During our afternoon tea we sit and watch a local man with a very simple set up offering chaat, a savoury snack typical of road side food all over India. The word chaat translates from hindi to mean 'tasty, to lick, to devour with relish and to eat noisily'. The mixture normally is created using potatoes cut into small chunks, chickpeas, tomato, onion, coriander, sour homemade tamarind and chili sauce, yoghurt (dahi) and chaat masala. The mixture is either served, on, in or tossed with small fried discs (papri), balls (pani) or noodle like fried lentil mixture called sev.
The chaat masala mix usually includes amchoor (mango powder) cumin, coriander, black salt, dried ginger and pepper. The result is a savoury, spicy, sweet, sour explosion and for most people they are hooked from the first one. Concerned about the dishes being washed in a bucket of cold water that the cows were also drinking from, we took the basic idea of this tasty snack and made it into a main course salad at home.
Serves 2 for main course, 4 for starter
(makes half a cup)
2 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ajwain seeds
2 dried red chillies
2 tsp amchoor
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp dried ginger powder
- Over low heat in a heavy bottom frying pan over medium low heat roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns and red chillies for a few minutes until they smell fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- Grind to a fine powder along with the other spices.
1 cup chickpeas
3 cups water
1/2 green mango, cut into 1 cm cubes
1 green chilli, minced
1 tbsp grated coconut
- Soak the chickpeas overnight, drain and place in saucepan covered with water. Cook for one hour until soft. Drain and set aside.
- Mix in the rest of the ingredients and season well.
1.5 cups of yoghurt
2 tsp sugar
Salt & pepper
- Whisk ingredients together in a bowl.
1/3 cup dates
2/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup tamarind puree (scroll to the bottom of the page)
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1/2 tsp cayenne
- Soak dates in boiling water for about 30 minutes, blend with the rest of the ingredients until smooth.
To assemble the salad spread the chickpeas in a layer over the bottom of a large plate or shallow bowl. Pour over the yoghurt and then drizzle the tamarind sauce over that. Scatter with touted bread if you like. We use toasted left over chapatis' that we freeze, thaw and bake in the oven with a tablespoon of olive oil at 180 degrees for 5-8 minutes.