Monday, April 12, 2010

Indian Snacks

I'm always fascinated by the myriad packaged items other cultures eat for snacks. In the UK, they eat Chilli & Chocolate and Crispy Duck & Hoisin-flavored crisps. In Japan, they snack on mixed nuts with dried fish. And Pocky. And in India, they enjoy eating namkeens (snacks) comprising fried potato sticks (among other things).

We picked up two varieties of Haldiram's namkeens on our recent trip to H Mart - Panchrattan (potato sticks with raisins, cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, and curry leaves) and Chilli Chatak Lachha (spicy potato sticks).

The Panchrattan has tiny thin potato sticks and a nice, slightly spicy seasoning. I'm no fan of the raisin, but the small golden ones in this mix add just the right bit of sweetness and a bit of chewiness. Because the potatoes are so fine, I'm thinking this would make a very interesting breading for pork chops or chicken. Or a casserole topping!

The Lachha are much thicker, like shoestring fries. The flavoring was a bit sour, a bit spicy. Ok, but not exactly yummy - more commercial-tasting. I much prefer the panchrattan, even if it is a bit more difficult to eat (messier).

What's your favorite ethnic snack food?