The origins of falafel are as contentious as territorial debates in the Middle Eastern world. The great falafel debate — whether it originated in Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, and yes, even India — has garnered a legitimate food fight on who invented these delicious little chickpea fritters. Heck, they are so delicious, anyone that can be credited with the invention deserves serious admiration! I reckon, no one can really prove its origins as local cuisines were adapted in various countries with new immigrants from various cultures. Where ever its origins, these fried chickpea balls are beyond tasty and need to be made for you and your family to enjoy!
I was once told by an Arab woman that you can tell the freshness and quality of a falafel by the colour of the insides of the falafel. If the insides are brown and dull, the falafel was probably made by a mix or it is not as fresh as it should be. A fresh falafel should have insides that are green and vibrant!
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.
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.