Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Healthy Chaat - MLLA 23, Weekend Herb Blogging

I love chaat. I can have it any time of day/ year...but the only thing that is a hindrance is that most forms of chaat are made of fried goodies - aloo tikki, papdi, fried potatoes...Given my constant attempts at losing weight and at eating healthy, that does pose a problem.

But recently while having some failed dahi wadas at a friend's house, I had a brilliant inspiration. The things that are really fabulous about chaat and that make it so tongue-ticklingly fab are the contrast of flavours - sweet, sour, spicy and salty - and textures - crisp, soft, mushy all at once. How about recreating that in a calorie-friendly form?

So here's what I came up with, and it was a huge success at a lunch party - so cuccessful that it's become standard lunch fare for me in this hot Delhi summer.

Green chutney
Date-tamarind chutney ( sonth)
1 chopped onion
1 cup sprouted moong beans
Chaat masala ( optional) - 1 tsp

Mix the sprouts with the onions. Add the chutneys and yogurt and mix well ( check if salt level is right, you might need to add some). Top with chaat masala, if desired and garnish with a few green grapes cut in half, or pomegranate bits. You can also add a sprinkling of sev if you like.

Green Chutney
Given my love for green leafies, I love chutneys that are green. This one is simple and a winner - I always have some on hand in the fridge and the freezer, and it goes with everything - toast, sandwiches, rotis, pakoras, chips...

1 handful coriander( just chop off the root end of the stalk, but you can use the rest of the stalks)
1 tbsp raw peanuts (I prefer using the ones with skin on)
3-4 garlic pods, peeled
Juice of 1 lime
2-3 green chillies, depending on how hot you like it

Just blitz until it becomes a smooth mix and add salt to taste

Date-Tamarind Chutney
Chaat cannot be made without this tongue-tantalizing chutney, which blends the sweet thickness of dates with the tartness of tamarind to form the perfect Indian melange of sweet, sour, salty. I got this recipe from Tarla Dalal's chaat cookbook. This can be stored in the fridge for upto 1 month.

2 cups dates deseeded
1/4 cup tamarind deseeded
1 cup jaggery, grated ( or use brown sugar)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
a pinch asafoetida (heeng)

Wash the dates and tamarind and place them in a saucepan. Add the jaggery, chilli powder, asafoetida, salt and 4 cups of water and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool and strain the mixture through a sieve. Use as required. Store refrigerated.

The measurements given here should work - remember that the taste has to be aggressively sweet-sour.

This is my entry for
MLLA23, hosted by the original creator of this wonderful event, Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook , and for Weekend Herb Blogging # 232, hosted by Lynnylu.


Susan said...

Dates, tamarind, and jaggery sound divine together. I would be thrilled to dine at your table, served this lively and healthy dish.

Thanks for joining in MLLA 23, Bird's Eye View!

bird's eye view said...

You're welcome, susan. And drop by any time :)

christine said...

I see that you’re interested and fascinated in food stuffs. This is awesome Chaat. You see, we have this food site Foodista.com (http://www.foodista.com) that is a food and cooking encyclopedia that everyone and anyone can edit. Maybe you are interested in sharing some of recipes to us or share your knowledge about food stuffs and techniques, or maybe you just like to write reviews about food, restaurant and recipes...why don't you visit us sometimes, if its food you're interested in, then we are interested in you. Don't hesitate to check us out.

I hope to see you there.


Sukhdeepak said...

Very delicious and mouth watering dish.

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steven said...

Gorgeous recipe. Thanks for reminding me of what I am sure I would have never thought of!

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