Famous Jigarthanda, Jigarthanda, Madurai famous jigarthanda

Indian Street Food | Famous Jigathanda

Indian street food | Famous Jigathanda

If you are a non-native, traveling through the busy streets of India can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it might be irritating even if you’re an Indian! Cars honk loudly, rickshaws zigzag around, street dogs running in between the traffic, and the number of people walking on the roads! Feeling dizzy?  But don’t let that scare you off. There’s something special about it all. The smells! Oh, the smells! The aromatic smells of Indian street food. They will pull you in like a magnet. You can’t help but follow your nose. 

And that’s the most impressive part of Indian streets, Street food! The smell that triggers you to try the food, will give a new experience for your taste buds. Vendors cooking up tasty treats right on the roadside is definitely a feast for the senses! (Not when they don’t use gloves though) Next time you find yourself in the hustle and bustle of Indian streets, don’t be afraid to try the street foods that call you louder through their smell. It’ll an experience that you won’t be able to forget anytime soon!

Vibrant colours, audacious flavors, and experiences etched in memory – a single-line explanation for the street food experience. It’s a cultural delight, experimented with fusion, served on a disposable plate, enjoyed with a plastic spoon, and guaranteed to leave you craving for more.

And if I ever have to write a book about the top 5 Indian Street foods that’s worth trying and falling in love with, my first pick would be the undisputed king of street snacks – the Pani Puri. Those cute little, crispy balls, looks just like a tiny planet made of fried dough. Gently (or forcibly, that depends on your craze for pani puri) making a hole in its surface feels just like opening a portal to a universe of bursting flavors. An, boom! Inside this delicate sphere lies a world of mashed potato, chickpeas, and tangy tamarind chutney, along with the cool, minty water, called pani (water), which completes the experience. You pop the entire thing in your mouth, and a flavour bomb explodes – a shatter of sweet, sour, spice, and a hint of mint. It’s a textural feast too, the crispness giving way to a soft, flavourful explosion. One bite, and before you realise what’s happening with your tastebuds, you’re hooked

Now, for something a little more substantial, the Pav Bhaji – a vibrant orange curry with a soul as warm as Indian hospitality. The mixture of vegetables – potatoes, onions, peas, and cauliflower, all simmered in a rich tomato base and seasoned with a secret blend of spices. This flavourful treat is served alongside soft, buttered bread rolls called pav.Trust me, the combination is bussing! Dipping the pav into the aromatic bhaji is like dipping your toes into a warm, flavourful bath (minus the water, of course!). It’ll make you wonder about the ingenuity of street food vendors who can create magic with such simple ingredients.

Speaking of ingenuity, have you tried the Phel Puri? It’s like a deep-fried ball of fluff, not unlike a doughnut, but savory and generously stuffed with a spicy potato filling. Drizzled with a tangy chutney and garnished with chopped onions and coriander leaves, it’s an inexplicable explosion of textures and tastes. It might not be the most graceful food to eat (think of it as a culinary breakdance), but the reward is worth the mess.

Now, let’s travel south to the culturally wholesome city of Madurai, known for its scorching temperatures and street food that’s as cool as a block of ice on a hot surface – the Madurai Famous Jigarthanda. It is a rich and creamy drink made with milk, condensed milk, and a secret blend of nuts and seeds, along with basundi which adds an interesting jelly-like texture to it. It’s served in a glass, the coolness radiating outwards to tempt you on a sweltering day. The first sip is a revelation – a sweet, creamy delight with a hint of nuttiness and a subtle floral aroma. And with its health benefits for beating the heat, it feels exactly like a perfect break from the scorching Indian heat.

Finally, we come to the Dahi Puri, a close cousin of the Pani Puri. This time, the tiny sphere is filled not with potato and chickpeas, but with a creamy, tangy yoghurt mixture. Dumped in chutneys and sprinkled with sev (crispy fried noodles), feels like an interplay of sweet, sour, and spicyness. It’s something so simple that was made into a culinary masterpiece with a touch of creativity and innovative recipes.

Indian street food gives a different vibe to your life, the simple joy of sharing a plate with friends, the thrill of trying something new, and the joy of discovering hidden street  food gems within dusty, busy cities. Also, these are just a mere glimpse into the vast and vibrant world of Indian street food. But what makes Indian street food truly special is the way it celebrates local ingredients and bold flavors. Every bite you take tells a story of culinary ingenuity and creativity. So, when you’re in India, don’t stick to the usual tourist spots (they’re amazing though) —venture out onto the streets and explore the world of street food. Who knows, you might just find your new favorite snack!

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