Potato Chaat (Alu Chaat)
The Hindi word chaat means lick or to lick. Chaat dishes are so delicious that they make you want to lick your plate/fingers or smack your lips. The word Chaat is used for a group of hot, spicy, tangy, vegetarian snacks from north India, where they are traditionally sold by locally well recognised street hawkers. Chaats are specially popular in the evenings, when people go out in the cool of the evenings to do their shopping or for walks. You can see people standing all around a Chaat Wallas cart, eating from their disposable plates, often licking their plates clean. They were traditionally served in plates made from dry leaves of Sal tree, Shorea robusta , held together with thin sticks used as pins. These days, plates are either paper ones or made by pressing leaves in moulds, to make small plates (pattal) and bowls (dona). Serves 4
4 medium potatoes, roughly one per person. If they are small potatoes, you will need more. You should have enough potatoes to give one helping each per person
1 cup oil, enough for deep-frying
1 tsp. roasted cumin powder*
Salt to taste
1 tsp. Chat Masala
1/2 tsp. chilli powder, adjust to taste (there are chillies in chutneys too)
1 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 small bunch of coriander leaves, stalks removed and finely chopped
1 green chilli per person, top and tail removed and finely chopped
2 tbsp. Green Mango/apple Chutney per person (this can be made in bulk and frozen well in small jars)
2 tbsp. Imli Chutney per person
Chopped coriander leaves for garnish (this can be made in bulk and frozen well in small jars)
*Cumin is dry roasted on a griddle pan and then coarsely ground
Boil potatoes in their skin Indians usually boil potatoes with their skin and peel afterwards. Potatoes should be just cooked, not breaking up- al dente.
Peel and chop into bite sized pieces, sort of cubes.
Heat oil in a wok and deep fry potatoes, till golden brown. Take out and drain on kitchen paper or old Newspaper.
Place potatoes in a bowl, add roast cumin powder, chaat masala, salt red chilli powder and mix gently.
Serve in 4 plates, with both the chutneys in small bowls and chopped onions, coriander leaves and green chillies. Each person can add garnish to their own taste. Traditionally, Aloo chat will be topped with onions, coriander and green chillies, with both the chutneys spooned over
Also see Chaat Selection.