Chaat, is I think one of the most popular street foods in North India. And, it is spicy as hell. Like tears running down your cheek sort of spicy and there is nothing like any food you might have eaten. You will see scores of people lining up outside chaat shops waiting to inflict that sort of spicy pain on themselves!
It is also responsible for what is called “Delhi Belly”. If you go to a suspect shop for your chaat, you can go down with a nasty stomach if the ingredients (like yoghurt and the water) aren’t of sound quality. Even with this fear, you will rarely have anyone say no to chaat. It is that good. Now chaat is almost never made at home. It is strictly what you would eat ‘out’. It isn’t more difficult than the scores of Indian recipes but I guess it is one of those foods you like to eat when you go out and are out and about in the streets and happen to desire something spicy. Now the reason chaat is called chaat is because it is a mixture of spices. Lots of tangy stuff.
Chole or chickpeas in India are made very differently from how I have them in this recipe. But I guess that’s the fun of creating. Chickpeas in India are always made the mushy way way, here they are crunchy. I have also toned down the heat in this recipe and you really can adjust still further to suit your palate. This is a fresh dish and its very healthy. You can make it ahead in time and take it to lunch or you can add it as a healthy side dish for dinner. Whichever way, it is simple, delicious and is beautiful to look at.
1 tsp roasted coriander seeds
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp dried mango powder
7-8 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black salt
Grind all ingredients together in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
3 cups chickpeas (from a can)
2 tbsps chaat masala (see recipe above)
2 tbsps fresh rosemary leaves
2 tbsps olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F/205°C.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Gently wash the chickpeas and layout on a kitchen towel to dry. Make sure to pat all excess water off. While you do this you will notice the skin coming off. I like to take the skin off but you can leave it on if you like. It is a lot of work to take them off!
After you have dried them put them on the baking tray and roast for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile mix the chaat masala, olive oil and rosemary leaves.
Take out the chickpeas after ten minutes and rub the masala mixture on them and put back in the oven to roast for another 15-20 minutes or till the chickpeas have nicely browned.
rosemary roasted chaat masala chickpea salad with pomegranate
arils of 1/2 pomegranate
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (roughly chopped)
1 red onion sliced in half moons
1 tsp chaat masala
2-3 fresh green chilies, finely chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
to put salad together
In a deep bowl, toss the cilantro leaves, roasted chickpeas, red onion, green chilies, lime juice, chaat masala and salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pomegranate leaves at the very end.
This salad can be eaten warm or cold.