Even if you have only visited Bangalore briefly, the little Hot Chips shops are, I am sure, something you would not have missed. These outlets are present at every nook and corner in the city, selling a variety of fried goodies. They have survived the test of time, being a remnant of Old Bangalore, and have withstood competition from Lays and the likes.
Have you ever, like me, wondered how all those delicious-looking goodies fit into such tiny shops? Have you been mesmerised by the sight of the shopkeeper grating huge potatoes into paper-thin chips into a pan of smoking-hot oil, just outside the store? Have you wondered what to buy from Hot Chips and what not?
I have done my fair share of shopping at Hot Chips.My fair share of gawking at them, too.
Here is a list of my personal favourites from Hot Chips.
1. Salted Potato Chips
True, Hot Chips has a variety of chips available, from Kerala banana chips to potato chips of the plain, salted and spicy types. The salted potato chips are one of their signature products, though. Most Hot Chips stores are famous for their simple salted potato chips, and it is one of their best-selling products.
Any little store in Bangalore will be able to offer you at least two varieties of Mixture, that ubiquitous South Indian snack. I like the mixture at Hot Chips, the one with lots of kodbele, pieces of fried coconut, curry leaves, and groundnut in it.
Crispy fried tubes that are just the right mix of salty and sweet – that is Picnic for you. I believe Picnic is another ofmost Hot Chips stores’ best-selling products. You can eat your Picnic straight out of the bag or use it to make a tasty chaat with onions, tomatoes, fresh coriander, and spicy and sweet chutneys!
Does the sight of Fryums not take you right back to your childhood?
Fryums are another lovely goodie from Hot Chips, available in a variety of designs. They also come with little variations, like those sprinkled with onion powder or tossed with red chilli powder. I personally like the plain, salted, round Fryums.
Many Hot Chips stores have great nippattu– that famous Karnataka snack that can be had at all times. Nippattu are nothing but little circles of dough, studded with gram dal and curry leaves, deep fried to a perfect crispy-crunchiness. They taste lovely by themselves,and can even be mixed withpuffed rice, onions, tomatoes, grated carrots, fresh coriander, and sweet and hot chutneys, to make a lovely churmuri.
Hot Chips outlets usually stock a variety of murukkus, the palakmurukku being one of my hot favourites among them. With their bright green colour, they look attractive enough to tempt you into buying a packet. That said, they taste great too –not too crisp and not too soft, just perfect!
7. Congress Kadalai
There is an interesting story about how the Congress kadalai came to be called so. Apparently, the Congress party headed by Indira Gandhi split into two in the 1970s. One factionwas headed by K Kamaraj, and the other one was led by Indira Gandhi. At about the same time, this snackwas invented where groundnuts would be split into two parts, fried, and given a generous coating of salt and red chilli powder. The split groundnut or kadalai began to be called Congress Kadalai, to signify the splitting of the Congress party into two.
The story behind Congress kadalai is, indeed, fascinating, but that is not the only reason to buy it. The kadalai tastes great too, either had by itself or used in a chaat.
So, which of these Hot Chips delicacies is your favourite?