If you do one thing in Sandringham this year, go out for chaat.
Going for chaat is like going for coffee or a beer with someone, i.e. more informal than a proper dinner. Chaat is often street food in India; they are snacks/dishes with a range of textures and flavours: tangy, spicy, sour, savoury and crunchy. There are hundreds of different ones and each region has its own favourites.
Common components are: fried chickpea flour strands or popped rice, a masala or dal, coriander and tamarind chutneys, yogurt, and chopped tomatoes, onions and coriander.
Where to eat chaat in Sandringham
- Mumbai Chaat (Kitchener St, opposite Lord Kitchener pub)
- Saatveek (blue-painted eatery on corner of Calgary St and Sandringham Rd)
These are canteen-style restaurants in Sandringham which specialise in chaat. Order a few dishes to share and let the owners/staff suggest a few things. The food in both places is from Maharastra (the region that Mumbai is in).Both these restaurants offer most of the chaat listed below.
- Satya (Sandringham Road) for slightly more formal dining, and generally really good south Indian food
- Satya Chai Lounge Behind Satya, this bar offers great street food prepared at a little stove adjacent to the bar.
- Venky’s (Sandringham Road)
What to try
The puffed-up puri ones
Puri (sometimes spelt poori) is deep-fried wheat, rice or lentil flour which puffs up and is used in several snacks.
Dahi puri – puffed wheat or lentil shells/crackers are stuffed or topped with chickpea and potato and then with with yogurt, coriander, chutneys. This is a must-try
Sev puri – similar to dahi puri but topped with fine golden strands of fried chickpea dough called sev
Pani puri – crisp hollow shells about the size of a gold ball; fill them yourself with potatoes and mung beans and a tangy purée of mint, chilies, spices and water.
Bhel puri – puffed rice, mint and diced potatoes/tomatoes
The vada with the dough
Vada is deep-fried dough, ie not puffy like puri; on its own it could be made of lentil, wheat or chickpea flour like a savoury doughnut; it can also be made of potato or other vegetables.
Medu vada – savoury doughnuts can often be found as cabinet/counter food in some of the shops in Sandringham village.
Vada are served with coconut chutney and sambar at Venky’s
Dahi vada –Fried dough immersed in yogurt and topped with tamarind chutney.
Batata vada (also known as aloo tikki) – crisp cakes or balls of spicy mashed potatoes with a chickpea flour coating. These are not doused in yogurt like a lot of the above. Batata is potato in Portugese, and aloo is potato in Hindi.
The ones on a roll
Pav or pao means bread roll
Vada pav – the potato and vege patty above (batata vada) served in a roll
Pav bhaji – a mashed vegetable potato and eggplant masala served with hot buttered rolls that dribbles down your arm (this is a personal favourite)
Missal pao – mung bean curry served with a roll
Samosa chaat – Hot samosas, crushed and covered with chickpea curry. More background on foodster
Pakora – Fritters made from onions, spinach or fenugreek leaves, rolled in spiced flour. The ones at Paradise with curry leaves are really good.