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.
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.
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
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.