Crisp savoury spiced crackers, topped with a little bit of mashed potato, a dot of spicy green chutney and a dash of sweet tangy tamarind chutney, sprinkled with wee bit of black salt-cumin powder and finally garnished with fried chickpea vermicelli(.. Don’t ROFL wicked sisters/teasing husband/rowdy friends and dear fellow Indian..this description is for those who don’t know what chaat is)
(Stay with me)
Now pick this beautifully decorated cracker, put the whole thing in your mouth… no bite shite… the whole cracker…sit back.. explosive mouthful of sweet, spice, tang, soft potato, crisp cracker…sigh! heaven!
What you just ate was a SEV PURI.
I haven’t met one Indian who hasn’t grown up eating Chaat, typically served at road side stalls. The health freak in my house keeps me on my toes with his eating habits.. but the same guy makes an exception for the love of his life(not me) — CHAAT. He has kept one day in a week when he indulges in food, and every time its chaat what he wants. Have I magnified the glory of this stupendous Indian street food enough?
Well.. a very important integral component of this type of food is a sweet tangy mildly spiced Tamarind Jaggery chutney. Addition of dates adds to the taste and health value of this highly muti purpose dip. The flavors are so extreme and intense that just a wee bit is enough for every bite.
Since the rains are creating quite a havoc, we generally refrain from eating out, especially street side fare. So, with all of us dying for mouthwatering(literally) plates of sev puri, bhel puri and pani puri, I set out to satiate those cruel cravings. Starts with me preparing this tangy tamarind dip. Its a wonderful puree, which once made, can stay refrigerated for over 3 months!
- 1 cup dates, deseeded
- 1 cup tamarind, pitted and cleaned
- 1 cup jaggery, if its hard, you might want to soften and broken into small pieces.
- 1 tsp black salt or kala namak
- 1 tsp red chili powder or as you desire
- 1 tsp ground roasted cumin powder
Soak the dates, tamarind in warm water for atleast 30 minutes.
Then remove excess water, grind dates, tamarind and jaggery to a smooth puree. Using a proper sieve, remove the hard bits and any fine tamarind hair or skin. Did I confuse you? I just mean: Sieve it to get a clear smooth semi thick puree.
Now, transfer the contents into a pan, add salt, chili powder and boil for at least 10 minutes.
It tastes perfectly fine without boiling too, but if you need to store it, boiling is best.
Let it cool completely. Transfer into air tight containers and use as required.
Note: Dates give this chutney an awesome body and consistency. They enhance the taste and needless to add boost your iron content.
Note: If you do not want to use tamarind, you can substitute with dry mango powder.
The garden outside my apartment surprised me with a deep peach gorgeous Hibiscus. Could not refrain from my clicking and admiring… and sharing it with you guys 🙂
So, dear friends, if you’re new to chaat, start with this chutney, try it as a dip with fritters/corn chips, dab it on your sev puri, stir it in your mint water, mix it in dal-lentil soup… and just see how it transforms your little bite into a mouthful.
This post is my entry to Vardhini’s of CooksJoy event of Chaat and and Chutneys