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Friday, May 4, 2012

Simple Fruit and Veggie Chaat












Chaat (Hindi: चाट) is a term describing savoury snacks, typically served at road-side tracks from stalls or carts in India. With its origins in east India, chaat has become immensely popular in the rest of India and the rest of South Asia. The word derives from Hindi चाट (tasting, a delicacy), from verb "chaatna" चाटना (to lick), from Prakrit चट्टेइ (to devour with relish, eat noisily).

Most chaats originated in Uttar Pradesh, but they are now eaten across South Asia. Some are results of cultural syncretism - for instance, pav bhaji (Bread/bun with cooked and mashed vegetables) reflects a Portuguese influence, in the form of a bun, and bhel puri (Sev puri), was created by a Gujarati migrant to Mumbai.

The chaat specialities vary from city to city. Chaat from Agra and Mathura are famous throughout India. In Hyderabad, chaat is mostly prepared by vendors hailing from Bihar, and is different in taste.

For me this recipe brings back lot of childhood memories. I grew up in Uttar Pradesh. Everyday when the school bell rings and kids are getting ready to come out of closed gates of school, all the street vendors line up by the school gate to sell their goodies to the kids.

Goodies that kids love: Chooran, Imli, Icecream, Snow cones, Snow cones with rabdi and colorful syrups, Gol gappa, Alu tikki, Papdi chaat, Samosa Chat, Channa chat, Roasted peanuts with and without spices, Berries, Falsa, Watermelon, and Guava with spices and lime and of course my favorite of all, this simple, spicy fruit and veggie Chaat.

I loved to copy the exact taste of chaat that was sold by the street vendor by my school. My mom of course was very pleased that I decided to make it at home so that it would refrain me from buying the chaat that was sold by the vendors, who in her eyes don't use the best ingredients and there is always a chance of getting sick due to non hygienic conditions of utensils and tools used. (she was right, but at that time when I was just a kid, and I didn't care :)

Here is my version of recipe. This recipe yields ~ 5-6 servings.


Ingredients:


* 1 Ripe banana cut in to slices

* 2 Potatoes boiled, peeled and cut in small cubes

* 1 Apple cut into small pieces

* 1 English Cucumber cut in to small pieces

* 2 Tomatoes cut in to small pieces

* 1 Juicy lime

* 1 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

* 2 teaspoon roasted Cumin powder

* 2 teaspoon Mango powder

* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

* 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

* 1/2 teaspoon black salt

* 1/2 teaspoon Chaat masala (optional)


Method:


* In a large bowl toss all the cut veggies and fruits with all the spices.

* Drizzle fresh lime juice over them.

* Toss gently until everything is well incorporated.

* Serve chilled or at room temp.



Hints/Suggestions:


* Again this too is very versatile recipe, in addition to fruits and veggies that I used, you can use Pomegranate, Pears, Pineapple, Grapes, Kiwi, Guava or any exotic fruits or veggies that you like.

* Since I was making it exactly the same way like the vendors used to sell so I used the same ingredients (which of course are the one that are least expensive and easy to find all year round) You can vary the amount of one fruit or veggies or omit bananas if you don't care for them.

* Also you can adjust the amount of spices or one particular spice that you like or dislike the most.

* If you don't have all the separate spices as listed above, you can just use 1 and a half tables spoon of Chaat masala that is readily available at local Indian grocer.



Description of Chaat source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_Creative_Commons_Attribution-ShareAlike_3.0_Unported_License

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.

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