Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chaat Street

Dahi Puri by Bombay Foodie

I once tried explaining chaat to an American friend. It's not an entree or a main dish, I told her. For chaat's never eaten at meals. It's for snacking.

So it's finger food, she asked. Or a canape?

Neither, I said. Chaat comes on a plate because its dunked in sauces and its messy. And it's so spicy it makes your eyes water. But it's the best food there is.

By now, my friend sported such a bewildered look that I gave up. You don't explain chaat. You experience it. And preferably, because a little plate of food requires so much work, you don't cook it at home. In fact, chaat always tastes better when eaten off a street cart.

My favorite chaat experiences are dunking puffed golgappas in chilli and tamarind water. And eating that plate of coin sized papdis and dahi vadas drowning in chutneys and yogurt, aptly called bhalla papdi chaat back home.

Then in Mumbai, I made a new favorite. The Dahi Puri - the puffed golgappa filled with spicy mashed potatoes, some sprouted lentils and topped with tamarind chutney that's sweet and savory and spicy at the same time. Also with the extremely spicy cilantro and chilli chutney. Laced with yogurt. And finally garnished with fried gramflour strings as thin as rice vermicelli. Some fresh cilantro too, just for effect. You can't explain the dish, you have to experience it!

6 comments:

Prathibha said...

Simran...the word chaat makes my mouth water anytime..one thing I do not agree wid u...I can eat chaats as a main meal itself..might b an exception but I love them like dat..:)
and guess wat today today is chaats at my place for dinner..:)
but One thing is true..chaats cannot b explained,it has to be experienced..

notyet100 said...

Ya u r right,this word can't be explained it has to be experienced ,missing Delhi chaat

Of rainy days said...

i really like how every region has a fresh take on chaat. i was in calcutta a few months ago, and decided to try their version of sev batata puri, and much to my amazement, the dish had diced coconut and garam masala. a fair amount of garam masala. and i must say i did love the twist.

Swati Sapna said...

Its amazing how almost everyone I know loves chaat! I dont think there is anyone who can resist a good chat whatever the season or the time of day! I used to live in Bandra when I first moved to Mumbai and there was this Chaat guy who used to serve up the most amazing, spicy Sev Puri ever... There are days that I still crave for that Sev Puri :)

Charishma said...

love chaat,i love the simplicity of your blog
following you gladly
http://cheriesstolenrecipes.blogspot.com

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

I love what you said.. Its so true, chaat is an experience! Looks delicious :)