You can listen to him on the Mind High Podcast.

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