Chana Aloo Chaat brings back fond memories of childhood spent in Karachi, tagging along with my mother to have my favorite street food. Often served as a salad or a side, it is a complete meal for me. Boiled chickpeas and potatoes are mixed together with fresh tamarind paste, infused with spices and brown sugar or jaggery to bring together the perfect balance of spicy, sweet and sour flavors all in one dish. For a final touch it is topped with chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and a final crunch of papdi, a savory cracker.
The wine that pairs well with chana chaat is a light red wine such as Pinot Noir or Sangiovese, or a dry sweet white wine like Riesling or Sauvignon blanc.
Cuisine: Pakistani Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15-45 minutes
Soaking Time 1-6 hours
- 3 cups cooked chickpeas (see note) or 2 cans of chickpeas 15-16 oz each
- 1 yellow potato, diced and cooked (see note)
- 3/4 cup tamarind paste/pulp
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder, dry roasted on the stove
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala ( optional- found at Pakistani/Indian grocery stores)
- 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar or crushed jaggery
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 small tomato, finely chopped
- 1 green chile, finely chopped ( serrano or jalapeno, optional)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
- ¼ cup sev or papdi ( or crushed tortilla chips)
In a large bowl, mix together chickpeas, potatoes, tamarind paste, cumin seeds, cumin powder, salt, chili flakes, chili powder, chaat masala and brown sugar. Taste to adjust salt and seasoning. Transfer to a serving bowl garnish with onion, tomatoes, green chile and cilantro. Top with sev or papdi ( or crushed tortilla chips) just before serving.
To cook the chickpeas: Soak 1.5 cups dry chickpeas in 3 cups water and ¼ teaspoon baking soda, overnight or for at least 1 hour . Drain and transfer the soaked chickpeas to a large saucepan. Add 4 cups of water, or enough to completely cover the chickpeas. Bring the water to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes for softer beans. Drain any remaining water.
To cook the potatoes: Peel and medium dice the potatoes. Transfer the potatoes to a saucepan. Cover the potatoes with an inch of water, just enough to cover them.
Cook the potatoes until tender. Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Adjust the heat to keep the water at a gentle simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender all the way through when pierced with a fork (but not mushy), 8 to 12 minutes.
Note: Chana aloo chaat can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature. If serving hot, heat the chickpea mixture and garnish it just before serving.