Vegetarian starters and snacks recipes

Vazhakkai bajji / Raw banana fritters


Vazhakkai bajji/raw banana fritters is a very popular evening snack in Chennai, which is usually accompanied with a cup of tea. Vazhakkai bajji is a south Indian snack, which you can find near Marina beach in Chennai, served in paper plates with a spicy onion or tomato chutney. We often order milagai bajji (chilli fritters) and vazhakkai bajji (raw banana fritter). Apart from beach in Chennai, it is also made at home and also available at small tea shops as a snack in the evenings.


Cashew Pakoda (Munthiri pakoda)


Cashew Pakoda (Munthiri Pakoda in Tamil) is a very famous evening snack in South India. Cashew pakoda is made of chickpea flour (besan in Hindi) along with other ingredients. It is very simple and easy to prepare and goes well with tea as an evening snack. To get more flavour into the cahew pakoda, mint leaves and curry leaves are important along with a very little ghee/dalda/oil added to the flour. The texture of the cashew pakoda is crisp and crunchy unlike other pakodas which are crisp but soft inside – like Palak Pakoda or Chilli Bajji.


Hariyali Paneer Tikka


Hariyali paneer tikka is a mouth-watering Indian starter served in Indian restaurants. You can prepare this dish easily at home. Hariyali means green colour. Paneer is marinated or coated in hari chutney (green chutney), which gives a different flavour and taste from the usual paneer tikka. The green chutney is made of mint and coriander leaves which gives this paneer tikka a fresh herby flavour.


Andhra mirapakaya bajji


Andhra Mirapakaya bajji/mirchi bajji is a famous and popular street food of Andhra. It reminds me of my childhood when I used to visit my grand parents’ town (Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh). I used to see small stalls in the town where they used to sell Mirapakaya bajji (Mirchi bajji), but those chillies are small in size (Indian chillies which are used normally for curries) and are medium to very hot. The Mirapakaya bajji/Mirchi bajji, will be served hot, with pappu podi (roasted gram and garlic powder) and chopped onions on the bajjis.


Palak pakora


Palak pakora or pakoda / Spinach fritters is a deep fried Indian snack, which is enjoyed well during evenings with a cup of tea. It becomes more enjoyable during rainy season. This time, I have prepared Palak pakora or pakoda / Palak Bhajia in North Indian style. These Spinach fritters / Palak pakora or pakoda are crispy from outside and soft from inside. It is best served hot with hari chutney (green chutney).


Stuffed Mirchi Bajji / Andhra cut mirchi bajji


Stuffed mirchi bajji/Andhra cut mirchi bajji is a very popular street snack of Andhra. I have tasted mirch bajji in Hyderabad, Vizag (Vishakapatnam) and also from Anantapur and other places. It varies and the chillies used are medium or hot. Each home also has their own version. You can find these chilli bajji stalls in street corners but only in the evenings after 5pm. The street vendor wraps the mirchi bajji in newspaper and sprinkles a little chopped onions and pappu podi.


Onion pakoda


Onion pokada is a popular street snack in Tamil Nadu, enjoyed scrumptiously with family during evening times along with tea. I often crave for or remember the onion pakodas when the weather is pleasant or during rainy cold winters. Onion pokada is a deep fried fritter made with besan (gram flour) and spices. This recipe that I am sharing for onion pokada is in South Indian style known as vengaya pokada (onion pakoda) in Tamil, which is crispy and entirely different from the North Indian version of pokadas (kanda bhaji).


Coimbatore street food Mushroom fry (kaalaan varuval)


Kaalaan varuval (mushroom fry) or chilli mushroom is a very famous street food of Coimbatore, which you can find near busy market places or children’s parks where the street vendors sell this delicious street food. Though I am not a very big fan of mushroom, for a change I sometimes prepare mushroom curry, mushroom 65 and mushroom pokada. After tasting this mushroom fry (kaalaan varuval) street food, it was a hit for me.


Mumbai grilled sandwich


If you have any friends from Mumbai or you have visited Mumbai, you must have come across a delicious Bombay or Mumbai sandwich, sometimes grilled also. A healthy vegetarian Mumbai sandwich, everyone’s favourite, nearly found in every street-corner, train station, bus stop, college, school and near beach.


Bombay sandwich


If you have any friends from Mumbai or you have visited Mumbai, you must have come across a delicious Bombay or Mumbai sandwich, sometimes grilled also. A healthy vegetarian Mumbai sandwich, everyone’s favourite, nearly found in every street-corner, train station, bus stop, college, school and near beach.


Gobi 65 / Cauliflower 65 (restaurant style)


Gobi65/ cauliflower65 restaurant style is a perfect snack/starter for evening or any time you desire. I have already shared cauliflower65 home style, there are so many variations which you can prepare each time and enjoy it. Gobi65 restaurant style, crisp from outside, reddish in colour served with onion rings and lime or lemon wedge, is a mouth-watering starter and is my favourite. Gobi65 is a very popular vegetarian starter in south India (Chennai) like chicken65.


Punjabi samosa


One of the most famous snack or starter is Punjabi samosa. The traditional Punjabi samosa is large in size and is filled with mashed potato and few spices, sometimes you can see peas, cashew nut and raisins, the combination gives more flavour and the filling becomes tastier. The filling in the samosa can be of your choice. I used to have this Punjabi samosa in few places only where there were famous and served with two chutney (green or hari chutney and tamarind chutney), which were delicious.


Cauliflower 65


Cauliflower 65/Gobi 65 is a very popular snack or starter in south India as a vegetarian version. You can use the marinate of chicken 65, for cauliflower65, refer recipe. I tasted this first in Coimbatore where it is very popular as a street food. The cauliflowers are well coated in reddish sauce (marinate) and when it is fried, it gives a very good and crispy colour which attracts every one.


Cauliflower pakoda


Cauliflower Pokada is one of my favourite snacks and I cook it whenever I crave for it. Pokada is an important snack in India as a street food and it is eaten mostly evening times, served in newspaper as a plate or disposable plates with chutneys. During rainy times, the first thing in mind comes for the hot tea and hot Pokadas. Pokadas can be of varieties like Onion Pokada, Cashew Pokada , Cauliflower Pokada and many more.


Andhra mirapakaya bajji


Andhra Mirapakaya bajji/milagai bajji/mirchi bajji reminds me of my childhood when I used to visit my grand parents’ town (Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh). I used to see small stalls in the town where they used to sell Mirapakaya bajji (Milagai bajji), but those chillies are small in size (Indian chillies which are used normally for curries) and are medium to very hot. The Mirapakaya bajji/Milagai bajji, will be served hot, with pappu podi (roasted gram and garlic powder) and chopped onions on the bajjis.


Shingara samosa


Samosa is a fried pastry with mild or spicy or sweet filling. Phul kopir (cauliflower) samosa is a famous Bengali snack. In Bengal, samosas are called shingara. Shingara is smaller in size and just 2 to 3 bites only like as we get those small mini onion samosas in Chennai near marina beach or busy markets or sometimes in a tea shop and also in Hyderabad both vegetarian and non – vegetarian in Irani or Muslim’s restaurant’s. The filling for shingara I have used is cauliflower and potato mixture with nuts and few spices.


Potato and biscuit cutlet


Potato and biscuit cutlet is one of my childhood memories, I still remember, when I am back from school, I used to get this potato cutlet, which is sweet and spicy but not much when I started eating spicy food. During my school days, in holidays, I started making cutlets, just helping mother in peeling, mashing potato, mixing and making round shape cutlet.


Chilli bajji


Milagai bajji is our traditional south Indian snack, which you can find near our marina beach in Chennai. The vendors near by will be shouting bajji maa bajji, (fried fritters madam) and he says the names of bajjis he make like banana, chilli, onion, cauliflower, potato. As I am going to the marina beach from my childhood, we know a vendor who makes very tasty and crispy bajji and serves with a spicy chutney. We just sit in the sand and enjoy the crispy bajji. We often order, milagai bajji (chilli fritter) and vazhakkai bajji (raw banana fritter).


Thenga manga pattani sundal


In Chennai the most popular snack which is very popular and sold near Marina beach is Thenga manga pattani sundal. Thenga manga pattani sundal is a snack which is eaten mostly near the marina beach in Chennai or near the parks. A boy comes with his barefoot on the sand and with his sundal bucket, some murk (made with rice flour, with some spices) and some news papers with him. With the help of newspaper he make a cone shape pocket and serves the sundal. I always ask him to top with more mango pieces.


Colourful stuffed patties


These colourful stuffed patties are delicious, healthy and it is like surprise for the kids and elders. As soon as the kids or elders break it either they can find green colour or dark maroon colour which is because of spinach and beetroot. It is like any other potato pattie made but stuffed with 2 different varieties.


Vegetable Puffs


I made this for the first time and it was an instant hit. A lot of people liked it. It was very crispy with a buttery touch and it just melted in the mouth. You can make it for any occasion. You can make the pastry in advance and keep it ready for any occasion. Here is the recipe for making the puff pastry.


Paneer sticks


Paneer sticks are served as a snack or as a starter for all paneer lovers. Paneer is cut into long length wise and covered with potato mixture, coated with bread crumbs or sesame seeds and deep fry it in the oil. The potato mixture, I made, divided into 2 portions and added different spices in each, to show you can make varieties in it and can add any ingredient you like.


Puff pastry


It is a crispy pastry made with maida (flour) and butter and stuffed with some vegetables or any meat and then it is baked. This is a snack which we usually use to have in the evening between 4pm to 6pm. We use to have it with tea. From school days to college days, we use to have it. We get vegetable puff or chicken or mince meat or egg puffs.


Banana chips


In south India, if you visit any bakery shop, you can find banana chips known as yellow chips also because of its colour. I always call it as yellow chips instead of banana chips. In Tamil nadu, Karnataka and Kerala every where we get it and other places also. Whenever my father visits to kerela , the banana chips will be in demand though I get it in Chennai, just for a change to taste the banana chips of kerela.


Mushroom and potato cutlets


Mushroom a healthy vegetarian alternative for meat. This is for mushroom lovers. Mushrooms are known for nutritional and low calorie food. Mushrooms can be stir fried, made curries, soups and also eaten raw. I have used white mushrooms known as button mushrooms for my cutlet. Very simple and few ingredients go in it. For coating, I have used Bombay rawa (semolina- but course) and coriander leaves, can grind them coarsely to give a green colour. This mushroom cutlet is so delicious with its own mushroomy flavour and taste, try it.


Tandoori paneer and vegetable kebabs


This time I have taken tandoori masala ( ready made, any brand), for the marinade, to grill the kebabs and give that reddish colour to my vegetables. In my other recipe I prepared hara masala (green masala) paneer and vegetable kebabs. Can see the picture, it gives good colour, impressive for the parties and tasted good too. Can use any vegetables you like, can grill or cook in the oven.


Sambar vada


Sambar vada is a very popular south Indian breakfast. You can have it in the morning or in the evening. The crispy vadas are soaked in sambar to make it soft and juicy. It will absorb all the flavour of sambar.


Medhu vada


Medhu vada is a very popular break fast in south india. Medhu vada is served with sambar and coconut chutney. It is like a doughnut shape but taste differs. Medhu vada is made with urad dal, which is soaked in water for few hrs, then ground to a thick paste and then fried in deep oil.


Curd vada (dahi vada)


This is one of my favourite dish. I like curd vada more than sambar vada or any vegetable vada. Whenever vadas are made at home, there will be fight between me and my brother as I want curd vada and my brother wants just vadas, but both of us get what we want.


Bread upma


Upma is a south Indian break fast. There are varieties of upma and also variations in upma. Upma is usually made with sooji, commonly known as rava in south India. There are varieties of upma like rice upma, sooji (rava) upma, cous-cous upma and bread upma.