It suddenly occurred to me when I turned to my planner this morning, that it’s been almost two months since we got back from our vacation to India. Over the past few weeks, I have been juggling around entertaining friends, meeting deadlines, sampling new products (lots and lots of delicious reviews coming up soon!), and not to mention creating recipes to try out on our newly acquired charcoal grill! As I sit back now, a steaming cup of hot cacao in hand, it suddenly dawned on me that I had quite an eventful and experimental vacation with relation to food. And why not, I would have had it no other way.
For a food enthusiast, the cuisine of a country is as much to look forward to on a vacation as the most popular tourist attraction. So much so, that on many a short trip, I have been known to cross out a few stops on my sightseeing itinerary only to accommodate a much important trip to the local farmer’s market.
Of the many things that were on my must-eat list during my trip, the few that undoubtedly sought my utmost attention were those that can be found at almost every nook and corner of the busiest streets throughout the country. Ask any one who has ever walked the streets of any major Indian city, be it Delhi, Mumbai or Bangalore, and they will attest to the fact that no evening stroll is complete without making a stop at one of the many hawker stalls in these cities. Street after street, stall after stall, you’re greeted by smiling faces and tempting plates that urge you to come and give it a try.
Smothered with spicy and tangy chutneys, yogurt and tons of other fixings, each plate creates a whole new experience in your mouth. Chaats are one of those purely addictive foods that I simply refuse to live without! Living outside the comfort of your home country teaches you to adapt in ways you wouldn’t have imagined. And I am no different. Although I do miss the flavours of my favourite eats, I have come to learn of ways to replicate them without having to buy a plane ticket. Here is my quick version of a delicious treat that will simply have you begging for more. It’s fast, simple enough to make, and if you’re pressed for time like me – almost all the ingredients can be easily found and bought at your nearest Indian grocery store. But be warned, it’s a mouthful this one!
ALU DAHI PURI CHAAT
Prep time: 10 min | Cooking time: 0 min | Serves: 1
6 puri shells (also known as golgappas or pani puri)
1 small potato, boiled and mashed
1/2 cup plain yogurt, beaten with 1-2 tbsp of water till smooth
5-6 tbsp sweet tamarind chutney (available readymade)
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp chaat masala
salt, to taste
handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves, for garnish
handful of sev, for garnish
Mix mashed potato well with salt and spices.
Place puris on a plate, making a small opening on the top of each puri big enough to add potato filling. Be careful to not break/crush puris as they can be fairly delicate to handle.
Fill each puri with a little bit of potato mixture, about 1-2 tsp of yogurt, and a touch of tamarind chutney. Drizzle leftover yogurt and chutney over filled puris, and garnish with coriander leaves and sev.