Bengali snacks are known for their diverse and delectable flavours. Some popular options include Jhalmuri, a spicy puffed rice snack seasoned with an array of spices; singara, akin to samosas; ghugni, made from dried yellow peas; and more.
Bengali snacks are strongly ingrained in the area's rich cultural legacy. These snacks have been made for many generations, and family recipes are frequently passed down. They stand for both carrying on cultural traditions and maintaining ties to the past. Snacks are a crucial part of Bengali tea rituals, which take place every evening at teatime. Snacking while sipping tea or coffee allows people to unwind, connect, and have conversations with loved ones.
These Bengali snacks are known for their simplicity and flavours. Here are the five most tempting snacks for teatime:
Jhalmuri is a well-liked street snack from Bengal that is known for its crunchy, spicy, and tangy flavours. It's a tasty and convenient choice for a light meal or on-the-go snack, with its delightful blend of puffed rice, chopped onions, tomatoes, and green chillies, slivered coconut slices, boiled or fried Bengal gram, toasted ground nuts, chutneys, and spices. This tasty snack is enjoyed by people of all ages during their stroll through parks, markets, or while unwinding on a relaxing evening.
Bengali chops refer to fried cutlets or croquettes. There are many different varieties of these tasty, frequently deep-fried treats that are enjoyed throughout the region, each with their own distinct flavours and textures. The chops are coated in a gram flour batter and deep-fried to a golden colour and crispy texture.
They are served with kasundi, which is a mustard relish, and ketchup, and they pair beautifully with a hot cup of tea or coffee. While aloor chop, also known as potato chop, is a cutlet made from spiced potato, fish chop, or maacher chop, is made with mashed or minced fish, spices, and herbs. Paneer chop is made by combining crumbled paneer and potatoes with onions and herbs, coated in a flour batter, and deep-fried.
The popular stuffed paratha, known as Mughlai paratha, comes from Bengali culinary traditions. This paratha is renowned for both its mouthwateringly crispy exterior and its rich, flavourful inside. It’s a paratha wrapped with different fillings inside, like mutton kheema or paneer, fried on the tava, cut into square pieces, and served. It's mostly served with yoghurt and different chutneys.
Bengali deep-fried samosas, known as singara, are popular snacks. These triangular pastries are filled with flavourful spiced potatoes and sometimes meat or paneer. Singara is a beloved street food, perfect for tea-time snacking and a delightful starter at celebrations. The best way to relish singara is when it's piping hot and crispy, often served with tomato sauce, green chutney, or tamarind chutney.
In Bengal, a snack that is made from 'motor dal,' or dried yellow peas, is ghugni. The peas are boiled, mashed, and combined with spice powders like cumin, coriander, garam masala, and more. It is served with a garnish of chopped onions, coriander, and a dash of lime juice. Known for its rich, spicy, and tangy flavours, this dish is popular as both street food and a tea-time treat. Bengali ghugni is usually served with puffed rice or eaten on its own.
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Nimkis are a popular deep-fried snack that are often made from a simple dough of all-purpose flour, carom seeds (ajwain), nigella seeds (kalonji), salt, and water. The dough is rolled out, cut into diamond or rhombus shapes, and then deep-fried until crispy and golden brown. Nimkis are known for their delightful crunch and the aromatic flavours of the seeds used in the dough.
Tele bhaja refers to deep-fried fritters made from seasonal vegetables. In Bengali, 'Bhaja' translates to 'fried,' while 'Tele' signifies 'oil,' giving this dish its name, 'tele bhaja' meaning 'fried in oil'. The true delight of tele bhaja is experienced when it's piping hot and perfectly crispy, accompanied by a side of zesty green or tamarind chutney.
Different seasonal veggies, like onions, potatoes, eggplant, capsicum, and more, are combined with rice, gram flour, spices, and deep fried. There is beguni, which is made from thin slices of eggplant; pokori, which is different veggies or paneer; and piyaji, which are thin slices of onions dipped in batter and deep fried.
Aloo kabli is a great snack for the evenings. It's basically an aloo chat where we use slices of boiled potatoes mixed with chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, and tamarind sauce, garnished with some spices, chopped chillies, and coriander leaves.
Chanachur is best for snacking. This basically consists of a variable mixture of spices and herbs along with fried lentils, peanuts, chickpeas, corn, puffed rice, and sometimes onions. It's great for its flavour, which is “tok jhal mishti (sour, hot, and sweet)."