Chaat was one of my favourite finds on my last trip to India, It’s north Indian street food at its very best and can be found on the street corner carts where the food is all wrapped up in newspaper cones. Never two street vendors have the exact same ingredient and every part of India has its own local unique version of this tasty street dish.
It’s a cross between a salad and a snack with an explosion of colour and taste. It has spice, sweet, savoury as well as crunch then sauce, spicy pops and cooling yoghurt, you never know what you’re going to find from one mouth-full to the next.
The great thing about chaat it there are no rules, so add in what you think works. It is a great way of using all the leftovers from the fridge from roast potatoes or sweetcorn to popping in the leftover chickpea curry from last nights dinner to a samosa or two, anything goes but this recipe below will get you started.
Also a note to remember as there are so many layers, some wet and some dry in this dish you need to serve and eat straight away to get its full effect.
For the roasted chickpeas
2 tins of chickpeas
1 tbsp of rapeseed oil or coconut oil
1 tsp masala powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt & black pepper (garlic salt is good here too)
Small tub of Natural yoghurt
A good handful of mint leaves
clove of garlic or 1 tsp of garlic pure
For the salad
1 red onion
1 red pepper
6 medium tomatoes
bunch of coriander leaves
2 chillies for mild, 4 chillies for medium or 8 chillies super hot
8 tbsp pomegranate seeds
Juice and zest from a whole lemon
Tamarind or mango chutney
4 tbsp Bombay mix
Start by putting the oven on gas mark 6/ 225C/ 440F to heat up.
Drain your chickpeas if you are using tins of chickpeas and place into a mixing bowl. (you can use dried chickpeas but they will need to be soaked the night before and boiled for 45 mins first).
Add to your bowl the rapeseed oil, the masala powder, chilli powder, cumin seeds, salt and pepper. Give the ingredients in the bowl a good mix and then pour into a baking tray and pop into the heated oven for 25 minutes or until the chickpeas are crispy.
For the mint sauce, simply put the yoghurt, fresh mint, garlic and half a lemon juice into a blender and give it a blitz until smooth. Add a little salt and pepper to taste.
For the salad chop the onion, pepper, tomatoes, cucumber to approximately the same size as a chickpea and the chillies chop a little smaller. This is the point where I have to admit that I like things spicy so I include all the seeds from the chillies too, but if your taste buds are not up to the heat then remove the seeds and just slice the flesh only or omit the chilli altogether if you prefer.
Now put all the salad ingredient in a bowl and mix together with the coriander leaves, pomegranate seeds, the other half of the lemon juice also grate a little of the zest for some extra zing if your lemon is un-waxed. Give the ingredients a good mix.
Add your crunchy cooked chickpeas to the bowl and give it one last mix before serving into 4 bowls.
Now for the fun part add a spoon of your mint sauce, a spoon full of your favourite Indian chutney and lastly a sprinkle of Bombay mix to the top of each bowl to give a real crunch, enjoy with a lovely glass of authentic Masala Chai tea.
A little note a spoonful of lime pickle works on this too:)
Recipe and photography credit to Lara Jane Thorpe