I've had so many requests, I had to blog about this recipe. I'm particularly proud of this creation, because it works on so many levels of deliciousness, but remains simple and uses seasonal ingredients.
Chaat is an awesome Indian Street Food creation that has many guises: Bhel Puri, Sev Puri, Aloo Papdi Chaat, Samosa Chaat.... the list goes on. The key things that unite all these Chaat items are a few basic rules, or guidelines for making Chaat if you will. Firstly, Chaat needs to have a chutney element, be it mint, coriander, tamarind etc. Secondly, it needs to have a crunchy element, such as sev, papdi or puris. And lastly, and probably most importantly, it needs to have a great mix of sweet, tangy, sour and spicy notes. That's what makes Chaat so unique and moreish. That almost indescribable mixture of flavors that wake up your tastebuds. Chaat masala is an essential spice mixture that adds the tangy flavor because it contains, amongst other ingredients, dried mango powder. You can buy it from your local Indian store, and you'll definitely find other uses for it. Try sprinkling hot French fries with Chaat masala for instant Indian fries, delicious for dipping into any hot sauce.
Other than the above "rules" to good Chaat, the ingredients can be anything you want them to be. I created the Corn & Pomegranate Chaat when asked to make a picnic item over the summer. The abundance of fresh corn in the summer months, and it's delicious creaminess attracted me. I added pomegranate because it typifies that sweet sour note that Chaat needs. It's not a very sweet fruit, and actually if you drink the juice, you'll taste that delicious tangy flavor.
The recipe below uses canned corn which is perfectly good to use outside the summer months, and actually much less work than shucking fresh corn during summer as well. The Chaat needs to be prepared and eaten straight away so it doesn't get too soggy. I've made these in picnic portions, and as hor d'oeuvres where I decorated them with edible flowers as part of a catering theme. It's very versatile, and super easy so you can really have fun with it.
Corn & Pomegranate Chaat
Ingredients (Makes 5 small bowls as pictured below)
I can of corn (15.25 oz size)
1/2 red onion finely chopped
1 tomato deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup of whole red peanuts
2 tbsps cilantro leaves finely chopped
2 tbsps mint leaves finely chopped
3/4 tsp chaat masala
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp chilli powder
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste
For garnish: coriander chutney, sev
Drain the corn and add to a large mixing bowl. Cut the pomegranate in half width ways. Remove the seeds by holding the Pomegranate upside down in your palm over a bowl, and tapping with a spoon. The seeds will fall out into the bowl, along with a splattering of juice. Reserve 2 tbsp. of pomegranate seeds for garnish.
Add the pomegranate to the corn, along with the chopped red onion, deseeded tomato, peanuts and chopped cilantro.
Finely chop your mint in chiffonades if you can, by stacking the mint leaves together, rolling them up and slicing with a knife to create tiny ribbons. Reserve 1 tbsp for garnish, add the rest to the bowl with the other ingredients.
Add your Chaat masala, Garam masala, chilli powder, salt and lemon juice. Mix all the ingredients together.
Spoon the Chaat into bowls and top with a tablespoon of coriander chutney and a sprinkling of sev. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves you set aside, just so the Chaat bowls look pretty.