While ancient texts bear testimony to the fact that Indians not only enjoyed their tipple but also loved having a variety of snacks to accompany these sips. From spicy to sour or bitter to sweet, it’s unsurprising that a country so diverse has a rich variety of munchies to be consumed alongside spirits.
Bar snacks – known as chakna, touchings or even ‘timepass’ in various parts of India – are an integral element to a conducive drinking experience. Whether it is a local dive bar or a fancy bar serving up artisanal cocktails, small bites of savoury things is meant to encourage people to drink more. Snacks are also a great way to balance the level of inebriation, without having to fill up on too much food. Here are seven popular snacks from different parts of the country.
The land of Patiala peg surely has innumerable bar snacks that include deep-fried, ajwain-flavoured Amritsari fish fry, smoky tandoori chicken charred on coals, or even grilled mutton chops. The Punjabis believe in having hearty snacks, to put up against their stiff drinks and hence, vegetarians can also enjoy dishes like the paneer tikka or aloo chaat with a generous squeeze of lime.
The southernmost tropical state offers a delectable variety of drinking snacks called touchings, that pack a punch when it comes to flavour. Small toddy shops that serve a cornucopia of dishes include spiced peanuts, duck roast, kappa-meen curry, fried mussels and spiced clams. The assortment of freshly made snacks also includes a plate of lime pickle, that cuts through the pungency of the toddy liquor, and also whetting the tastebuds.
The party capital of the country has some of the best bar foods to offer, all thanks to their love for the laidback life. From humble raw mango slices seasoned with chili powder and salt, to crispy prawn cutlets, the beach state’s bar snack options are to die for. Thanks to their Portuguese influences, snacks like the rissoles, boiled sausages, and Goan samosas stuffed with minced meat have also gained popularity.
The iconic rice-based liquor called handiya that is widely consumed by tribal communities in the western parts of the state, pair their drink with delicacies like puta bhaja – or goat tripe cooked with spices; kala anda – a condiment of red ants and their eggs stir-fried or pounded with salt and chilies and sautéed jhari poka. On the other hand, coastal Odisha boasts of bar snacks like sukhua bhaja or dried fish cooked with spices as well as pork kassa or pork braised with spices.
The Idigas or toddy tappers in Andhra Pradesh have been known to enjoy their drink of fermented toddy with a delicacy made of goat tripe – known as nallavanta. Aside from this, a chickpea salad called sundallu is also popularly consumed, with usual suspects like appe and chakli.
Inhabited by tribes and indigenous communities, ingredients like red ant eggs, silkworm pupae and smoked river fish are consumed with the locally made rice wine. The fermented beverage, which is often consumed during festivals, is also accompanied with pork cooked with indigenous leafy greens like dimoru paat or fig leaves, and mesaki paat or dried jute leaves.
A simple yet extremely addictive dish of khara boti or salted meat is a finger-licking delicacy that is often served with snacks like the kaima unde or minced meatballs, peppered with fresh green chillies and then tossed with fried onions. The Saoji cuisine in the state also offers a range of fiery side dishes like the saoji mutton sukka or chicken sukka – that give simple salted peanuts a run for its penny.