“Chaat” – an assorted savory snacks typically served at
every road side tracks from big outlets to small carts in India, Pakistan
and rest of South Asia. Initially, Chaats were
known as the street food in cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad,
Delhi and few North Indian
States but now has found
a place in the upscale Indian restaurants, weddings and occasions.
The original Chaat is a mixture of potato pieces, crispy
fried bread, gram bean and spices. Other popular Chaat varieties include the Aloo ki Tikkis (mashed potatoes garnished
with onion, coriander, hot spices and dash of curd), Bhel puri, Dahi puri, Pani
puri, Dahi vada, Papdi Chaat, Fruit
chaat and Sev puri. The common elements for preparing the
Chaats are Yoghurt or dahi, chopped onion, coriander, sev (small dried yellow
noodles) and Chaat masala.
masala is a mix of spices consisting of amchur (dried mango
powder), cumin seeds, black salt, coriander, dried ginger, fennel seeds, black
pepper and red pepper. The prerequisite for a tasty and tangy Chaat is the
Chaat masala. Black salt, also commonly known as Kala namak is one of the main
ingredients in this spice blend. Black salt has a distinctive taste and flavor
and is difficult to duplicate. It is high in minerals.
puri is one of the best consumed chaat at the beaches of
Mumbai. It is prepared with puffed rice , boiled mashed potatoes and a tangy
tamarind sauce. There are many variants of Bhelpuri like –
- Sev puri – a mixture of Bhel puri,
Chutney, papdi and sev
- Dahi puri – mixture of bhelpuri,
chutney, papdi, savored with dahi (yoghurt)
papdi chaat – similar to sevpuri, but prepared with 2 to 3 types of
chutney, popatoes and chana masala.
Different chutneys impart a sweet
or spicy flavor and is vital to most of the Chaat recipes. There are two
popular chutneys used, a dark purple sweet one made mainly of dates and
tamarind, and green spicy chutney made of coriander leaves and green chillies.
Chaat are popularly eaten at
snack time and is also a light food especially like by the children for their
spicy, tangy flavor.