As the weather got cold here, I became overwhelmed by a craving for Aloo Chaat. Aloo Chaat is a spicy potato snack served with a variety of chutneys and yogurt. In my opinion, it is everything a snack food should be.
The potatoes are coated in a special chaat masala. Chaat Masala is different from garam masala or curry powder in that it also has a bit of tangy flavour thrown in to the mix. Sometimes this is from ground pomegranate seed and sometimes it is from mango powder (Amchur). I am a big fan of Mango powder. It is tangy and ever so slightly sweet. Yum. You can buy ready-made chaat masala if you like, but it is not at all difficult to make.
The potatoes are usually fried, but I like broiling them like oven fries. This does not use any less oil, it is just less work. Also, once I made them into a french fry shape I realized that Aloo Chaat is really just like eating spicy french fries with a variety of dipping sauces and crunchy toppings!
It seems as though Aloo Chaat is usually served with three kinds of chutney; a green chutney, a tamarind chutney and a garlic chutney. I like to make green chutney. It is easy and I usually have leftover mint and/ or cilantro that will just wither in my fridge if I don’t do something with it. As for the other chutney, I have been using up a variety that have been cluttering up my fridge such as homemade rhubarb chutney, homemade sweet fruit chutney and even some store-bought mango chutney from Hawaii. None of these are authentic, but I don’t care. I thought all of them were delicious. I did finally use up my whole chutney collection and made a batch of proper tamarind chutney (a particularly easy chutney to make, by the way). I have to admit that the tamarind chutney was the best. I have not managed to make a third chutney and I feel okay about that!
In addition to chutney, the Aloo Chaat is drizzled with plain yogurt. I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of raita (the cooling yogurt sauce served with Indian food). I like spicy food and I never want the raita. However, on Aloo Chaat the yogurt provides an important balance.
Finally Aloo chaat gets topped with crunchy stuff, such as barely sprouted mung beans, fresh pomegranate seeds and more typically crunchy, spicy Indian snack mixes. I like the crunchy chickpea noodles (sev) and the crunchy yellow split pea mix (chana dal). This final topping is all about texture and it totally genius.
ALOO CHAAT INSPIRED HOME FRIES
- 1 pound russet potatoes peeled (or not) and sliced into long thin sticks
- 3 Tablespoons mild oil
- 1 Teaspoon cayenne
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons mango powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 teaspoons chickpea flour
- tamarind chutney (or rhubarb chutney, or sweet fruit chutney)
- green chutney
- sev, chana dal, or some other spicy, crispy Indian snack mix
- Combine the oil with the cayenne, cumin, coriander, turmeric, mango powder, salt and chick pea flour.
- Toss the potatoes in the oil and spice mixture and spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Put them under the broiler for about 8 minutes (this time may vary depending on the strength of your broiler). They should be crisp on the outside and tender through.
- Transfer the potatoes to a serving dish and drizzle them with tamarind chutney, yogurt and green chutney. Sprinkle the sev or other crispy Indian snack mix on top.
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