Wednesday, 22 July 2015

PALAK PAKORA CHAAT - MY TOUNGUE GOES TAP DANCING



The moment I hear the word CHAAT my tongue automatically goes into a tap dancing mode. God knows how, why or from where water starts streaming into my mouth and there is a huge smile on my face. For all those who have grown up or lived even for a short while in the Sub-Continent will know exactly what I mean by the above lines. But all of you my dear readers who are not familiar with CHAAT, it is a snack which basically combines the sweet, savoury and tangy flavours perfectly in one truly mouthwatering dish. CHAAT is not the name of one dish prepared using one set of ingredients in one particular manner. CHAAT is actually prepared in many many different variations throughout the length and breadth of the Sub -Continent. 



There are a few ingredients which are an integral part of any CHAAT. They are the indeginous chutneys which give piquant flavours to the CHAT. It is this piquant or as we say CHATPATA taste from which the word CHAAT probably comes from. Another very popular theory on the origin of the word CHAAT is that CHAAT comes from the word CHATNA which literally means to lick and that is exactly what all CHAATS are - FINGER LICKING GOOD.

Also along with it's chutneys CHAAT has yogurt and CHAAT MASALA, roasted cumin powder,red chilli powder and black salt as the must have ingredients in it. Then you can have as many variations you want to have with most of the other ingredients. The main objective of any CHAAT if I may say so is to get your tounge tapping with every spoonful. This delicious ensemble of toothsome flavours in every bite has made this street side snack so popular.


In India both the capital city New Delhi and the city of Lucknow is famous for CHAATS. However CHAAT is not confined to these two cities only. Wherever you travel to in India you will find CHAATS native and popular to that city and different from another city. The sight of a man on the street side with his movable kiosk or simply a CHAAT cart bedecked with the most colourful of food items is truly a sight to get your appetite going. The moment he starts assembling in such precision and in an as if pre decided order the ingredients on your plate, I don't know about others my saliva glands definitely go on an overdrive completely flooding my mouth.

CHAAT is the theme of the BLOG HOP of the CULINARY HOPPERS this month. So don't forget to check the links of the other awesome Bloggers right at the end of this post and get your own collection of CHAAT recipes.

PALAK PAKORA CHAAT :


Spinach pakoras are almost similar to spinach fritters. Pakoras are vegetables coated in a seasoned batter and are generally deep fried. The SPINACH PAKORA CHAAT has four basic things which have to be prepared. 
1) PALAK PAKORA/SPINACH FRITTERS
2) GHUGNI/DRY YELLOW PEAS CURRY
3) SWEET CHUTNEY/DATE TAMARIND DIP
4) GREEN CHUTNEY/MINT CORIANDER DIP

All the above are assembled on a plate and garnished with primarily the CHAAT MASALA and a few other spices, herbs aromatics and then served.

SPINACH/PALAK PAKORA/FRITTERS CHAAT RECIPE :

SERVES - 4
CUISINE - INDIAN 
TYPE - SNACKS
TIME - 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 60 MINUTES COOKING ( Includes Ghugni, palak pakora, coriander mint chutney, dates tamarind chutney)+5 MINUTES PLATING

TO MAKE THE PALAK PAKORAS :

INGREDIENTS :

1) 1 CUP ( 250 Gms approx) of spinach leaves tightly packed
2) 1/2 CUP ( 125 Gms approx) Besan/Gram Flour
3) 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder
4) 1/2 Tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
5) 1/4 Tsp Hing/Asafoetida 
6) 1/4 Tsp of Saunf/Fennel Powder
7) 1/2 Tsp of Red Chilli Powder
8) 1/4 Tsp of Ajwain/Carom Seeds
9) 3 Tbsp of Masoor Dal ( optional )
10) 2 Tsp fresh mint leaves (optional)
11) 1or 2 Clove of Garlic (optional)
12) Salt to taste

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO :

1) Chop the spinach leaves coarsely. Wash them thoroughly and then drain the water and dry them nicely.

2) This step is optional. You may omit it. But I love to add skinned split pink lentils with fresh mint and chilli to give the batter more flavour and body. Soak the masoor dal covered with water for 15 minutes. Drain water completely after 15 minutes. Grind to a smooth paste adding garlic clove and mint leaves.

3) Take a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped spinach, gram flour,turmeric powder, asafoetida, roasted cumin powder, fennel powder, red chilli powder, carom seeds, the paste from step 2(optional), salt and mix well.
TIP: I don't add water as there is always enough moisture to bring all the ingredients together to form a very soft sticky dough consistency mixture.

4) Bring everything in the bowl together to form a very soft and sticky mixture.You can give any shape to this mixture.

5) Heat enough oil in a deep bottom pan/kadai. When hot drop in the pakoras into the oil and fry till golden brown. Just lower the flame after putiing in the pakora as that will allow it to get cooked through and through. 
TIP: Alternately you can use a paniyaram pan to make the pakoras or even bake them in an oven.

6) Once done bring the pakoras out and place them on an oil absorbent tissue. Keep aside ready to use.



GHUGNI :

This is a curry made from dried yellow peas and is generally garnished with a whole lot of condiments and served individually too. Please click the heading or here for GHUGNI RECIPE LINK.....




DATE & TAMARIND SWEET CHUTNEY:

This very versatile sweet, tangy and a little salty dip or chutney is an integral part of all chaats and is also served as an accompaniment for most Indian snacks. Please click the Heading above or this for DATE & TAMARIND CHUTNEY RECIPE......

MINT CORIANDER CHUTNEY:

Mint coriander chutney is a very versatile dip and can be served with any fried vegetarian and non- vegetarian snacks as a dip. For Recipe click on the above heading or right here ---> MINT CORIANDER CHUTNEY....



FOR THE FINAL ASSEMBLING OF THE PALAK PAKORA CHAAT:


INGREDIENTS:

1) Palak ke Pakorey/Spinach fritters
2) Ghugni/Dried Yellow Peas Curry
3) Mint and Coriander Chutney
4) Date and Tamarind Chutney
5) Yogurt ( beat with a wire whisk or spoon)
6) Sev/Fried gram flour vermicelli
7) Pomegranate Arils
8) Chaat Masala 
9) Roasted Cumin Powder
10) Roasted Red Chilli Powder
12) Lemon Juice
13) Finely chopped Onions
14) Finely chopped mint and coriander leaves

NOTE: I have not mentioned any quantity here cause this is assembling of the pakora and ghugni along with the rest which are used as garnishing. So use as per your taste each of these ingredients listed above.

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

1) In a plate place 4-5 spinach fritters/palak pakora. I broke the pakoras into smaller pieces. you may leave them as it is.

2) Now over the fritters spoon in one ladle full of Ghugni/Dry Yellow Peas Curry.

3) Pour a couple Spoonful of the yogurt followed by both the chutneys.

4) Next goes on top the onions and chopped fresh mint,coriander leaves.

5) Sprinkle small pinches of black salt, roasted cumin and red chilli powder, chaat masala and few drops of lemon juice.

6) Finish up with a very lavish sprinkle of sev and few arils of pomegranate.

Serve with bountiful of smiles.

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SPINACH/PALAK PAKORA/FRITTERS CHAAT RECIPE :


SERVES - 4
CUISINE - INDIAN 
TYPE - SNACKS
TIME - 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 60 MINUTES COOKING ( Includes Ghugni, palak pakora, coriander mint chutney, dates tamarind chutney)+5 MINUTES PLATING

TO MAKE THE PALAK PAKORAS :

INGREDIENTS :

1) 1 CUP ( 250 Gms approx) of spinach leaves tightly packed
2) 1/2 CUP ( 125 Gms approx) Besan/Gram Flour
3) 1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder
4) 1/2 Tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
5) 1/4 Tsp Hing/Asafoetida 
6) 1/4 Tsp of Saunf/Fennel Powder
7) 1/2 Tsp of Red Chilli Powder
8) 1/4 Tsp of Ajwain/Carom Seeds
9) 3 Tbsp of Masoor Dal ( optional )
10) 2 Tsp fresh mint leaves (optional)
11) 1or 2 Clove of Garlic (optional)
12) Salt to taste

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO :

1) Chop the spinach leaves coarsely. Wash them thoroughly and then drain the water and dry them nicely.

2) This step is optional. You may omit it. But I love to add skinned split pink lentils with fresh mint and chilli to give the batter more flavour and body. Soak the masoor dal covered with water for 15 minutes. Drain water completely after 15 minutes. Grind to a smooth paste adding garlic clove and mint leaves.

3) Take a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped spinach, gram flour,turmeric powder, asafoetida, roasted cumin powder, fennel powder, red chilli powder, carom seeds, the paste from step 2(optional), salt and mix well.
TIP: I don't add water as there is always enough moisture to bring all the ingredients together to form a very soft sticky dough consistency mixture.

4) Bring everything in the bowl together to form a very soft and sticky mixture.You can give any shape to this mixture.

5) Heat enough oil in a deep bottom pan/kadai. When hot drop in the pakoras into the oil and fry till golden brown. Just lower the flame after putiing in the pakora as that will allow it to get cooked through and through. 
TIP: Alternately you can use a paniyaram pan to make the pakoras or even bake them in an oven.

6) Once done bring the pakoras out and place them on an oil absorbent tissue. Keep aside ready to use.

FOR THE FINAL ASSEMBLING OF PALAK PAKORA CHAAT:

INGREDIENTS:

1) Palak ke Pakorey/Spinach fritters
2) Ghugni/Dried Yellow Peas Curry
3) Mint and Coriander Chutney
4) Date and Tamarind Chutney
5) Yogurt ( beat with a wire whisk or spoon)
6) Sev/Fried gram flour vermicelli
7) Pomegranate Arils
8) Chaat Masala 
9) Roasted Cumin Powder
10) Roasted Red Chilli Powder
12) Lemon Juice
13) Finely chopped Onions
14) Finely chopped mint and coriander leaves

NOTE: I have not mentioned any quantity here cause this is assembling of the pakora and ghugni along with the rest which are used as garnishing. So use as per your taste each of these ingredients listed above.

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

1) In a plate place 4-5 spinach fritters/palak pakora. I broke the pakoras into smaller pieces. you may leave them as it is.

2) Now over the fritters spoon in one ladle full of Ghugni/Dry Yellow Peas Curry.

3) Pour a couple Spoonful of the yogurt followed by both the chutneys.

4) Next goes on top the onions and chopped fresh mint,coriander leaves.

5) Sprinkle small pinches of black salt, roasted cumin and red chilli powder, chaat masala and few drops of lemon juice.

6) Finish up with a very lavish sprinkle of sev and few arils of pomegranate.

Serve with bountiful of smiles.