Archive for the ‘Street Food’ Category
This is one of the great street foods of Delhi – daal pakodas (fried lentil balls) served with grated radish and carrot and topped with chutneys. Like a small plate of chaat, this is a multi-dimensional exploration of tastes and textures. The pakodas are crunchy and the lentil is tangy. The pakodas are neither too dense nor too fluffy and provides a nice bite. Grated radish and carrot adds a refreshing crispness. Horseradish overtones and bitterness of radish and sweetness of carrots adds to the dimensions of taste. Coriander/mint chutneys are savory, tart, and gingery. Tamarind chutneys bring the taste of molasses, and dates.
After eating Kathi rolls at Kasa, I was inspired to make this quintessential Calcutta street food at home. When you take on such a formidable challenge, you know you are not going to win. There is nothing I can do in my California kitchen that will replicate the experience of eating outdoors at one of Calcutta’s busiest streets. Neither can I hope to replicate the rich interplay between textures and flavors that the street vendors have mastered. When my father’s generation talks about eating out during their college days, they often reminisce about these mouthwatering rolls!
So what can I hope to achieve? I can definitely beat Kasa. I can make mine with healthy, fresh, organic ingredients, mindful of the calories and the nutritional balance. I can bring my experience with modern techniques to traditional Indian cuisine to create something healthy while preserving the authenticity of tastes and flavors.
There are several key aspects to a perfect roll – the paratha, the kabab and the chutney. These ingredients need to come together in a timely manner. The container that wraps the kababs, paratha, should be chewy and flaky. The filling itself, kabab, should be charred and juicy. The condiment, chutney, should create a taste explosion in your mouth.
Everyone knows a taco truck in California – the truck that come rolling around with sounds of simple jingles and sells fresh Mexican staples with their mouthwatering salsas. Fresh, yummy and cheap is what a good taco truck fare is.
My question is this – what not an Indian version of the same serving chaat and tea?
In the afternoon, when my vampire’s nest (I call my windowless, sunless, fluorescent tube lit, office cubicle that) is at its dullest, I often find myself craving for some samosa and chai. On a winter afternoon, when the incessant rain is doing its worst damage to your mood, a plateful of samosa is the only escape. Sex would be better but samosa is safer. Surely.