Chaat, a generic term for snacks and munchies sold by street food vendors in India (and often made at home,) are a popular party favorite and alludes to a mélange of savory ingredients brought together with a signature tangy Chaat taste.
It’s worth knowing that the quintessential tang of an Indian Chaat comes from two key ingredients which can be used interchangeably in most recipes if required; amchur or dried mango powder (also adds great flavor to vegetables and meat dishes) and Chaat masala (a blend of amchur, black salt, and few other Indian spices,) both of which are easily available online and at grocery stores. In their absence, it’s fine to substitute with more lime/lemon juice, ground black pepper and salt.
There’s no limit to the variety of Chaat on the Indian food scene (as you’ll find out in the Chaat cookbook by Tarla Dalal, a doyen of Indian vegetarian cooking from Mumbai, who passed away last month.)
Today’s elegant holiday appetizer is my take on the much loved ‘Chana Chaat’, chickpeas with a spicy zing that works well as an appetizer with cocktails, and brings Indian flavors to your next get-together.
I prefer roasting the chickpeas in a spiced oil marinade and then assembling them into a Chaat preparation which can be served just as-is in nut bowls. Or since most Chaat preparations back in India are accompanied by thick crisp wafers called ‘Papdi’, add a similar touch by serving a bowlful of Chaat on a platter with tortilla chips.
Take it up a notch and serve mini Fillo (phyllo) pastry shells or cups filled with the Spicy Roasted Chickpeas and Cucumber Chaat, on an elegant platter for incredible mouthfuls of crisp appetizer bites.
This recipe is part of my cookbook ‘Spice Up Your Celebration’ which offers Indian Inspired recipes for your occasions, holidays and entertaining. Click This Link for Details.
Using old Indian entertaining wisdom and today’s modern approach to food from a global perspective, my cookbook ‘Spice Up Your Celebration’ offers an easy to prepare collection of mouthwatering recipes that can be used for any occasion from intimate family and friends dinners, to hosting larger holiday celebrations.
As always, my dishes are inspired by India’s varied and flavorful smorgasbord of regional cuisines and made with everyday fresh ingredients, basic spices and simple step-wise directions.
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