Banarasi Street food showcases some of the popular dishes offered in the streets of Banaras. This holy city is situated on the banks of the river Ganges in the state of Uttar Pradesh and its food is defined by its culture and tradition.
Street food is an essential part of Indian culture and cuisine. There are a number of street foods from across the country that is famous, but nothing can beat the hot and crispy kachoris and samosas sold across the city of Benaras or Varanasi. The vegetarian delicacies are majorly prepared in desi ghee and mustard oil, be it spicy, sweet, or sour.
Here are some popular street snacks from Varanasi or Benaras that you must try if you ever visit the city. Or rather I have made a note for my future visit!
Dishes that were planned:
Apart from the dishes I made, I also had plans to make Laiya Bhel, Chooda Matar, Tamatar chop, Khas Ka Sherbet, Thandai. I couldn't make Chooda Matar as fresh peas were not available. I always freeze about 5 to 6 kilos every year during the season. It caters to my needs throughout the year and I have never bought store-bought frozen ones.
However, last year somehow I missed out on freezing as much as needed and I was exhausted before I could make this dish. Whichever site I read about Banarasi Street food, they talked about Tamatar ki Chaat and Chooda Matar. During this lockdown, we couldn't access the frozen section too. So I almost thought I would skip this city and do something else.
This Banarasi Street food was the last one I made for this series. Since I sorted on the city names, it ended up being the first one to be posted. However, I had spent sleepless nights checking out which ones to make as I had elaborate dishes planned for each city. For the menu, I had picked up at least five or six savory dishes along with one sweet/dessert.
I finally ended up making Laaiya Chana, Dahi chutney wale gol gappe, Katori Chat, Chena Dahi Vada, and Tamatar Chaat.
From my extensive reading on the street food, I had noted some of the popular street food in Banaras:
Pani Puri served in Banaras differs from other places in using the spiced boiled white or yellow peas unlike moong dal or potato stuffing.
So I made two stuffing for the pooris as my kids love pani puri and I thought they may not like the white peas masala. However, they loved both the combination and had total fun for two days consecutively having the pani puri for dinner.
People call Pani Puri by different names across India In North India they call it Gol Gappe, in West India, they are Pani Puri, in East India – Puchke, in central parts – Pani Batashe, Batashe, and Gupchup.
Some technical differences in each of these would be that Gol Gappe always has cold water in it, while Pani Puri has hot, Puchkas have no filling, just water. The common thing is the ultimate tangy taste that it leaves on your tongue.
Choora Bhuja or chooda matar: This is a popular winter evening snack sold across the city. They make it with poha and fresh peas.
Daal Pithi: Wheat dumplings in daal, simmered together to make a delicious dish.
Kala chana ghughuni: To make this chat, we have to soak chana overnight. We boil it to tender. Cook with crushed onion, ginger, and garlic, and tomato paste along with spices to make it a complete lip-smacking dish.
Dal bhari Poori: Across the state, people enjoy these golden deep-fried dal stuffed pooris, especially during festival season. They make with/without salt, often enjoy with kheer or achaar.
Kachori Sabzi: These come in two types of kachoris - Badi and Choti kachori. They stuff Badi kachori with dal ki pithi, a lentil paste, while they use spicy potato mixture to stuff Choti kachori. Finally, they serve both of these kachoris with garam masala wali aloo ki sabzi and desi ghee jalebi.
Many of the street food is popular across the state!
Chena Dahi Vada: We shape fresh Chhena into dumplings, top with sweet yogurt and a hint of masala made of jeera and black salt. This is very similar to Dahi Vada.
Malaiyyo: This is a popular winter street dessert that has a Persian cuisine influence. Milk froth flavoured with saffron and cardamom, finally, we garnish with pistachios and almonds. Served in purva or kulhads, this creamy froth will literally melt in your mouth.
Thandai And Lassi: The city overflows with milk and so you will find these across the city in every nook and corner!
Dahi Chutney Wale Gol Gappe: These are popular pani puri versions, where we serve both with meetha dahi and a savory version filled with spiced white peas.
Laaiya Chana or Bhel: This is similar to Jhalmuri and Bhelpuri but it has soaked boiled chana instead of puffed rice. If you are making Bhel, then you add bhel to the above chana.
Baati Chokha: is another tasty street snack in Varanasi too. Baati is a wheat ball with sattu stuffing and Chokha is a mash of brinjal and potatoes mixed with various spices.
Tamatar Chaat: Benaras has its own version of the famous chaat made with tomatoes
For today, I am sharing the Tamatar ki Chaat
Banarasi Street Food
Khajur Imli Chutney