Crunchy, sweet, sour and spicy – the wide variety of chaat in India is unique till date. Be it the crowd-pleasing gol gappas or the simple aloo chaat, every street dish has its own loyal fan base. What started on the streets with our local chaat wala bhaiya eating thali after thali has reached the international stage today.
From Sara Todd of MasterChef Australia making Bhel Puris to Chef Ali Stoner experimenting with air fryer papdi chaat, India’s favorite food has made its way globally, and found its way into high-end restaurants as well. Is. But what is it about this savory delight that is so delicious for the international palate?
According to Chef Mehrwan Irani, owner of Indian street food restaurant Chai Pani in North Carolina (USA) and a 2022 winner of the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant, “Chaat enhances the perception of most foreigners about Indian food. Unlike most home-style cooking or restaurant-style dishes, which tend to be gravy-based, or monochromatic in appearance and taste; Chaat is colourful, multicolored and with complementary flavours. There’s an excitement when trying street food, like you’ve wandered into a place where traditional rules don’t apply and every bite is a delicious surprise. ,
And chef and entrepreneur Tarun Sibal is also inclined to agree. He says, “I am not surprised that chaats are loved internationally as well. They are an amalgamation of textures. It is a flavor bomb and I am glad that it has traveled so well. We have Indians across the globe. And that has helped too. But the unique uniqueness of the chaat, the spicy and tangy profile, and combined with it make a tantalizing work for the chaat to do more.”
Chef Rakhi Vaswani believes that our chaat savors the exotic taste as it also has a balance of flavours. She says, “We balance the spice of the chutney by adding curd. Then we add a lot of crunchy ingredients and our Indian food is all about the flavours. ,
While to some people the idea of serving street food in an expensive hotel might sound a bit ridiculous, chefs around the world are experimenting with ingredients to serve a dish that brings a complete gastronomical experience. Just ask Chef Himanshu Saini of Treskind Mumbai and Treskind Studios in Dubai, which serve a pani puri as an appetizer in their 14-course-meal and he says, “Pani puri is a crowd favorite. We have tried a variety of flavored waters such as arugula, cucumber, cumin, etc. We have also experimented with the filling by adding preserved pears, feta cheese, sweet potatoes. ,
Experimental chaat along with Pizza Sev Puri, Chicken Gol Gappa or Gulab Jamun Chaat is garnering mixed response from internet users on social media. Vaswani’s experiments are minimal as he adds his own spin to chaat recipes as well and says, “There is a very thin line of food that sets it apart. The chutney is like a jam and you can add to bread or scones or you can add our Indian spices like fennel, cinnamon, chili powder, cumin, hing and use it in your chaat. I used cranberries to make sweet chutney and used it in my chaat. ,
Sahil Sambhi, a Delhi-based restaurateur at Molecule Air Bar, serving unconventional chaat items like puchka shots, believes that since chaat has always been an integral part of our culture, and there is so much of it, it is definitely part of our fines. Should be. Dining experience as well. “Keeping chaat off the menu is half-heartedly representing Indian cuisine,” he says.
At Chai Pani, Irani serves dishes like kale pakoras and bhindi fries, which have also developed a strong fan base. He explains, “That is the beauty of chaat, you can understand it in many ways. I like to incorporate seasonal and local ingredients in my dishes. We regularly make corn bhel in summers, sweet potato chaat in autumn, and sweet potato chaat in autumn. Green tomato or Brussels sprouts pakoras offer green mango chaat in spring.”
Sibal’s crispy crispy chaat Chantilly with curd, beetroot saunth has earned good reviews from patrons at his Goa based culinary bar and restaurant – Titli. He also made an avocado mousse papdi with raw mango salsa at Street Stories, Bangalore. His latest creation is Dahi Khakhra Churi, with toffee, goli and churan, which, he says, “takes him back to his school days.”
If one is to represent India on the global gourmet front, it has to be with the humble chaat, says chef Ashish Singh of Cafe Delhi Heights. “Everyone wants to eat street food but people have become health conscious, and do not want to indulge in roadside joints. This is where we come. For example, we use brown bread in our bread pakoras, and we have retained the authentic taste, shape and taste. We do not use any artificial ingredients to make gol gappas sour.”
Although experimenting with food is certainly enjoyable for chefs, it depends on people whether the experiments are a hit or a hit, say Miss and Saini. “We have to satisfy everyone while being innovative—it’s a delicate There is balance. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that the patrons come back and for that, I need to accept what people want. ,
Sweet Potato Chaat
3 medium sized sweet potatoes
1 tbsp oil or ghee
salt to taste
1 tsp cumin powder
fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-3 green chilies
coriander and mint leaves
Roasted and coarsely ground peanuts 2-3 tbsp
Dates and Tamarind Chutney (optional)
pomegranate to garnish
1. Steam the sweet potato on medium flame for 20-25 minutes
2. Fry them in oil or ghee till they turn golden
3. Add salt, cumin powder and freshly squeezed lemon juice as per taste
4. Add green chillies, peanuts and sweet chutney (optional)
5. Sprinkle some green coriander and mint leaves.
6. Decorate with pomegranate at the end
Inputs by Chef Meghna Kamdar