Sunday, March 27, 2016

Chaat Attack - A Burst of 'Desi n Firangi' Flavors

As they say, 'time flies', and it truly does. With memories of past left behind and a glorious future awaiting, the present finds its way amidst the two, balancing them and nurturing itself. At times when I look back, the glimpses of the old posts drive me nostalgic, urging me to leave everything aside and get back in full swing to the magic and charm of writing. The day sooner would arrive when this fascination of mine would find its way ahead of just dreams and thoughts, and when 'time' would give me 'time' to express my love for cooking in form of words again.

The last three years were years of panoptic learning. Though I could not write much, but heaps of knowledge and oodles of experience brought forward another meaning of 'cooking' to me. From a doctor, I turned into a blogger, then a mommy blogger, and then a Caterer. Amsterdam showered its love on me with bountiful challenges. I chose not to just sit back and write, but to take a step further and make this blog 'go live'. With passion of cooking running in my nerves, the brain decided to take the challenge up, where everything would have to be managed alone and in a given time frame. Stress Management and Time Management were the two special attributes that I learnt the most in these two years. And now when I see my old blogs, yes, I feel time flies. The only thing that kept missing from all the fire and passion was 'innovation'. I was sticking to authentic Indian way of cooking with the set recipes as that was what everyone in this foreign land was looking for. Appreciation, love, admiration, encouragement and blessings were all the way and they stirred up the ardor in me to learn more Indian recipes in just the perfect Indian way. My predilection for Indian desserts/sweets and Chaats made catering even easier and interesting for me. I started experimenting on halwas that I had just tasted in royal weddings in Udaipur and soon the fingers, brain and taste buds learnt to replicate them. In winters, I came up with Moong Daal Halwa(Fudge), Badam Halwa, Akhrot/Walnut Halwa, Anjeer Halwa and Gaund Urad Halwa, but still the soul of creativity was missing somewhere.

An year back, some magic happened. As if the fairy godmother of Cindrella had heard my words and came to cast the spell on me; it was unbelievable. The Indian Ladies Event Group in Amsterdam came up with a cooking competition titled 'Mallika-e-Kitchen' with 'starters' being the theme. Thoughts were stormed and innovation found its soul in my cooking finally. The first click for me was 'Chaat', but Chaat had to be really different this time. After hours of rigorous cerebration, the cerebrum finally figured what and how should come on the serving plate. All I knew was that it would be a blend and burst of both 'desi' and 'firangi' flavors. I named it 'Chaat Attack' and won second prize with blessings and love of all food lovers. The platter had five different elements to it, all of which have been mentioned here. At first I decided to put them all straight in a single post, but then thought of showering the magic gradually in installments, so here I go with the first element of the Chaat Attack and the rest shall follow in rhythm. Get ready to dive in the tangy zesty flavors of this desi videshi chaat. :)


1. Firangi Aloo Matar Chaat (Potato Cups with Peas Filling)
2. Strawberry Shots (Pani Puri/Crispy Puffed Bread with Strawberry Lemonade)
3. Rasam Shots (Pani Puri/Crispy Puffed Bread with South Indian Rasam/Tangy Curry)
4. Pizza Chaat in Baked Tart
5. Cone Chana(Chickpea) Chaat

1. FIRANGI ALOO MATAR CHAAT (Potato Cups with Peas Filling)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

For the Aloo Katori/Potato Cup - 

1) Boiled Potato (3 medium sized)
2) Corn Flour: 1 tbs
3) Salt as per taste
4)Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
5) Oil: for deep frying

  1. Boil 3 medium sized potatoes and mash them well.
  2. Add turmeric powder, salt and corn flour to the mashed potatoes and divide the mixture is four equal portions.
  3. Take the first portion and shape it like a cup/katori using your palm and fingers. 
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan/wok/kadai. Turn the flame to medium and carefully slide the aloo katori/potato cup in the oil. I usually keep it on the sieved ladle and immerse the ladle in oil. For the first one minute, I let the aloo katori/potato cup sit on the ladle and then I slide it into the oil. 
  5. Fry till the katori/cup turns golden brown. Turn it and let the other side brown as well.
  6. Take it out on a kitchen roll to remove the extra oil. 
  7. Repeat the same for all the katoris/bowls.
For the Matar/Peas Filling -

1. Boiled Dried Peas - 150 gms
2. Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
3. Finely chopped green chillies: 2
4. Turmeric Powder: 1/2 tsp
5. Coriander Powder: 2 tsp
6. Red Chilli Powder: 1/2 tsp
7. Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
8. Salt to taste
9. Chana/Chhola Masala: 1 tsp
10. Asafoetida: a pinch
11. Oil

  1. Soak dried peas overnight and then boil them in the morning taking 2-3 whistles. (The cooking time may vary based on the quality and type of peas used)
  2. Take oil in a frying pan and heat it. 
  3. Add cumin seeds and asafoetida to it followed by chopped green chillies and ginger garlic paste. 
  4. Now add all the spices and immediately add the boiled peas. Cook this for 3-5 minutes.

For the Dressing:

1. Cherry Tomatoes: 4
2. Cream Cheese - 100 gms
3. Mayonnaise/Hung Yogurt: 1 tbs
4. Dried Mint Leaves: 1/4 tsp
5. Grated Cucumber: 2 tbs
6. Green Mint Coriander Chutney
7. Yellow and Red Bell Pepper for decoration

  1. Finely slice the bottom of the cherry tomatoes to make them sit. 
  2. Now slice the top and scoop/spoon them to remove all the seeds from within.
  3. Prepare Filling Mixture A by adding 4 tbs cream cheese, 1 tbs mayonnaise/yogurt,  and grated cucumber. Fill this mixture in a plastic cone/icing cone.
  4. Prepare Filling Mixture B by adding 4 tbs cream cheese with dried mint leaves and fill this in a plastic cone/icing cone.
  5. Slice the bell peppers in shapes you adore.
Assembling the Dish:
  1. Take the Aloo Katori/Potato Cup and layer it with the Filling Mixture B.
  2. Now top this with the matar/peas mix.
  3. Smear the peas with the green chutney on top.
  4. Take the cherry tomato and fill it with the Filling Mixture A. Place it over the green chutney.
  5. Now embellish the cherry tomato with designed/sliced bell peppers.
  1. The deep fried potato cups be replaced by boiled n baked potato jackets as well. You can boil the potato, cut it into half, spoon out the centre and bake in an oven.
  2. Instead of corn flour, you can also use bread crumbs in the potato bowl for that extra crisp.
  3. Do not store the potato cups in a closed container else they will turn soggy. It is always better to consume them fresh, when on plate.
  4. You can also make a peas curry using tomatoes and onions. This could be a gravy variation to the regular dry peas.
  5. If the potato cups are breaking while frying, that indicates that the binding corn flour has to be increased. 
  6. You can also make shallow fried aloo tikkis/potato patties and use them in a similar way by forming different layers with different elements. :)