In this last installment of my California food adventures I wanted to share with you something I only do with my friends from HB – going to Little India and the chaat shop to get Indian snack foods.
Little India is located along a part of Pioneer Boulevard in Artesia and includes food shops, markets, and restaurants as well as jewelry and clothing stores. Surati Farsan is located just off of Pioneer Boulevard on 186th Street and sells Indian sweets and savory snacks. I won’t even begin to suggest that I know much about their extensive offerings but I’ll share with you some of the things we enjoy.
A couple of my favorite snacks to bring back to Boston with me are chakri and chevdo. Chakri are made of rice flour and spices, deep-fried until hard and crisp. They are very hard but so spicy and tasty. Chevdo is a a mixture of puffed rice, raisins, peanuts and spices, like a spicy trail mix (my Indian friends, please forgive me for that description). I try to parse out my servings of these snacks to make them last longer – generally speaking it doesn’t work.
The thing I like to eat when I’m there (because it wouldn’t travel well at all) is a mixture of two dishes. My friend told me she doesn’t serve them as they’re traditionally done but since her way is the only way I know it, I love it! My friend takes a mixture of bhel puri and dahipuri and mixes them together.
Bhel puri is a mixture of puffed rice and flour tortilla-like chips with tamarind sauce, cilantro chutney, potatoes, and fresh cilantro. (I probably missed a few things.)
Dahipuri is made with small, crisp puffs (puri), beans, potatoes, cilantro chutney, and yogurt. Traditionally I believe you break a small hole at the top of the puri and fill it with the other ingredients, topping everything with the chutney and yogurt.
My friend takes both these dishes and combines them into one bowl, breaking the puri up into smaller pieces. I must have been so excited to eat this that once it was all mixed together, I forgot to take a picture. I love the different textures, the spiciness of the chutney, the sourness from the tamarind, and the coolness of the yogurt. Once everything is mixed together you need to eat it relatively quickly before the crispy bits get soggy from the sauces.
In addition to the bhel puri/dahipuri mixture we had other dishes. And to finish it off we brought home some jalebi – an Indian version of fried dough made with gram flour and soaked in a spiced sugar syrup. They are crisp (not hard), juicy from the syrup, and perfect with tea.
And so ends my food adventures on this visit to Southern California. For all the eating we did, it was only an enhancement to the trip. The best part was being there with my very dear friends, more family than friends.
11814 186th St.
Artesia, CA 90701