Papri Chaat is, in my opinion, the king of chaats. Just the sight of it makes me happy. And honestly, what’s not to love? Chickpeas and potatoes drenched in spicy chutneys and a cooling yogurt sauce, topped with freshly ground cumin and crunchy papad. Sigh. I’m a purist when it comes to papri chaat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered papri chaat from desi restaurants only to be disappointed by a dry, horrible concoction diluted with mushy tomatoes, unpleasantly thick yogurt and a flavorless imlee and a copious amount of spice to mask the lack of flavor. (Can you tell I take my chaat seriously?) In my eyes, a real papri chaat is much like the one found at Lahore Chatkhara, aka the greatest chaat place of all time. If the yogurt isn’t runny and chilled, if your chutneys aren’t packed with flavor, and if you don’t have that thin and crisp papar and gorgeous chaat masala, what are you even doing with your life?
So basically, I’m going to show you how to make real papri chaat, shade intended at all the fake chaats out there! Here’s what you’ll need to serve 4 (Or just 1 girl that’s very passionate about papri chaat)
3 medium sized potaoes
1 1/2 cups boiled chickpeas
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
2 Tblspn fresh coriander leaves
2 cups yogurt + 1/2 cup water
salt to taste
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely ground
1/4 tsp laal mirch (cayenne)
1/2 tsp chaat masala
1/2 cup mint chutney
1/2 cup imlee ki chutney (Tamarind chutney)
Papad as needed
chaat masala and coriander for garnish
Start off by peeling your potatoes. Then cut them into 1/2 inch cubes and boil them in salted water until fork tender. Drain and set aside. In a bowl mix the yogurt with water and the seasoning. (If you are using homemade yogurt you won’t need to add the water, because home made yogurt is already thinned out.)
In a shallow serving bowl add half the yogurt mix. Add in the chickpeas, potatoes, onions and coriander leaves. Make sure you spread everything out and refrain from mixing the chaat just yet! The beauty of a chaat is in it’s layers, so you can mix it when you’re eating it, just leave it for now. Top off with the remaining yogurt. Then drizzle on the imlee ki chutney and mint chutney. Crush up some papad and sprinkle that on top along with some extra coriander and chaat masala. Serve chilled and you will fall in love with this classic, iconic chaat.
Papad: for the most authentic chaat, use fried Roll Patti(spring roll wrappers) as your papad. I just break it into 2-3 inch pieces and fry it on a medium low flame until it turns a light golden. Then I take it out and drain it on some kitchen towel and while it cools the color deepens a little.
Yogurt: I always use chilled yogurt. It really elevates the flavor, and you’ll notice it too. Room temperature yogurt just doesn’t have the same effect. Also, feel free to add more spice to your yogurt according to your taste.
Cumin: I always use freshly ground cumin seeds for chaats. And don’t crush it into a fine powder, keep it coarse.
Chaat masala: If you’re up for it, make your own, but I find a freshly opened pack of chaat masala tastes much better than one that’s been opened for months. Take note!
Chutneys: There is nothing wrong with using store bought chutneys, but I really prefer making my own. I have a detailed imlee ki chutney recipe coming soon, and a killer hari chutney recipe already up.