Without a doubt, there are very few South Asian households that will not be feasting on chana chaat during Ramadan. And with the heat and humidity of Hong Kong, this cool concoction of chickpeas, mint, coriander, tomato, onion, creamy yoghurt and tangy tamarind chutney packs in a carousel of flavours and textures that leave you craving for more. I make a batch of chutney and pop it in the freezer during Ramadan; that way I know that the spices and sugar are just perfect – as there’s no tasting while you’re fasting!
Fasting or not, I always keep an emergency supply of tinned chickpeas in my kitchen cupboard so that when my taste buds need cheering up, this chaat dish can come to the rescue within minutes. It’s simple and easy, and I’ve adapted it to make sure you can get hold of all the ingredients needed without too much trouble. Tried and tested over and over again, this chana chaat gets nods of satisfaction whenever I serve it up to friends and family.
Week 4: chana chaat
Prep time: 30 min
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 tin chickpeas, drained
- handful fresh coriander, chopped
- handful fresh mint, chopped
- 220g natural yoghurt
- ½ tsp chaat masala (or generous sprinkling of salt and pepper)
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 2 plums or 5–6 dates, boiled, softened to a pulp and seeds removed
- 1–2 tsp concentrated tamarind paste
- 150ml water
- sugar, to taste
- handful fresh coriander
- handful fresh mint
- 1 small green chilli
- pinch of salt
For the crispy topping:
- Bombay mix (available in small packets at any Indian grocery store)
- chaat masala (available at any Indian grocery store), optional for a spicy kick
- To make the yoghurt topping, beat the yoghurt until smooth, then add the chaat masala (or salt and pepper) and sugar and mix thoroughly.
- To make the tamarind chutney, place the prepared plums or dates into a small jug, then add the water, tamarind paste, sugar, coriander, mint, chilli and salt.
- Using a hand blender or liquidiser, blend the ingredients together until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add more water for a sauce-like consistency. Note that the chutney should be a bit sweet to taste. If it’s not sour enough for your liking, add a tiny bit more tamarind paste.
- To serve, mix all the chaat base ingredients together in a large serving dish.
- Place the individual toppings (yoghurt, tamarind chutney, Bombay mix and chaat masala) into small bowls.
- Take 3–4 tbsp of the chaat base and top with 2 spoons of yoghurt, a drizzle of chutney, some Bombay mix and a sprinkling of chaat masala, if you want it a bit spicy.
- Chana chaat can be served in a large serving dish or in individual small bowls. Alternatively, you can place the main ingredients in separate small serving bowls so that people can construct their own chaat based on their preferences.
- All the components of the chaat can be made beforehand and kept in the fridge in airtight containers. Just take out when you are ready to serve. The chutney can also be frozen.
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