Fresh, tangy and fun, that is the essence of chaat. Although it’s known as a roadside snack in Pakistan and India, it was served as more of an after school treat for me and my siblings.
Making it myself, I found that most of the work is in the preparation of the ingredients and then mixing them together by hand which is where you get to sprinkle in the magic ingredient, chaat masala.
Whether you’re adding to the original dish, coating your french fries in it or dusting fresh apples with it, it just adds a sour spicy taste that is unlike anything else.
Make sure you invite your friends round for this one, it’s too good to enjoy alone and the portion size will take one person a week to finish too.
Serves 8-12 people
- 3 chickpeas tins
- 500g white potatoes (any type can be used)
- 2 medium sized red onions
- 2 ½ large red tomatoes
- 2 ½ Laziza Chaat Masala powder (Mum recommends Laziza over other brands but you can use whatever you find, usually this is available at most Asian supermarkets)
- 3 green or red chillis to garnish
- Handful of fresh coriander
- 1/4 fresh lemon to garnish
Imli (tamarind) sauce:
Though it may seem like an effort, this sauce is a key ingredient in some many Chaat dishes, so give it a try. Plus it goes with a lot of things, enjoy what is leftover with samosas or pakoras.
- 200g tamarind block (available at most Asian supermarkets)
- 1tbsp cumin
- 1tbsp salt
- 2tsp red chilli flakes
- 2tbsp brown sugar
- 1 ½ tsp black pepper powder
- 2 small carrots (grated)
- Making the imli sauce comes first as this will take some time to cool, in fact, it may be worth making a batch a day before. Roughly chop up your tamarind block into medium sized pieces and put it on the boil ensuring it’s submerged in water.
- Let the mix simmer for an 1 ½ hrs. The block should have melted into the water and it should appear in a thick sauce like texture.
- Remove it from the heat and using either a fork or potato masher, press the tamarind mix to extract as much liquid as possible.
- You will see a contrast between the thick paste left and liquid in the pan, pour everything through a sieve and push the paste to strain the imli sauce through.
- Once you’ve repeated the process a few times, leave your imli sauce in the fridge to cool.
- On to the main event, the chaat itself. Starting with the potatoes, peel and dice them into small pieces that are around a centimetre wide. Place these to boil with 1/2 tsp of salt. Leave until they are just boiled, they should be soft but retain their shape.
- In the meantime, finely dice your onions and tomatoes to a size similar to the potatoes. A good tip for the tomatoes is to remove some of the juice from the inside as this can make the chaat watery.
- Next step is the chickpeas, remove them from the tins and wash under the tap for a few seconds. Soften them up in a hot pan with boiling water for about 5 mins. Drain and pour them into a large bowl.
- It’s now time for the spices, to the chickpeas add the star of the show, 1 heaped tablespoon of chaat masala and 1 ½ of salt. Mix with clean hands and taste, add more salt or masala to taste.
- Add in your potatoes, onions and tomatoes and add an additional 1 ½ tsp of chaat masala on top. Mix gently with your hands ensuring the spices coat all of the vegetables.
- Pour 4 to 5 tbsp of imli sauce into the mix, you can always add more or less depending on how tangy you want the chaat to be. Again mix gently through the mix with your hands.
- Finally add your chopped coriander, finely sliced green chillis and lemon zest to garnish. When you serve up, I would recommend you mix these ingredients into the chaat first. Enjoy 🙂