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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Let's Chat about Chaat

As I prepare for our  Indian Street Food booth (with a healthy twist of course!) at the Canmore Folk Fest, it is only appropriate to about the most common form of street food in India - the Chaat!

Chaat (meaning "taste" or "lick") is the umbrella name given to savoury snacks and appetizers in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Most Chaat dishes originated in my state of Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh but it is widely popular all over the Indian & Asian Sub-continent now. It usually comprises of something crunchy, a vegetable or bean layer, chutneys or sauces and of course special spice mixes! Many are eaten cold and some hot. In India, these are typically offered by food carts or specialist restaurants and in the West, in most Indian restaurants. Just as there is so much diversity within Indian food (other than Butter Chicken!), there is just as much in the different types of Chaats.

What I love about Chaat is that it encompasses a real balance in flavours . Take the Chaat I will be making for the Folk Fest: a Healthy Chickpea Chaat. The crunch will be kale (and hemp seeds), the bean: chickpea to be served in a tamarind sauce and also a coconut yoghurt chutney as an optional. The organic spice mix will include cayenne, cumin, mango powder (amchur), coriander, salt and other spices This is quite a tangy dish given the tamarind and yoghurt chutney but the spice mix is well balanced with the hot, pungent, tangy, sweet and mild. Refreshing, gluten free and so good for you!

Other examples of Chaat are:

(small, fried, wheat flour disk piled with potato or chickpeas, tamarind sauce, mint sauce and yoghurt)


(puffed rice to which onions, green chilies, herbs and various sauces are added)

and of course the more popular Samosas and Pakoras!

If you haven't tasted Chaat, add this to your bucket list for sure! If you have, what's your favourite?

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