A craving for some spice brought me today to Lahore and a spicy chick pea dish. While Lahore is in Pakistan, this is a dish that is exactly like what I have eaten in Northern, middle and Southern India.
It’s a snack, really. Eaten at room temperature, it is one of the wonderful chat (chaat) dishes so integrated into the varied cuisines of India. It is an amazing tease of contrasts. Sour yet sweet. The bite of onion with the smoothness of chickpeas and potato. The mineralisation of rock salt with the tartness of mango powder and lime juice. It is an amazing dish.
Just a word of warning – this is real Indian. Not the restaurant Indian that is served up and called Indian food. At least here in Australia. Really quite different flavours. Not an easy eating dish. Not a comfort dish that eases your mouth and your body into a state of relaxation. This is a “Woh-hoh” in your mouth. An assault of wonderful flavours that wakes up all your senses. Be brave, but be warned…
At first I wrote a long post for a simple dish. I don’t usually do such long posts. Guess I got carried away. So today I have split it into three:
- First read all about chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and how amazing they are: All about Chickpeas
- Then read about Chat Masala, the spice powder used to make this wonderful and simple dish: Chat Masala.
- Then look at the guy on Kovalam Beach selling Channa Chaat.
- THEN make this dish. NOW!
The word chat or chaat means to lick and the word masala, as we have seen before, actually means spice mix in Hindi. So generally, the word chat is used for a collection of savoury and highly spicy snacks that would make you lick /smack your lips – if that was acceptable in Indian etiquette.
Chat is traditionally sold by street hawkers in India and comes under a group of foods known as ‘Indian Street Foods’. But be careful of the food hygiene of street food – it is often suspect, frequently leading to “Delhi Belly“, most people prefer to make chat at home. There is some debate about whether chat is Northern or Southern Indian – I think it is wide spread. You might like to tell me.
A note on ingredients
Chat dishes are distinguished by the Chat Masala powder that is used to impart the spicy flavour to the main ingredient. You can buy this, but I thought we might make our own today. You can read how here.
Jaggery is a palm sugar commonly used in India and SE Asia. You can substitute brown sugar.
Chickpeas are also called garbanzo beans.
Make your Chat Masala, then go on, be brave, indulge in this so easy, REAL Indian street food.
Lahori Channa Chat, or Chickpea Chat
Source : Chatpatti Chaat Papri and Snacks
Prep time: 5 mins (plus overnight soaking of chickpeas)
Cooking time: 1 hour to cook chickpeas and potatoes
Serves: 4 – 5 people, as a snack or dish with salad.
2 cups chick peas, soaked and cooked. Keep them slightly undercooked, not overcooked. They need to still have some bite to them.
2 big boiled potatoes, peeled and chopped
1-3 green chillies finely chopped
2 tspn ginger finely chopped
1 – 2 medium onions chopped
3 Tblspn lemon or lime juice
1 tspn jaggery or fine sugar
2 Tblspn coriander leaves chopped
2 med tomatoes, chopped
Sea Salt to taste
Chat Masala to taste – start with about 1 dessert spoon, and add more if you want it spicier.
Mix and refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours. Serve cold. Yum.
That’s it. Done.
If you want to Westernise it, add a load of chopped parsley, mint and coriander and mix through. Mung bean sprouts. Another 2 or 3 tomatoes chopped into chickpeas size pieces.
If you are really brave and adventurous, the overall sourness of the lime juice, amchur and black salt will go well with fruit as well – any tropical fruit, melons, apples, pears even.
Read some More
- Don’t forget to read about Mr Channa Chat Man: Channa Chat on a beach in Kovalam.
People are Saying
Here’s some veggy Chick pea chat puns intended all around
- Finger Licking Food made this chat for the MBP event. She says:
Lahori Channa Chaat or Chickpea Chaat. Just the name made me drool.
This chaat was out of this world and I’m glad I got a chance to make it.
Chickpea (Garbanzo) Series
- Creamy Pearl Hummus Salad
- Chickpea, Almond and Sesame Spread
- Chickpeas with Ginger Root Salad
- Chickpea Keep it Simple Salad
- Chana Chat with Chat Masala
- Cheat’s Hummus – Hummus made from a can of chickpeas or butter beans
- Chick Peas
- Meet Mr. Channa Chat Man, selling chickpea snacks on the beach at Kovalam.
- Oven Baked Chickpeas