Although a varied number of dishes are available across the country, none of them can match the lustrous royalty that the Indian street food enjoys. Those palatable snacks are downright addictive and can simply knock you off with their appetizing smell and more with their luscious taste.
Down the History Lane!
One such set of snacks that is more a way of life in India than just a tummy-filling dish is ‘Chaat’. The word Chaat means ‘to lick’ or ‘to taste’ and is a common Hindi word used and understood by all. This traditional savory snack originated from the Northern Indian States and went on to conquer the whole of the country and Indian restaurants worldwide.
It is rightly said that ‘the dawn of anything is often lost in time’. Precisely so, the origin of Chaat is still unknown to man, although several legends are there which claim to be “that one’’, however, that’s debatable.
According to the most accepted folklore, Chaat traces its beginning in the royal court of the great Emperor Shah Jahan. When he fell ill, the Royal Hakim advised the Emperor to go for a meal which was both spicy and also light on the belly. Thus, chaat originated in Delhi as a royal cuisine, which turned out to be an all-time favorite for the generations that followed.
A glimpse of Chaat Minutiae
As time has passed, it has been noticed that Chaat has become emblematic of Indian cooking. Roaming about the busy streets and blind alleys of India to savor the delicacies is not considered complete unless one gets into one of those roadside stalls and grabs a bite of hot chaat platter. If you’re a foodie you will relate all the more!
The word chaat is an umbrella term that encompasses those range of roadside food items that perpetually include Dahi, Peas, Sev Papdi, Samosa, Aloo Tikki, and a wide variety of other similar garnishing elements. Astonishingly enough, there are more than 500 variations of Chaat that are available for consumption.
Thrust away in one of the chaotic and busiest streets of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, there are immense options of chaat available for people. Although there are several outlets that are into this business outside the national capital, none can take the place of the royal city that has the same old zest for this traditional cuisine, a feeling that is deeply rooted in its blood since days beyond recall!
Aloo Tikki Chaat- its journey to our hearts!
With so much of appeal amongst all the sections of the society, this dish has rightly proved that age is no bar for anything- and more so for appetizing Aloo Tikki Chaat. While ordering the yummylicious chaat platter, the first option that strikes the mind is undoubtedly the Aloo Tikki Chaat and this tops the list every time. Indeed, this variant needs no introduction to the foodie world out there.
This tangy and spicy chaat sits amidst Aloo Tikki or Cutlet and is topped with piles of Chickpea Curry, Yogurt, Onion, Cumin, Rock Salt (also known as Kala Namak), Chutneys, and most importantly Chaat Masala that makes them all the more flavorful.
Over the years, “Aloo Tikki Chaat” has become one such popular potato snack that has known no boundary. It is a favored dish in North India, West Bengal, Pakistan, and also in certain parts of the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh.
The golden fried potatoes that are sprinkled over with spicy chutneys and sour yogurt make the dish much more appetizing, savory, and palatable. There are two ways in which this delicious snack is made. One includes stuffing, while the other does not. Well, it is the stuffed one that is more popular as most people can’t resist those steaming boiled chana dal along with chaat masala, herbs, and the spice powder that makes the bile juice crave for more!
This mouth-tingling chatpata dish is prepared by following certain simple steps that heighten the taste. The chaat is made by first boiling the potatoes in the pressure cooker along with a pinch of salt. The number of potatoes to be taken depends entirely on the person concerned and thus, they can vary as per the need. Once, pressure cooked, the potatoes are peeled and mashed.
Now, here comes the real taste enhancers which are the ingredients that go about in the cuisine. This includes dusting turmeric, ginger powder, cumin powder, Kashmiri red Chilli powder, dry mango, and chaat masala, half a teaspoon each on the potatoes that are already mashed. Later, rice flour, coriander leaves, and salt are added.
Once mixed thoroughly, small shaped tikkis are made out of it and fried till they are golden brown in color. These cutlets are then bathed in yogurt and drizzled with different chutneys. Kala Namak is sprinkled over at the end along with some sev and chopped onions.
Thus, this unrivalled snack finds its existence with the mentioned steps and makes the consumer go head over heels for it.
The Secret Nutritional Value!
Did a passing thought ever cross your mind when at dusk you are out in one of the bustling streets to have a bite of the crispy, lush tikkis garnished with spice powder, chutneys, and yogurt, that this flavored dish can even have nutritional value? While this may sound like a pie in the sky but they’re actually not and yes, this succulent snack does carry some health benefits for us!
The chaat is sprinkled over with Coriander Powder or Dhania, which contains antioxidants like Vitamin A, and Vitamin C, that help strengthen our immune system. Coriander contains Iron that keeps the number of RBCs (Red Blood Cells) in check.
Not to mention, the tikkis are generally not deep-fried, so, the chances of extra oil and calories are out then and there. Also, since chaat masala is a mixture of a wide variety of spices, they contain varied vitamins and minerals like Calcium and Magnesium that are beneficial for the body.
Irrefutably, this ultimate quick snack has invaded the country with its simple yet alluring taste and appearance, and has touched millions throughout its journey which still continues.
Today, even with the presence of top-notch multinational eateries like Pizza Hut, Baristas, and CCDs, the craze for this traditional snack has not dwindled. If truth be told, it is seen that even these companies have realized the worth and love for aloo chaat in people’s hearts and hence, are offering similar food items to lure the customers to their outlets. From the royal court of Delhi to the rest of the country, Chaat has a laudable journey that celebrates the manifoldness and uniqueness of food items of India unlike any other!