Known as a salad in the West and a savory snack or “Chaat” in the East. This low-fat dish has traveled a long way from East India to make its way onto Iftar tables in South Asia and lunch/dinner tables across the rest of the world. Chana means chickpea in Urdu and Hindi, whereas chat is derived from a Hindi word meaning “tasting a delicacy”. Keeping true to its name, its fusion of all the right flavors makes it a treat for all food lovers and its low calorie content makes its popularity soar to greater heights.
The acidic and tart flavors of lemon juice, the sweetness of the tamarind water and the cooling taste of mint chutney balances the palette out immaculately. A well made chana chaat will enable you to taste all these flavors independently with each spoonful. Playing around with food textures is also an important part of cooking, and creating this dish gives you that freedom with the crunchy onions, juicy tomatoes and soft chickpeas. Explore the art of South Asian cooking with this simple, low fat yet palette-exciting recipe.
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 potato, boiled and diced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 3-4 green chillies, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup tamarind juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp chaat masala (if available)
- Papri (optional)
- Drain the chickpeas well and place them into a bowl
- Add the vegetables and mix well, making sure not to mash the potatoes in the process
- Add the lemon juice and tamarind juice and combine the ingredients thoroughly. (Note: You can either make the tamarind juice by following the recipe in my earlier blog titled :South Asian Savory Snacks; Sev Puri” or if you are using tamarind paste, then add water to change it into liquid form.)
- Season with salt and chaat masala and give it a final stir. Add a little red chilli powder if you want to make it spicier, something that I enjoy
- Garnish generously with papri and coriander and serve
Papri adds that extra crunch to the chaat which makes the whole experience more enjoyable. You can either purchase papri at a local South Asian store or make it yourself following the recipe on my earlier blog titled “South Asian Savory Snacks; Sev Puri”. If not, then add any other condiment that will fulfill the same purpose such as croutons or any thick-cut potato crisp, anything that does not get soggy very quickly. There are certain variations to this recipe, depending on the taste buds of the chef. Some people like to add sweet yoghurt to their chaat to make it less spicy and more watery. But my penchant for spicy food makes me stick to the recipe above. Whatever your palette desires and whatever time of day it is, chaat or chickpea salad can be whipped up and devoured in no time.