What is it about eating food outdoors that makes it taste so good? When you’re out and about and in need of something small to keep you going, stopping at a roadside vendor or street cart is often the best and tastiest option instead of a full meal. This issue we’ve collected together some of our favourite chaat recipes so you can replicate this at home, either as side dishes for your main meals or as a tasty snack, breakfast or small meal in their own right.

Khaman Dhokla

Khaman Dhokla
Khaman Dhokla

Ingredients:

For Batter:

  • 250g Bengal Gram flour / Besan/ Chickpea flour
  • ½ cup Curd/Yogurt
  • ½ cup Water
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Pinch of Turmeric
  • 1-2tsp Green Chilli paste (as per taste)
  • 1tsp Sugar
  • ¼ tsp Lemon juice
  • 1-1/4 tsp Eno fruit salt
  • Salt (to taste)

For seasoning:

  • Mustard Seeds
  • Curry leaves
  • Grated coconut
  • Coriander leaves
  • Little water + Oil to be topped on dhoklas

Method:

  1. Mix first 1/2 cup curds with 1/2 water. To this add the besan and mix well to get a smooth batter, of dropping not pouring consistency. Slowly add more water if needed, then add the baking soda. Put aside to rise for 1 hour. 
  2. If you are using a pressure cooker, fill the pan with water and locate a plate or dish which fits snugly inside for steaming the dhoklas, such as a Thali plate. To the batter, mix in the lemon juice, oil, salt, sugar, green chilli paste and turmeric powder. Mix well. This has to be done just before pouring onto the plate.
  3. Meanwhile have the pan on stove, and let the water start boiling. When the water reaches the rolling stage add the eno to the batter (Save a little of the eno for dusting on the plate), and mix gently until you see bubbles coming out. After adding the eno the batter should not rest.
  4. Dust or sprinkle the plate with eno. Then immediately pour the batter onto the plate or dish. Place the plate carefully inside the pressure pan and cover with lid. You need not use the whistle. After covering you will find steam coming out of the outlet, simmer and don’t disturb for almost 5 -7 minutes. The batter should be filled halfway as it will rise up. Amount of sugar can be increased on preference.
  5. After 5 -7 minutes, remove the lid and check using a toothpick or knife. If the knife comes out clean and does not have any batter sticking, then it is done. Cover and let it remain on the flame for 1 min, then switch off the heat and rest for a further 5 minutes.
  6. In a bowl, mix 3 tsp of water along with a tsp of oil. Remove the plate from the pan, pour the water and oil mix over the top. For seasoning, heat a pan with oil, add curry leaves, sesame seeds, mustard seeds and finely chopped green chillies. When mustard starts popping, remove and pour over the dhokla. Leave to cool slightly and serve with tamarind chutney.

 

Bhel Puri

(Credit Stu Spivack)
Bhel Puri (Credit Stu Spivack)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups puffed rice (murmura, kurmura)
  • 1 cup fine sav (vermicelli-like snack made from gram flour)
  • 1 cup papdi,broken in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup of chopped boiled potatoes
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes with seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • 4 tablespoon of hari cilantro chutney
  • 4 tablespoon of tamarind chutney
  • 1 tablespoon minced green pepper (optional)
  • 1tbsp lemon juice (optional)

Method:

  1. In frying pan over medium heat dry roast the puffed rice to restore its crispness for around 4 minutes, and leave to cool.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (puffed rice, sev, papdi, salt) together and mix well. Set aside until ready to serve
  3. Mix chopped potatoes, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, and minced green pepper if using, then set aside.
  4. When ready to serve, combine the dry ingredients with the wet and stir the mixture gently to combine.
  5. Add hari cilantro and tamarind chutney to your taste, making sure the chutney fully coats the bhel puri. Drizzle with lemon juice to taste, if using.

 

Palak Chaat

Palak Chaat
Palak Chaat

Ingredients:

  • 5oz spinach leaves
  • 4 tablespoons besan, gram flour
  • 4 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of water to use as needed
  • Approx 1 inch of oil in pan for frying

Method:

  1. Clean and pat dry the spinach. Keep about 10 large spinach leaves aside; chop the remaining spinach very fine, this will be about 2 cups of chopped spinach.
  2. Next make the batter to fry the spinach leaves, mix 2 tablespoons of besan, 2 tablespoons of corn starch, ¼ teaspoon of salt and a little black pepper. Add approx. 2 tablespoons of water slowly to make a batter. The batter should be thin in consistency, but still should be able to cover the spinach entirely when dipped in.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Frying pan should have approx. 1inch of oil. To check if the oil is ready, put a small drop of batter in the oil. The batter should rise and float, but not change colour right away.
  4. Dip the spinach leaves in the batter one at a time and slowly drop into the frying pan. Fry the spinach until both sides are light gold. Turn them occasionally. This will take about 2 minutes. Put aside for serving.
  5. To the remaining batter add chopped spinach, salt, 2bsps corn starch and the remaining besan. Mix well: this should be the consistency of soft dough, so add water as needed.
  6. Taking about 1 tablespoon of batter at a time, shape into small balls and drop them into the oil. Fry the pakoras until they are golden brown, which should take about 4-5 minutes. Take them out and pat excess oil away with paper towels.

 

Aloo Chaat

Spices for Aloo Chaat
Spices for Aloo Chaat

Ingredients:

  • About 4 cups cubed potatoes, firmly boiled, peeled and cut into bite size
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon green chilli finely chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Spice mix:

  • 1 tablespoon roasted cumin seed powder (bhuna jeera)
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoons black salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon asafetida powder (or an even mixture of garlic and onion powder)
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder (saunth)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Method:

  1. Mix all of the spices together well to create the aromatic spice mix and set aside.
  2. Heat a heavy flat frying pan on a medium high heat and add in the oil. Place the cubed potatoes into the frying pan and sprinkle the salt over. Stir fry the potatoes, turning them occasionally until all sides are golden brown. This process should take 8-10 minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and sprinkle ginger, cilantro, green chillies, lemon juice and about 1-1/2 tablespoons of spice mix. Mix it well, making sure all the pieces of potatoes are coated.
  4. Taste one of the potatoes and add more spice mix and salt/pepper if needed according to your taste.

 

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