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August 09, 2005

Chatpati Channa Chaat

What I like about Chatpati Channa Chaat is that you soak, drain, and sprout the little Indian chick peas with their dark skins before cooking them. I tasted them sprouted and they would make a fine salad raw. If you want to follow the recipe, which says to cook them, then give them the briefest of cooking, just to take away the raw edge, a matter of minutes. I did not have green chili, so left it out--turned out that the salad was spicy enough without them--and there was no need for any oil. The salad stays fresher without oil, especially in hot weather. I also added fresh chopped coriander.

I also liked that the recipe calls for Chat Masala, which is a whole story unto itself. Here are two recipes: Chat Masala #1, Chat Masala #2. Suffice it to say that Chat Masala contains several ingredients that intrigue me, first among them black salt, which deserved and got its own entry, asafoetida (hing) and amchoor (dried mango powder), and the garam masala that I had made myself. Some recipes call for ajwain and fennel.

chaat.2.jpg Turns out Chat Masala is a little ayurvedic essay--the black salt, ajwain, and asafoetida are all digestive aids. And, once I found myself there I was inspired by Lara's paean to bhel puri. I will try it with organic puffed grains and flakes (amaranth, spelt, rice, millet, corn, rice), based on this recipe. The image of bhel puri is from Beck's & Posh, Sam Breach's food blog. While you can see all the puffed and crispy tidbits very nicely, apparently this bhel puri fell short of the ideal because it lacked sufficient fresh ingredients.

Chaat, Indian snacks, are a salad lover's dream, especially (but not exclusively) bean salads. Moong bean chat tomorrow. Nice variations include lime juice, diced boiled potatoes, diced carrot, and grated coconut.

Posted by BKG at August 9, 2005 03:51 PM

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