5 Flavorful Snack Recipes Inspired by Indian Cuisine

Giving Indian cuisine a try in the kitchen might feel like a daunting task, especially when you run across a recipe containing unfamiliar ingredients. While it’s true that some Indian dishes take practice to create, there are simpler, modified alternatives that can help you achieve those exotic flavors without a native understanding of the ingredients, tools, and practices.

Don’t be scared off by the unfamiliar; simply keep your eyes open for ingredients at your local supermarket. Most will be available in the international section. If not, there are numerous Indian grocers — both with brick and mortar storefronts, as well as online shops — who can provide you with just the ingredients you need to create these perfect homemade snacks.

These five recipes will offer you the chance to enjoy the taste of your favorite Indian flavors while snacking at home.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Indian Spiced Snack Mix

There are many variations on this traditional Indian snack mix — think of it as the Indian answer to pub mix. This particular recipe is made with nuts, fruits, spices, and other ingredients. Once you’ve had a bite, you won’t be able to stop yourself from digging in for more. The dish contains four different types of nut — pistachios, cashews, peanuts, and almonds — providing you with a hearty boost of protein to keep you satisfied until meal time. The spices in this dish balance well with the sweet flavors of the golden raisins and shaved coconut. This recipe from Saveur takes about 20 minutes and yields 5 ½ cups of snack mix. The prepared snack can be stored in an air-tight container for up to one month.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup dried dried, flattened rice flakes (poha)
  • 20 fresh or frozen curry leaves, defrosted if frozen
  • 6 chiles de árbol, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • ½ cup dried shaved coconut
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup roasted yellow split peas
  • ½ cup fried chickpea noodles
  • ½ cup spicy fried sweetened chickpea balls
  • ½ cup unsalted pistachios
  • ½ cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup whole almonds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chile powder, such as cayenne
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Directions: Heat oil in a 14-inch flat-bottom wok (or standard pot) over medium-high. Stir in turmeric and, working in batches, fry rice flakes until puffed and crisp, 10–15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer rice flakes to paper towels to drain; transfer to a large bowl. Fry curry leaves and chiles until fragrant, about 1 minute; drain on paper towels and transfer to bowl with rice flakes.

Fry coconut, and then raisins, about 30 seconds each; drain on paper towels and transfer to bowl with poha. Add yellow split peas, chickpea noodles, spiced chickpea balls, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, almonds, sugar, red chile powder, and salt; toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Spiced Potato Stuffed Samosas

Samosas — stuffed pastries, traditionally either baked or fried — are one of the most celebrated popular parts of Indian cuisine. Samosa fillings can range anywhere from savory beef, onions, or lentils, to spiced potatoes. This recipe from Food Network incorporates potatoes spiced with garlic, ginger, chili, and turmeric, among other exciting flavors. The recipe takes about an hour to complete and yields eighteen samosas.

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ¼ cups self-rising flour
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) butter, cut in small pieces
  • 9 tablespoons water

Filling:

  • 1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen mixed peas, corn, and carrots
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • ½ habenero chile, minced
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala spice blend
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions: To make the dough: Mix the salt and flour in a medium bowl or a food processor. With a pastry blender, incorporate the butter until crumbs have formed. Add the water a few tablespoons at a time, until you can form a ball. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Let it rest for about 15 minutes more. You can prepare the dough in advance and refrigerate it.

To make the filling: Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside. If using fresh carrots, chop and simmer in water, to cover, in a small pot. Add the corn and peas to barely cook. Set aside to cool.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion until golden. Add the garlic, ginger, and chile and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garam masala, turmeric, chile powder, and salt and cook 2 minutes more. In a bowl combine the mashed potatoes, the onion and spice mixture, carrots, peas, corn, lemon juice, and chopped coriander. Mix well.

To assemble the samosas: Divide the dough into 9 equal size balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a 5-inch circle. Cut each circle in half.

Brush the straightedge side with a little water, fold it in half, and align the two straight sides so they overlap to form a cone shape. Squeeze the edges together to make a tight seal. Place approximately 1 generous tablespoon of filling inside each cone, leaving the top edge clean. Moisten the inside top rim of the cone and press the edges together to make another tight seal. Place the samosas on a tray until ready to fry. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Heat approximately 3 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan. Fry several samosas at a time, being careful not to crowd them. When one side turns golden brown, flip it over to brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with chutney.

Source: NARINDER NANU/Getty Images

Source: NARINDER NANU/Getty Images

3. Onion Pakora (Onion Fritters)

These pakoras are one of the simplest Indian snack recipes to make, requiring only about 10 minutes in the kitchen. Not only that, but they’re exceptionally tasty — as fritters tend to be. You can even throw in additional shredded vegetables to give your fritters more flavor and texture. Flavored with onion, chili, and coriander, these are a great food for munching on with friends and family. Try serving with chutney or sauce for added flavor at your next party. This recipe from Veg Recipes of India yields about eight pakoras.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • ½ inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 small to medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green chili, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • 2 to 3 pinches of baking soda
  • ¼ cup water
  • salt as required

Directions: Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl, stirring with a spoon or wired whisk to make a smooth and lump-free batter. Heat oil in skillet, then drop spoonfuls of the batter into skillet. Fy the pakoras in oil until golden and crisp. Once finished, dry on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve the pakoras hot with coconut chutney, coriander chutney, or tomato sauce if desired.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

4. Stuffed Paneer Millet Patties (Cutlets)

Paneer millet patties (or cutlets) are made from boiled potatoes, paneer (an Indian cheese), steamed green peas, and steamed millets (a type of seed). A bit of spice is added to give the patties a flavorful punch. This recipe calls for foxtail millet, which is cooked very similarly to rice: For each cup of millet being cooked, add in 1 ½ cups of water and cook over stovetop until softened. This recipe from Archana’s Kitchen takes about 40 minutes to complete and yields ten patties.

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 2 tablespoons pf softened butter
  • ½ cup of foxtail millet, cooked until soft
  • ½ cup green peas, steamed with salt
  • 1 teaspoon of roasted cumin powder
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • a large bunch of chopped coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 ½ cups paneer, crumbled
  • breadcrumbs
  • oil for cooking

Directions: Combine the first eight ingredients together until it comes together like a dough. Divide the patty mixture into 10 equal balls and set aside.

Combine the paneer along with some salt and divide into 10 small balls and keep aside. Smear some oil in the palm of you hands and flatten the patty balls in the center of your palm. Place a paneer ball in the recipe and close the patty so the paneer is enclosed inside. Continue the same way with the remaining patty balls and the paneer balls and set them aside.

Preheat a skillet on medium heat; roll the patties on bread crumbs and place on heated skillet. Drizzle oil over the skillet and cook on medium heat until patties are evenly browned and crisp on both sides.

Depending on the size of your pan, you add add 2 to 3 patties at a time to cook. Using an iron skillet will help patties to crisp and cook evenly. Once crisped and cooked through, remove and enjoy!

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

5. Roasted Masana Makhana

Makhan seeds are available at most large supermarkets and provide vital nutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, protein, and magnesium. Dry roasting these seeds unleashes their unique flavor, and combining them with spices is the best way to enhance this flavor for a delicious and healthy snack. Roasting the seeds will give them an air-puffed effect — making them airy and crunchy, with a light, enjoyable texture — ideal for snacking. This recipe from Cook Like Priya takes around 10 minutes and yields two to three generous servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Makhan (lotus seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ⅓ teaspoon turmeric

Directions: In a wide pan heat oil (medium flame) add the makhana/ lotus seeds and dry roast for 4-5 minutes until they turn crisp. Add spices and mix well, then further dry roast for 2 minutes. Serve.

More from Life Cheat Sheet: