The essence of Indian food lies not in the fine-dining restaurant culture but buried in the streets and lanes of India - the place that harbours the khomchas of chaat and the heart of flavour. The heady aroma of crispy fried potato, heavily spiced with roasted cumin and chilli, kissed with the likes of imli and khatai, only to be finished with a generous dash of lemon and sprinkling of coriander is enough to get my mouth-watering. So, ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat-belts for the ultimate ride to chaat flavour-town. You can thank me later ;) .

1. Bhel Puri

Originating in erstwhile Bombay, this healthy-ish snack is made with puffed rice which is called bhel and crispy pieces of fried dough wafers called papdi or puri. This is then mixed with a bunch of teekhi and meethi chutneys, topped with a satisfying fistful of crunchy, salty peanuts, sev, a sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves and a dash of lime. Lo and behold - this is all you need to satisfy those chatpata cravings that hit you in the middle of a busy week! The best thing about bhel puri is it is simple to make at home. Know the recipe here.

2. Aloo Tikki

India's very own version of the ultimate potato snack - this one is super-crispy on the outside and buttery, fluffy and light on the inside. To top it all off (see what I did there :)) these crunch bombs are then finished with a melange of thinly slices of red onion, khatti-meethi tamarind chutney and a mind-blowingly theeka and khara pudina chutney. While it may look like your average burger patty, this spicy, fiery and insanely crunchy chaat has a lot more to offer!

3. Gol Gappe/Paani-Puri/Puchka - As You Like It

Bhavya Bansal

Well, I present to you the Indian Ambrosia. There are no words appetizing enough to describe this Indian chaat. A small puri (salted fried dough) is generously stuffed with a tantalising mixture of boiled chickpeas and potatoes, lightly spiced with some garam masala, topped with a jaw-breaking tamarind chutney and then dunked into icy-cold flavoured water perfumed with mint and coriander. This seemingly simple dish is a testimony to the fact that great things and complex flavour often comes in small packages. The love for this particular chaat can be seen in the myriad of different names that the people of India have given it -  whether it is Paani Puri, Puchka, Phulki, Paani Ke Patashe or Gup Chup - you know that it lives in the heart of every Indian!  

4. Bhalla Papdi

Priyaank Sharma

This wonderfully colourful chaat is one that is consumed by Indians every day. A typically layered chaat - crispy, crunchy and salty papdis are mixed with boondi and black gram, only to be topped with a thick layer of creamy, cool yoghurt that is lightly flavoured with a tangy chaat-masala. To make things even better, the final product comes with a spattering of pomegranate seeds, coriander leaves, and thin matchsticks of beetroot and ginger. Simply put - this one is finger-licking good! You can have the oldest and finest Bhalla Papdi chaat at The Natraj dahi bhalle wala.

5. Raj Kachori

This savoury snack is a literally a flavour bomb that explodes in your mouth! A large hollow sphere of whole wheat flour or semolina is piled high with boiled potatoes, sweet yoghurt, pomegranate seeds, slices of ginger, and the much-loved combination of mint and tamarind chutneys. Sprinkled with a thick showering of sev, this chaat is the ideal mix of theekha, meetha and yummily khatta. Deconstruct this monster flavour bowl here.

6. Daulat Ki Chaat

Sanya Hussain

This is not your classic chatpati, crunchy chaat. A sweet gem, this cloudlike dessert can only be found for a limited period in the wintery lanes of Old Delhi. Light as air, legend has it that the khansamas leave milk on the terrace overnight when the winter dew does its magic and whips into soft peaks of frothy milk, delicately flavoured with nutty cardamom and chopped pistachios. Owing to its ultra-soft texture, this also goes by the name Malai Makhan translating into 'creamy butter.'

7. Ram Ladoo

Also known as moong dal ke pakode, these little fellas are crispy morsels of lentils and spices, ideal for popping into your mouth. Served with a coriander chutney, green chillies and radish leaves, they are best enjoyed with a steaming cup of adrak wali chai in rainy weather. My favourite part is the fine slices of radish served alongside that add great crunch and texture. Trust me, this one is a real keeper! 

8.Vada Pav

Priyaank Sharma

Presenting to you the snack all Mumbaikars swear by! A light, chewy and intensely umami bun - called the 'pav' is stuffed with a 'vada' a.k.a a spicy fried ball made with potatoes, showered with spices and coated with gram flour/besan for that extra crunch. The best part is the 'gunpowder' or a dry garlic chutney that is blended with butter that coats the insides of the pav, and is accompanied by some theekhi coriander chutney and some scary spicy green chillies.  And there you have it, the best Indian burger you can ever get! 

9. Kachori

If there is one thing that I've learnt in life, is that a good kachori never disappoints. A flaky, buttery and salty ball of dough is fried and then served with a range of toppings and accompaniments. Piping hot kachoris served with delish chutneys, chopped onions, juliennes of ginger and a spicy aloo curry is stuff that dreams are made of!. The love for kachori has evolved and multiplied through its various forms - Pyaaz Kachori, Moong Daal Kachori, Khasta Kachori and the list seems to be endless. We can trace this greasy snack's origins to the state of Rajasthan. Find out more about the legacy that is kachori here.

10. Fruit Kulle

Exploding flavour and insanely tangy - this is honestly my absolute favourite way to get that fruit quotient. A fruit is taken and scooped hollow to act like a fruit bowl holding a wide range of fruits and sprinkled generously with chaat masala. One bite and all you will utter later is 'INCREDIBLE'. Fruits cannot get any better than this!

Go ahead and try out all of these 10 incredibly delicious chaats for yourself!