Chickpea Masala Salad (Chaat)
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This is an easy and delicious snack to make, specially if you use tinned chickpeas in brine. It is a popular snack in most Indian homes. The Hindi words 'chaat' and 'chaatna' mean something you lick and to lick respectively. This dish comes under a selection of dishes which make you want to lick the plate clean! Serves 4-6
450 gm. or 15 oz. tin of chickpeas in brine (Garbanzo Beans or Kabuli Chana)
1 large potato
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped or thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 green chilli , finely chopped (I do not remove seeds)
2 tbsp. fresh coriander leaves (hara dhania)
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp. cumin seeds
2 tbsp. Chat Masala (you can buy it ready made from Indian stores
1/2 tsp. chilli powder (optional)
1-2 tbsp. natural yoghurt per person, lightly beaten (optional)
3-4 tbsp. Tamarind sauce (you can buy ready made, bottled tamarind sauce from Indian stores
Boil the potato in a microwave or in a pan of water. Cool and remove skin. Chop into small pieces.
Roast the cumin seed on a griddle and grind coarsely, either in a mortar or by rolling under a rolling pin. Keep aside.
Drain and wash the Chickpeas. Transfer to a bowl.
Add chopped potatoes, onions, green chillies, tomatoes, chopped coriander, half of the chilli powder and half of the cumin powder and salt to taste. Remember that chickpeas are already salted. Mix gently.
Divide equally in 4-6 serving plates.
Top with a 1/2 -1 tablespoon of yoghurt, a little tamarind sauce and serve. To make it look more attractive, you can garnish with a few more chopped coriander leaves, a sprinkling of chilli powder and ground cumin.
An alternative way of serving is to leave all the ingredients in separate bowls and let people help themselves. In this case, make more of the garnishes like tomatoes, onions, coriander leaves, green chillies, yoghurt, tamarind sauce and serve alongside the chickpeas you have just prepared. Leave chilli powder, ground roast cumin and salt in small dishes, so that people can add these according to their taste.
You can serve it with a green chutney, as well as the tamarind sauce. Most Indians will serve it with both.
You can also add one chopped apple or a handful of fresh pomegranate seeds or one chopped guava, to give it more colour and some sweetness.
You can make a similar salad/chaat with a tin of boiled or mushy peas, any other type of beans and with boiled potatoes alone.