An Indian savory that is sure to tickle your taste buds is the Indian Chaat. It is a road side snack that is relished more while standing on a roadside cart or a stall. Popularly known as the “Paani Poori” it is relished as if there is no tomorrow and it is the last time one is eating the delicacy. There are many variations to the original chaat but whatever the chaat form would be the taste lingers on in your senses for long.
Plating a chaat is very simple and it is for sure going to be hit with all your friends. The simplest version of the chaat is the “Papdi Chaat”. The first and foremost ingredient for Papdi chaat is the Papdi which is a crisp bread made from all-purpose flour. For making Papdi take a cup of all-purpose flour and add 1/2 tsp onion seeds popularly known as “Kalonji” in India. To this add a tbsp of ghee or oil and knead it into a form of smooth dough. Roll out the dough and cut it into small circular rotis. Deep fry these till the rotis turn golden brown. Keep them to cool down for some time.
Now is the time to put the chaat together. Other ingredients required to make this lip smacking dish are boiled potatoes cut into small wedges, coriander leaves finely chopped, “sev” which is vermicelli made of gram flour, boiled chickpeas and curd. But the most important ingredient is the “Saunth”. “Saunth” is tangy and sweet chutney that enhances the chaat by leaps and bounds.
To prepare “saunth” one needs 3/4th cup grated jaggery, 1/2 cup seedless tamarind, 1/2 tsp cumin power and 1/2 tsp ginger powder. Ginger powder is called saunth in India. Soak tamarind in 2 cup water and add ingredients to it and bring it to boil. Simmer it till the required consistency of the chutney is achieved. Once the saunth is ready it is time to plate the chaat. Layer the papadis with a mixture of potato wedges, boiled chickpeas, curd, coriander, sev and above all the zesty saunth chutney.
Other types of Chaat popular are aalo chaat and aalo tikki. The main ingredient in aalo chaat and aalo tikki is potatoes. For aalo chaat, boiled potato is cut into small pieces and served with boiled chickpeas, curd, coriander chutney and spices like the chaat masala. For aalo tikki, potatoes are boiled, mashed, mixed with onions and spices and made into cutlets. These are shallow fried and served with tangy Saunth chutney, finely chopped fresh ginger and chopped onions.
Another version of chaat that is famous in western India especially Mumbai is the Bhelpuri. Whenever someone talks of Bhelpuri or Sevpuri one is straight away transported to “Chawpaty” of Mumbai which is a hub of these savories. Bhelpuri is popular as “Churmuri” in southern India and “Jhal Muri” in Kolkota. To make Bhelpuri one has to use puffed rice, sev, boiled potatoes finely cut into wedges, onions and to top it up with flavorsome chutney.
Do try these roadside savories and simply get engulfed in the flavors of India.