"Street Food" Month - Papdi Chaat by Deeba Rajpal

I promised you a treat and here is the reveal. To celebrate my blog's third anniversary, I am hosting a series of guest posts from bloggers around the world, whom I adore. This is a month long indulgence in "Street Food Around the World". I am ever grateful to these fantastic bloggers for accepting to grace my blog with their mouthwatering creations.

Let's begin the journey from the streets of Delhi with Deeba Rajpal. Now, Deeba, who has a gorgeous blog at
Passionate about Baking, needs no introduction of her work. A Delhi-ite, mom blogger, and from-scratch baker, she is one of my dearest friends and a blogger I have much respect for.

She was my first friend and mentor in the food blogging world. I will never forget her encouraging and thoughtfully supportive mails when I went through patches of self-doubt and her generosity in celebrating my successes. I am much honored to kick off this Birthday series with a full bodied yet subtle flavored chaat from her! :-))

North Indian Street Food

"Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture."

Mark Kurlansky

Talk street food and it throws up a myriad of colourful pictures in my head. It's an amazing food group, one that goes deep into culinary cultures and is fast becoming haute cusine, upmarket and constantly evolving. Yet, hit the streets and you find good old rustic appeal, presrved from the past and just the way culinary and cultural heritage meet! Walk the streets, especially the old city areas, of any city and you are instantly hit by the culture that time hangs on to.

North India, Old Delhi

Monkeys wander above while cattle languish below, spice sellers plonked under umbrellas sheltered from the sweltering sun, pan walas sit in rows with an engaged clientèle; across the street, chicken tikkas sizzle over red hot coals! The camera works overtime, how much can you capture and how much can you blog? As you see, Indian streets are 'happening', and Old Delhi holds that eternal charm.

North Indian & Street Food {Jama Masjid}

When Asha, the Fork Spoon Knife gal wrote to me wondering if I would be able to write her a street food themed post for her 3rd blogiversary, I gave her a resounding YES! It is my pleasure to write for her, a very talented food blogger who posts an exciting food blog with pictures to win you over. She lives in New York, with one foot in India as her parents reside here. Shared cultural backgrounds and nostalgia about the years gone by often. Happy 3rd Blogiversary Asha. Hope we meet on the streets of North India one day and enjoy the tantalising tastes that 'chaat' offers!

North Indian & Street Food

In North India, street food is a quintessential part of our tradition, is often deep fried delicious, and holds eternal appeal. If you literally eat it off streets, with all the heat and dust thrown in, you are bound to be awarded with the dreaded Delhi belly. There are ways of beating that, and that's where food bloggers step in!

North Indian Street Food

North Indian street food, pani puris, papadi chaat, bhel puri are first choice for Mr PAB and me. I had a friend over from Down Under. She had organised a workshop here but would do the disappearing act every so often. She later confessed to having become a 'pani puri' addict, and was constantly nipping down the street to grab a plateful. This is a lady who is a pastry chef and trained at the LBC!

North Indian Street Food Papdi Chaat

Such a tough choice of what to pick. Finally decided on something I could bake, reflective of PABs central theme, and so made the most delicious papdi / whole wheat crackers {if I may say so myself}. This was my very first attempt at baking these flat sort of crackers, traditionally deep fried in India. I baked them, which meant lower calories, less work, no deep frying. I also made them bite sized because I often find that stuffing a 1.5" cracker/papdi into the mouth is a battle. These worked a cinch. Try them and hope you'll never go back to deep fried.

North Indian Street Food Bhel Puri

I also made a very basic trail mix of sorts, a mixture that my Dad makes often for the kids. They love it. It's basically got some quick fried beaten rice {poha}, some roasted puffed rice and roasted peanuts. My Mom makes me a batch of microwave roasted peanuts from time to time, and I used those here. Once the mix is ready, all you do is add finely chopped tomatoes and onions, few spices of choice, a green chutney and tamarind chutney. Toss it together and eat immediately.

North Indian Street Food

These are the flavours of my home, North India! {I have to thank Sana, a sweet reader of my blog, who send me a huge bag of tamarind from her garden, cleaned and neatly packed}. Oh and one other thing. I served the street food in handmade serving dishes and cones made from washed and dried leaves from a tree in the park. Man Friday was obliging and climbed the tall tree to get the leaves for me. This is how India traditionally serves street food ... a manner I find ecofriendly and appealing!

Recipe: Papdi Chaat / Whole Wheat Crackers

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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp carom seeds {ajwain}

  • 1 tsp onion seeds {kalonji}

  • 2 tbsp clarified butter / ghee

  • 1/2 cup minus 2 tbsp water

  • Method:
    1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Keep 2-3 baking trays ready, ungreased. Line with paper if you like. I didn't.

    2. Place all dry ingredients and clarified butter in bowl of processor and pulse on low to mix. {Thermomix speed 4, 6 seconds}

    3. Add water {less than 1/2 cup} and knead to a firm smooth dough {Thermomix closed lid, knead setting, 2 minutes}

    4. Divide the dough into 4. Take one portion and roll as this as you can. {Keep the rest of the dough covered with a damp cloth or in a ziploc}

    5. Cut into small 1" circles with a cookie cutter and bake for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely on racks. {Watch them while baking as they tend to from from golden to burnt very quick}

    Recipe: Papdi Chaat

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    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes


    • 250ml whipped yogurt {season lightly with salt}

    • 2-3 boiled potatoes, cooled, diced small

    • Spices of choice {black rock salt, roasted cumin powder, red chili powder etc}

    • 1/2 cup tamarind chutney {recipe follows}

    • 1/4 cup fresh coriander chutney {recipe here}


    1. Dip 10-12 crackers /papdi into the a small bowl of whipped yogurt, take out immediately and place on platter.

    2. Sprinkle with boiled potatoes, spices, some more yogurt, green chutney and tamarind chutney. Top with some potato sev / aloo bhujia if you like. Serve immediately.

    Recipe: Tamarind Chutney
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes


    • 150ml tamarind pulp

    • 50gms jaggery, broken into small pieces

    • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder

    • 1/2 tsp coriander powder

    • 1/2 tsp black rock salt

    • 1/4 tsp red chili powder


    1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and simmer until the jaggery melts, and the chutney becomes thick and sauce like. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cool and store in a glass jar in the fridge.

    Recipe: Bhel Puri

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    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 10 minutes


    • 2-3 cups beaten rice, fried

    • 2 cups puffed rice, roasted & seasoned

    • 1 cup roasted peanuts

    • 1 tomato, diced fine

    • 1 onion, diced fine

    • Tamarind chutney {recipe above}

    • Fresh coriander chutney {recipe here}

    1. Toss all ingredients together, season as desired and serve immediately.

    2. Note: The dry mix, ie beaten rice, puffed rice and roated peanuts can be made ahead of time and stored for upto a week in an airtight box in a cool place.