Indian food has a unique blend of aromas and flavors, igniting your tastebuds with a combination of unique spices that are particular to different geographical regions within India. Indian appetizers make a great snack with tea or before dinner, but any of these unique foods taste better when you enjoy them while in India. This guide will point you in the right direction, so you can try the best appetizers that India has to offer. So, get ready to take notes as we take you on a delicious tour of the best Indian appetizers!
Paneer Pakora is a simple snack that many people enjoy around India and the world. It’s moist and soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. It is deep-fried and made with simple and basic ingredients easily available in many Indian households. Cubes of Indian cheese (paneer) are tossed in a simple masala mix, then dipped in the batter and deep-fried.
Pair these delectables with mint chutney dipping sauce or ketchup. Enjoy these flavorful snacks in India during the wedding season. Then, pull up a chair and start sipping on some Indian Chai Tea and munching on these crispy pakoras. Now that’s life!
Insider Tip: A popular Delhi snack is a deep-fried sandwich, known as a bread pakora.
Bhel Puri is an Indian appetizer found in Mumbai. This delicious snack is made of various lentils fried with papri (made of flour), various chutneys, and small, boiled pieces of potatoes. Mix these ingredients with a little lemon juice, and voila! You will have one of the most delicious Indian appetizers that Mumbai has to offer.
Spicy snacks with rice, corn, and bhujiya sold from street carts are called “chaats” in India, and this chaat is loved in the western part of the country. Made from puffed rice and sev (crunchy noodles), bhelpuri is a healthy, low-fat appetizer. The flavorful rice noodles are mixed with sauteed onions, potatoes, and chutneys. If you need a quick bhelpuri fix, simply make the chutneys ahead of time and store the rice puffs and sev in air-tight containers. Assemble right before eating and enjoy with a tall glass of salted lassi.
Dahi vada has roots in Northern India and is sometimes served as a whole meal. These fried balls have a base of cooked lentils that get topped with a thick and creamy yogurt sauce. Similar to falafel with tzatziki, this is a healthy plate that tastes as good as it looks.
The yogurt sauce is called Dahi and is truly good enough to eat on its own. Once the fried lentil balls are covered in a copious amount of dahi, they’re sprinkled with a spice, such as cumin, coriander, or chili, and can even be topped with chutney. This spicy dish is also a popular street food in India and is one worth seeking out when you want the best Indian appetizers.
Khaman dhokla, or khaman as it’s called, is a savory steamed cake made from gram flour (besan). It is a famous and savory Indian appetizer in Gujarat. It is soft and fluffy, mildly tangy, yet sweet, and a great snack any time of the day. Khaman makes a healthy, light vegan snack that won’t stuff you right before dinner! It can be made gluten-free and goes well with some mint, coriander, or even raw papaya chutneys. These steamed cakes are famous Indian appetizers and can be served at informal parties, small gatherings, or even weddings.
Chole Bhatura, a trendy Indian appetizer in Chandigarh, is a delicious combination of spicy masala chickpeas and fried bread, called bhatura. Chole Bhatura is one of the most popular dishes in India. Its mouth-watering, spicy, and exotic flavor is a perfect dish to go with breakfast, brunch, or evening dinner. Pair this mouth-watering duo with a chilled glass of sweet lassi, and you’re done for the day. Some also eat this dish with spicy yogurt on the side.
This appetizer is popular at Indian weddings, Roka ceremonies, and parties, appealing to many tastes. This is the most popular of all Indian appetizers in the state of Punjab, and after one bite, you will understand why!
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Papadums are Indian appetizers made with either lentil, gram, rice, or chickpea flour that is baked into a thin, crispy cracker bread. It can be enjoyed on its own, with pickles, or served with other dishes such as curries, when it’s used as a utensil for scooping up the dish.
Papadum can also be topped with chutneys or raita sauce and accompanied by hot tea. With its popularity, there are some variations on the dish, such as rice papadum, which is boiled in hot water and then dried in the sun. There is also masala papadum made with spices such as black pepper, chili, and cumin. Jackfruit papadum from Karnataka is made with jackfruit and chickpea flour. Papadums are also quite a popular dish globally, where it is served as an appetizer, usually paired with mango chutney and lime pickle dips.
Aloo Tikkis are crispy, crusty, and delicious Indian appetizers loved by all! In the Hindi language, “aloo” means potatoes, and “tikki” is patties. So these are potato patties made the Indian way – spiced, herby, and delightful. Aloo Tikki can be made with green peas mixed with potatoes. Stuffing Aloo Tikki with a spiced mixture of green peas or chana dal (split chickpeas) or Indian cheese (paneer) makes the Aloo Tikki taste only better.
The Aloo Tikki is made in the street carts of North India. Tikkis are stuffed with spicy peas, paneer, chana dal, and then draped with chana masala or chole (spicy chickpea curry). To give it an extra kick, add onions, and hot green chutney (cilantro and green chilies).
In Western India, Aloo Tikki is known as aloo patties. These are usually made with plain potatoes and no stuffing. The method of making them is similar, with some variations in the spices added. Another popular street food in Mumbai is crisp aloo patties served with Ragda. These pan-fried or shallow-fried potato patties are topped with dried peas curry and various chaat chutneys (white pea curry).
Insider Tip: You can always skip the stuffing of the Tikkis and make plain potato patties. Aloo Tikki made without stuffing also tastes very delicious.
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Dosas are crispy pancakes that are a popular food in South India and loved in the rest of India. Udipi restaurants serve dosas along with other South Indian dishes in almost every suburb.
These savory pancakes are from soaked rice, fenugreek seeds, and urad daal, (black lentils). The ingredients are blended in a food processor and combined with water, the mixture makes a thin batter that ferments until flavorful. The fermentation adds a slightly sour flavor to dosas. The batter is spread like a pancake and placed on a hot pan. It’s cooked until it’s crispy and brown. Many people eat dosas with their hands and they can be dipped in curries and chutneys. They can also be stuffed with a spicy filling of mashed potato and peas. These mouthwatering Indian appetizers are served at many South Indian weddings.
Make mini samosas and serve with mint chutney and a yogurt dipping sauce, like minty yogurt dip. These popular Indian appetizers consist of crispy pastries filled with meat or mixed vegetables. Flour, ghee, and salt are mixed to form the dough. Roll it, cut into circles, add delicious potato filling, and deep fry until crispy golden brown.
Samosas are found anywhere in the world, but they originate from North India. These delicious treats are perfect when you need something savory and filling, but aren’t hungry enough for a whole meal. Samosas taste even better with traditional Indian Chai, as do many Indian appetizers!
Interesting Fact: There are so many types of samosas, such as mixed vegetables, beef, chicken, and potato.
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Aloo parathas are Indian appetizers that are flatbreads made with whole wheat flour, mashed potatoes, spices, and herbs. These flavorful and delicious stuffed parathas are a staple in many North Indian households. Parathas can be filled with paneer, potatoes, lentils, and onions. You can eat these delicious treats for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Many people in India enjoy parathas with a hot cup of Indian Chai.
Delicious Fact: Aloo paratha can be served with a huge scoop of salted butter and also with spicy yogurt known as “raita.”
Now that you have worked up an appetite, make sure you take note of all these delicious appetizers and try out your favorites while in India. You will be amazed at the unique combination of aromas and flavors in these Indian appetizers that will leave you eager to try more! Whether eaten as a snack with tea or before dinner, Indian appetizers will not disappoint your tastebuds!
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