Mumbai is famous for it's wide variety of street food that is both ubiquitous & affordable; & chaat is arguably the most famous among those. Come evening, you'll hardly find a street corner in the city without a paani puri walla or a cart serving hot ragda pattice. Whether you're visiting the beach, street shopping or coming home from work chaats are one of the best snacks in Mumbai & you will never be hungry for long on the streets of Mumbai.
Today I'm going to talk about some of the most commonly available chaat in Mumbai with tips on how to enjoy it safely.
Paani Puri - In Delhi it's called gol gappa, in Kolkata it's called phuchka, in Orissa it’s called gupchup. In Mumbai it’s called paani puri. The dish itself is a simple combination of a crisp, hollowed-out bite-sized puri filled with white peas (& occasionally boondi, a light preparation made of chickpea flour) and potatoes and dipped into tamarind water mixed with chilies and chaat masala. It's most delicious when the ragda is piping hot & the paani is ice cold. It's a delicious explosion of flavor that can make your eyes water, but it's definitely my favorite Mumbai chaat & the thing I miss the most when I'm travelling out of Mumbai.
Sev Puri (pictured above) - Sev puri is essential Mumbai chaat made of puri (compared to the thin, almost sperical hollow pur used for paani puri, this one is thick & flat) which is loaded with diced potatoes, onions, three types of chutneys: tamarind, chili and garlic and topped with sev. It is seasoned with raw mango, when raw mango is in season or with a hint of lemon and chaat masala.
Dahi Bata Puri (pictured below) - Dahi Batata Puri is just a variation on Sev Puri, but instead it used the same hollowed out puris used for paani puri & includes dahi (plain yoghurt)
photo credits: veg recipes of India
While Mumbai chaat is very delicious (trust me, just writing this post had me craving some paani puri!) street vendors sometimes use unclean water in the preparations, leading to food poisoning & a host of water bourne diseases such as typhoid. For this reason, it's best to stick to the larger shops that serve chaat, though they are slightly more expensive they use mineral water in all their preparations so you'll be better off, health & cleanliness wise. Here's a list of the Best Chaat shops in Mumbai, go out & enjoy some delicious chaat!