22 Vegetarian Indian Street Foods That Will Make You Salivate Unattractively

Thanks, delicious Quora thread. Now I’m craving something that’s 1,000 miles away.

1. Jalebis (Varanasi)

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Gloriously sticky orange coils of deep-fried wheat flour soaked in sugar syrup. You can also find them across south Asia, the Middle East and east Africa.

2. Imartis (Varanasi)

Imartis are a bigger, stickier, and orangier version of the humble jalebi.

3. Kachori sabzi (Varanasi)

This traditional brunch snack is made by filling small dough balls with a spicy potato mash, but is delicious at any time of day.

4. Malaiyo (Varanasi)

A winter dessert peculiar to Vanarasi. Made with cardamom and pistachio, it tastes buttery but feels foamy on the tongue, and it’s served in little clay pots which you smash on the ground when your meal is over.

5. Chura matar (Varanasi)

An aromatic winter breakfast dish of beaten rice flakes with green peas and spices.

6. Vada pav (Mumbai)

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Spicy potato fritters in a bun, sold outside railway stations across Mumbai (and elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent).

7. Bhel puri (Mumbai)

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A savoury snack made from puffed rice and salad with a sharp tamarind sauce.

8. Pani puri (Mumbai)

Deep-fried hollow balls of puffed bread filled with tamarind water, chickpeas and spiced mashed potato. Pani puri is eaten all over south Asia.

9. Pav bhaji (Mumbai)

A bun served with a side of vegetables.

10. Idli vadas (Bangalore)

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Idlis are steamed rice cakes (the one in the photograph is a “kottle idli”, which was steamed in a banana or jackfruit leaf), and vadas are spicy savoury doughnuts, eaten across south India as a breakfast food.

11. Benne dosas (Bangalore)

Dosas are savoury, south Indian pancakes made from rice batter and black lentils. “Benne dosa” translates as “butter pancake” – these are made with extra butter and served with different toppings of your choice.

12. Vellayappam (Kerala)

A light, lacy pancake made with rice and coconut. It’s traditionally eaten for breakfast as an accompaniment to a curry.

13. Capsicum bhaji (Bangalore)

Spicy pepper fried with chopped onions and coated in a crisp batter.

14. Aloo tikki (Delhi)

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Spicy potato croquettes served with tamarind sauce, chopped green chillies, and green peas or chickpeas.

15. Paratha (Delhi)

Wholewheat unleavened bread, pan-fried with butter (ghee) and stuffed with vegetables like boiled potatoes, radishes, cauliflower, or Indian cheese (paneer). Serve spread with butter as an accompaniment to curry, or with a side of chutney, yoghurt, or pickles.

16. Falooda kulfi (Delhi)

Kulfi is a slowly prepared Indian ice cream made with evaporated and sweetened milk. This kulfi is flavoured with rose, basil, jelly, and tapioca pearls.

17. Momos (Jammu)

These boiled dumplings originated in Tibet and Nepal but are served all across India. Traditionally filled with yak meat, you can now buy vegetable versions (and those filled with beef and lamb) on street corners with a dip or, in winter, a hot clear soup for dunking.

18. Grilled sandwiches (Mumbai)

Not just any grilled sandwich, this is one filled with spiced mashed-potato, coriander leaves, masala, and green chutney. Available on all self-respecting street corners.

19. Idli chilli fry (Pune)

A simple stir-fry combining chopped leftover idlis (steamed rice cakes) with vegetables, chilli, and coriander.

20. Litti chokha (Bihar)

Coal-baked balls of wheat flour and ghee (clarified butter), served with a spicy aubergine, onion, and tomato mash.

21. Poha (Indore)

Soft and fluffy flattened rice that’s traditionally served for breakfast, often with cut-up jalebis.

22. Poori bhaji (northern India)

Delicious deep-fried puff bread served with spicy curried potatoes.


“Varanasi” originally misspelled.

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