“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first”, Ernestine Ulmer
When you talk about street food you could just think of the main course alone; all from gourmet burgers, wood-fired pizza, fish tacos. However, street food is lot more than this. There is a whole range of delicious street food desserts on offer, to satisfy your sweet tooth. Old classics such as ice cream still rule, but there are some epic desserts that could enslave you like never before!
Much more unique than a typical wedding cake, street desserts are delectable, made all fresh, are healthy and take you on one helluva of culinary journey. From cookies, muffins, brownies, granola, cakes and come summer, delicious, sugar-free, gluten-free mango cakes, puddings and tartlets filled with healthier ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, nuts and seeds- these show stoppers top the menu chart across small restaurants and street side eateries. If you ever feel the need to treat yourself without having to worry about which way your belly button goes, just dig into the unsung flavors of street side desserts! The chocolate sorbet on the road side could be just as delicious, super rich yet completely sugar free and vegan. And what of orange sponge cake with dark chocolate mousse or low calorie cheesecake with nutty crust! Delicious and sugar free, full of aromatic spices, topped with pistachios or soaked in rose syrup, there are plenty of insanely good delights that could become your best snap eats if you are good at exploring flavors.
So, if you are looking for some dessert ideas and want something different than the usual, here are 15 incredible lip-smackingly good healthy street desserts that dig small in the pocket and definitely are not a diet disaster. Just be ready to get blown away by the blasts of flavors.
Mango sticky rice
In this popular street food dessert, sweetened coconut milk flavors the sticky rice, which is then served with fresh mango; a refreshing take on the traditional Thai treat. Mango toppings on the rice, drenched with delicately salted coconut sauce and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, this addictive Thai dessert is a unique twist to enjoy fresh mangoes. When served with some more of coconut ice-cream, it adds to that extra indulgence. Try this gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan love-at-first-bite kind of easy peasy ripe mango dessert on any occasion! If you haven’t done so far and anyone tells you its awesome, you can certainly believe them!
Thai roti or pancake is similar to a crepe and is highly addictive. Paper thin, crunchy, crispy and topped with sweetened condensed milk and sugar, Thai rotis are a foodie’s every time delight. The combination of crispiness, sweetness and saltiness is enchanting. But the evolution doesn’t stop just at crispy frying, though it is a bit intimidating to stretch and cook such a thin flatbread and then griddle fry it. Quite forgiving in calories, its variant includes Nutella or jam filling, fresh fruit, cheese or even pizza toppings. The trick is to get the bread as thin as possible, which when fried and served with banana, chocolate sauce or condensed coconut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon, turns this flaky street treat crazy enough to disarm you.
Egg waffle, sometimes called egg puff, eggette or bubble waffle, is a popular delicacy that is visually puffy with a pullapart texture. Made out of egg white and yolk, milk, butter, sugar, flour and salt, this tiny treat is made in special pans with small, round cell. The end result is a waffle with crisp edges and soft oval “eggs” or “bubbles” which can be easily broken off for snacking. Devoured plain or paired with fruit and different spreads, this seemingly unexceptional cheap street food dessert is crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. The texture can best be described as a cookie and sponge cake hybrid. Have it served with a range of sauces and toppings such as dark chocolate or caramel sauce and whipped cream and you have a dessert that will muzzle your sweet tooth for good and yet is not off limits.
If you’re craving something sweet yet couldn’t resist a balanced diet, this is one treat that you must indulge in without worrying about your fitness needs. An awesome combination of carrots, nuts, milk, and sugar, this dessert is a mega source of beta carotene. Mimicking the butterscotch pudding, this yummy dessert tastes heavenly when served hot with condensed milk and serves best when accompanied with a cup of masala tea. Decadent, flavorful and ranking high on health index, this vegan, paleo, grain free and light dessert is exorbitantly satisfying.The golden hues of this rich, warm and nutritious dish made from baby carrots, will make your heart melt, just like that.
Rice pudding (Kheer)
Most interesting in terms of flavors, texture and appeal, this dish only needs three simple ingredients: rice, milk, and sugar. Whole milk fares better for it renders the richest and creamiest consistency to the dessert. When flavored with additional spices, such as cardamom, rose water, saffron, and nuts, a flowery aroma and a tropical taste makes the dish mesmerizing. So, grab your spoons and dig in this yummy goodness. Served warm or cold, this deceptively delicious creamy rice kheer is easy to make and is a street side indulgence not to be missed. Go figure out for yourself and explore the lip smacking combination of simple staples that are so hard to resist!
Coconut ice cream
And who said ice creams were off limit for those on diet trip? Vegan and natural, the coconut ice cream is a hot favorite among those who wouldn’t settle for anything less than sonnets. An ode to the toasted coconut donut hole, this tender, luscious and creamy treat with a mild tropical flavor is a scoop that any coconut lover would jump at. Your penchant for crunch could be like no other, your taste for sweetness is…awesome, but this great non dairy dessert, made simply from coconut milk, sugar and salt and served in coconut halves with toppings of peanuts and chocolate sauce, will sway you for a sugary indulgence. An incredibly tasty experience from a creation as simple as this ice cream, it is unbelievable!!
Soft, spongy and melt in the mouth, this dessert is made from milk solids that are reduced to the consistency of soft dough. Shaped into small balls, fried and then drenched in delicately flavored sugar syrup mixed with cardamom and rose water, it is one such street food dessert that is adored by all age groups. Garnished with nuts such as almonds and served hot, it’s a lip smacking insight to flavors of traditional cuisine every time you dig in. Just be wary of going overboard though! The calories in this dessert add up quickly so if you are watching your weight, treat yourself with only small servings at a time. Usually a gulab jamun contains about 125 calories out of which carbs comprise of 90 calories, proteins about 9 and remaining 25 calories come from fat. One single serve in fact provides about 6 % of daily calorie requirement of a standard adult diet of 2000 calories. So just watch out how much you polish off as dessert!!
Associated with summery climate, this refreshing treat combines thin falooda (vermicelli noodles) and kulfi, a traditional ice cream made out of slowly simmered whole milk and then flavored with pistachio and saffron. The dish is often elevated with various addons like sweet basil seeds, jelly or rose water and garnished with crushed nuts.
A treat to beat the heat, kulfi falooda ranks high on a legendary reputation due to its distinct taste, texture and richness and is among the top ten desserts on the menus of traditional street restaurants. Newer versions like mango and strawberry with a pinch of cinnamon, resemble spiced nutty custard and are similar to regular ice creams but a wee bit thicker and creamier.
So before you dive into any other crazy stuff, try this one and you won’t ever forget the heavenly taste of an unforgettable sin food!
Melting right in the mouth, rasmalai is an explosive cheese dessert that tastes delicious, is simple. easy to make and involves a three-step process; from making chena (curded milk) discs, boiling them in sugar syrup, and then resting them in thickened milk. The secret to deliciousness lies in curdling the milk to right consistency right after it comes to a boil. This popular dessert shaves off about half the time it would take to make any other traditional dessert with similar silky texture. But no worries, your take is just as delicious with all the traditional ingredients like chena or paneer soaked in sugar, milk and spices like saffron and cardamom.
If you’ve never before tried this one, you are in for a surprise! This popular street food dessert is pretty easy to make and will muzzle any sweet tooth! The dish derives its name from the combination of the words banana and barbecue, though bananas are neither marinated nor grilled. Their similarity in visual appeal and use of skewers to serve, is what coins that term.
Peeled bananas once deep fried until golden brown all over, are generously coated in caramelized sugar and then skewered onto a bamboo stick for ease. A hot favorite amongst street food enthusiasts, it is a portmanteau of banana and barbecue and resembles golden brown meat cooked in a style similar to Satay. (A Southeast Asian dish of seasoned, skewered and grilled meat, served with a sauce.). Sold at street stands and enjoyed as a satisfying quick afternoon snack, this delicious, must try and irresistible dessert will ring of subtle flavors through every bite!
A close cut to banana cue, this traditional street sweet also makes use of bananas as the star ingredient. The unleavened roti dough is stretched until thin, and then the mix of sliced bananas, eggs and sugar is wrapped in and pan-fried until golden brown. Served cut into bite-sized pieces that are dusted with sugar and drizzled with condensed milk, it tastes heavenly and is next-gen best dessert fad. A classic street food, roti pisang is a tempting sweet and filling snack. Full of aromas, topped with pistachios or soaked in rose syrup, this traditional Malayan dessert is here to light up your taste buds if you’re looking for exotic sweets to satisfy your craving!
Nothing else would catch you eye like those glossy, red and sweet candied apples, also known as jelly apples, so irresistibly displayed on street side cart and patisserie across the street. If you still remember those shining red treats in a shop window or grocery store from your childhood days, you would know how a bite into this ‘healthy snack’ feels like; perhaps the most exhilarating way to break a crunchy sugar shell coating of a nourishing snack! Some of these attitudes might have worn off as you grew up, but surely not on the appeal of the shiny exterior and crunchy contrast of candy and apple; so irresistible and mouth watering!!
Simply dipped into a red sugar coating tempered with hot cinnamon flavor that has reached hard crack stage, you can taste and experience a fairground classic street sin food that works so well with grownups and kids alike. Every bite of candied apple is like a little party in your mouth. Wrapped in plastic and tied with a ribbon, they make a perfect take-home favors, too.
A popular Mexican street fruit parfait, bionico is essentially a cocktail of a variety of fruits, chopped into small cubes, drenched with creamy sauce and then topped off with granola, pecans, raisins, shredded coconut and sometimes honey. Try it!! Visually appealing and delicious you wouldn’t think of anything more summery and tropical than a bionico tossed in a mixture of yogurt, Pina Colada smoothie (a delicious tropical treat that tastes like pineapple and coconut. Texture resembles smoothie when blended) and chia seeds. When topped with granola and coconut, this street food beats all surprises. Few even prefer the combination of condensed milk, sour cream or yoghurt, instant coffee and vanilla. A great snack, you just couldn’t get any better than this of a street side dessert!!
A quick 20 minute dessert, seviyan is a perfectly creamy, delicious milk based dessert where primary ingredient is thin vermicelli; nothing like the regular one. The magic unfolds when whole milk, sugar, saffron, and roasted mixed nuts are mixed with it. Stirred well on low heat and then served once it pipes down, it turns into a delectable feast of flavors. Spices and toppings change hands as you like.
Kesari, closely resembling seviyan, is essentially lightly roasted broken vermicelli pieces that are slow cooked in milk and sugar and infused with cardamom, rose or saffron. A kesari parfait when laced with light creamy custard and layered with crunchy almonds and chewy raisins, orchestrates a symphony of flavors once served in glass. Ask for a dollop of custard as topping and this insanely good sin food would jack up your senses roof high!
Green Tea Honey Frozen Yogurt
If your idea of a fruit dessert is a can of packed fruits or a weary looking loaf of fruit cake, just take a moment off and think twice. Fruits are perfect in pie, work best when fresh and crunchy tucked away within layers of creamy cake or as a tasty topping on a crumb tart. And when combined with the right ingredients will satisfy any sugar fiend guilt free. Green tea honey frozen dessert is one such good bet. Easy to make, it has exactly the kind of flavor you would expect and is a tad lighter than traditional ice cream. A low key take on classic green tea matcha ice cream, this green tea and honey flavored frozen dessert is a surprisingly perfect summer treat. The honey and green tea do a great job of balancing all the flavors while the yoghurt packs a powerful protein punch that will see you through the day.
When you want to cut down on sugar and still get your dessert fix, there’s a way to have the best of bonne bouche; from cakes and brownies to ice creams and cookies that use natural sweeteners or sugar replacements. All you need to do is believe and behave like the newlyweds for a while who do things a little differently. For once break away and think of treating yourself with the most indulgent and stunning but guilt free sweet street food and who knows this could be your special day! Don’t let those no bake no brainer organic, dairy and gluten free desserts fascinate you enough to bite let alone binge!! After all;
“Eating and living healthy is not always about punishment or sacrifice!!”