Train journeys throughout India are not for the faint hearted, if you are expecting air conditioned plush carriages you will be sadly dissapointed. I know that british trains are very comfortable and clean but in all honesty I would prefer to be on an Indian train any day of the week, yes they are hot, smoggy, terribly dirty, and a western face usually attracts a crowd of deep brown eyes to become fixated on you, but the food is possibly some of the best indian food I have ever tasted, whats more is that it costs pence.
On British trains you are lucky if you get a half filled undercooked bacon sandwich, so to get a full meal and snacks, and an amazing tasting meal at that on an Indian train was over whelming. I travelled from Goa to Cochin in Kerala and feeling particularly peckish I bought some snacks, I was given a newspaper parcel which costed 10p, when I opened the parcel I saw what looked like six large fritters, I had never seen them before or heard of them but I will never forget the taste as long as I live, lightly spiced lentil patties with a crisp sandy crumb and smooth fragrant interior. If this is the quality of food you can get on an Indian train that quite frankly didn't even have toilet paper, then why cant British trains pull their fingers out and get some decent food onboard? This is the perfect picnic snack, and tastes far more complicated than it actually is to make. I urge you to try it. Serve with my coconut chutney
You will need:
100g split chana dal
1 finely diced red onion
3 chopped green chillies (birds eye will be perfect)
1 1/2 tbsp of finely chopped ginger
1/2 tsp of asafetida
1 1/4 tsp of maldon sea salt
10 finely chopped fresh curry leaves (don't even think about using dried)
1/2 tsp of fennel seed
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Soak the dal in cold water for at least 2 hours. Drain the soaked dal onto kitchen paper and dry it as much as possible. Place the Dal in a food processor and blend until it is a course paste, not a smooth paste. Remove the blended dal from the processor and decant it into a bowl, add all of the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form the dough into five patties or ten small patties and then deep fry until golden brown. Drain onto kitchen paper and serve immediately.