Chaat Papdi

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Chaat Papdi is a snack which is commonly enjoyed in Pakistan and Northern India. This sweet and spicy snack is street food fare at its finest. You’ll find food carts around India which assemble and serve this delicious little treat to order, so the crispy bits remain crunchy and the ingredients meld together on your palate rather than in the bowl. The snack is meant to be consumed immediately after it’s put together which is no impossible feat, since you’ll want to gobble this all up in one sitting!

Chaat Papdi is a marriage of flavours and textures between the sweetness of the chutney, the heat of the aromatic spices and the gorgeous crunch it finishes with. It combines chick peas with cool yogurt, topped with fresh tomatoes, onions and cilantro and a crunchy fried bits of deliciousness.

What sets my chaat papdi apart from what I’ve tasted in the past is that every layer of ingredients is individually flavoured and seasoned. When you order chaat papdi from most shops, you’ll get a plate of cooked, unseasoned chickpeas and often potatoes which are topped with unseasoned yogurt and fresh veggies. The real flavour is lended to the snack via the tasty chutneys that are drizzled on top. My chaat papdi is flavoured all throughout — from the chick peas to the yogurt to the toppings — then it’s topped with chutney, so it packs a punch of sweet and tangy flavours with just a hint of heat.

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So there are not a ton of spices used to make this – just enough to deliver some solid flavour. For the tamarind date chutney, you can purchase this at any Indian shop or find it in the International section of your local grocer. If you prefer to make it from scratch (yum!), you can follow my recipe for date chutney but note that my recipe makes a lot of chutney so you may have to cut the recipe in half. You’ll still be left with a good amount of chutney to use for other applications (such as dipping in delicious samosas or pakoras) but all you’ll need it 1 cup of the chutney or less for this recipe. You can add 1 tablespoon of the tamarind paste (shown in the link) to the 1 cup to make the chutney a bit more tart.

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The chaat papdi is store-bought for convenience, but I’ll be posting a recipe in a few days for homemade chaat papdi. I bought two varieties but there are so many options to choose from at your local Indian shop. They’re made using similar recipes which call for flour, oil, water and cumin seeds, shaped into circles of various sizes then fried. The difference between these two is their density and crunch factor. The zeera puri is thinner and texture whereas the chaat papdi is thicker. I tend to use the zeera puri when I make this at home for just my husband and I as we consume it quickly before the puri starts to soften. If you’re making this for a crowd or a party, I would suggest using a thicker chaat papdi as it will hold up better and won’t go soggy if it’s sitting out for long periods of time on a buffet table. You can also serve this deconstructed and let your guests put it together based on their own taste — simply arrange all the elements (chick peas, yogurt, chopped veggies, chutneys) in different bowls and let your guests create their own chaat papdi masterpiece!

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I’ve used a garlic ginger paste here which I made at home. I always keep this combination of garlic and ginger readily available in my fridge for Indian cooking as they frequently require both in many applications. If you don’t have this on hand (don’t use the store-bought variety as it often has vinegar and other types of acidity to keep the mixture from spoiling), use fresh ginger and fresh garlic and mash it up (very) well before adding to the yogurt. 

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Okay, so here’s the part of chaat papdi that I don’t particularly enjoy. People love sprinkling chaat masala (a powdered mixture of dried mango powder, black salt, ground coriander, asafoetida ['hing'] and chilli powder, among other things, which yields a sweet and sour taste) on their salty snacks which includes chaat papdi. After years of trying to like it, my palate simply has not adjusted to the harsh tartness of chaat masala. (I couldn’t post a photo of it as I never keep it in my home, but essentially it is just an orange-brown coloured powder.) However, some people do not consider chaat papdi complete without this masala, and so if you wish, you can sprinkle some on the final dish in the end. What you’re seeing in the photo above is a shaker (which I use to sprinkle icing sugar on waffles, plated desserts and other baked goods) but you can just as easily fill it with chaat masala and place it on your buffet table when you’re serving chaat papdi and your guests can decide how much (if any) they would like to sprinkle on their constructed chaat papdi!

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DSC_0301First, you’ll put down the layer of seasoned chick peas.

DSC_0302Secondly, you’ll top that with a layer of the flavoured yogurt, reserving some yogurt for garnishing.

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Thirdly, you’ll top that with the a sprinkling of the tomatoes, green onions and coriander/cilantro, reserving some of them for garnishing the top.

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Fourthly, you’ll lay the broken pieces of the chaat papdi or zeera puri over the top. Drizzle with the remaining yogurt. Drizzle with the tamarind date chutney.

DSC_0311 Finally, garnish the top with the remaining tomatoes, green onions, and coriander/cilantro.

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Chaat Papdi 

Chick Pea Layer
1 20 ounce or 28 ounce can     chick peas
1/8 cup     date tamarind chutney (store-bought or homemade*)
1/4 teaspoon     ground cumin (also know as ‘zeera powder’)
1/4 teaspoon     salt
1/4 teaspoon     pepper

Yogurt Layer
1 1/4 cup     plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon     ground cumin (also know as ‘zeera powder’)
1/8 teaspoon     cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon     salt
1/4 teaspoon     pepper
1/4 teaspoon     garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon     ginger paste

Toppings
1 1/2 cups     crushed chaat papdi or zeera puri
1 large     tomato
2     green onions/scallions
1/4 cup     coriander/cilantro
2     green chillies (optional)
date tamarind chutney for drizzling (store-bought or homemade*)
green chutney (mint and coriander chutney) for drizzling (store-brought or homemade)

Drain the chick peas and give them a quick rinse in a colander. Add the date tamarind chutney to the chick peas and mix well. Add the cumin, salt and pepper and set aside. Combine the yogurt, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, garlic paste and ginger paste. Set aside. Break the large pieces of the chaat papdi or zeera puri to equal 1 1/2 cups. Chop the tomatoes, green onions/scallions, coriander/cilantro and chilli peppers (if using). 

In a serving bowl, arrange the first layer of chick peas at the bottom, Top with the yogurt, reserving some yogurt to drizzle on top later. Top with the tomatoes, green onions/scallions, coriander/cilantro and chilli peppers (if using). Top that with the broken pieces of the chaat papdi or zeera puri and drizzle on the remaining yogurt. Drizzle with more date tamarind chutney (and mint coriander chutney if using) and use the remaining tomatoes, green onions/scallions, coriander/cilantro and chilli peppers (if using) to garnish the top of the dish.  

[*If you prefer to use the homemade date chutney, please note that the recipe for the chutney yields quite a bit of chutney. Reduce the recipe by half if desired and then remove 1 cup of the chutney for this recipe. Add 1 additional tablespoon of tamarind paste to the 1 cup of chutney and blend to combine -- you can use the chutney as the original recipe dictates as well, but the extra tamarind paste will give the chutney extra tang that works beautifully with this chaat papdi recipe]

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