There are tons of different types and proper methods of eating each. But at its core, any Chaat dish is just a combination of five essential components, each of which contributes to creating an addictive mash-up flavors and textures.
This is usually a carb, be it a samosa, a papdi (fried flour cracker), Allo tikki (fried potato patty) or puffed rice—but it’s often crispy. This is the base upon which all other flavors will be piled on. Sometimes the base will be neutral (puffed rice & papdi), or it will already be spiced (Samosa & Aloo tikki )—either way, more seasonings will be added.
Cilantro-mint chutney and tamarind chutney are the two most common sauces in Chaat, as they lend spicy and tangy/sweet elements, respectively. Plain yogurt also joins the party, to add a cooling, refreshing note.
Besides the base (which often gets soft when loaded up with chutneys), Chaat dishes will have other crunchy ingredients like thin sev—little spicy bits of fried chickpeas flour—or masala chana—fried, spiced chickpeas.
Diced onions, tomatoes, and potatoes figure heavily in Chaat. The potatoes are usually simply boiled, and the tomatoes and onions are raw—these are meant to add texture.
Almost all Chaat includes a sprinkling of Chaat masala, a ubiquitous Indian spice blend adds a jolt of umami to any dish.
While many places get creative in their Chaat offerings there are a few staples that you’ll find almost everywhere & now at Chaatwala
Health benefits of chaat masala:
The spices that make up chaat masala are each highly nutritious and deliver nutrients such as:
- Minerals: Mango powder, asafoetida, and cumin are all popular ingredients in chaat masala and are also good sources of iron and calcium. Cumin is another good source of those minerals and contains magnesium as well.
- Vitamins: The dried chili peppers in chaat masala contain a significant amount of vitamin A. Cumin also has vitamin A, while asafoetida contains riboflavin and niacin. Riboflavin and niacin are both B vitamins. Coriander seeds provide a modest but still significant amount of vitamin C.
- Antioxidants: The antioxidants in chaat masala spices include ferulic acid, which comes from asafoetida. Ginger contains a variety of essential oils including gingerol. Vitamins A and C are also known to be antioxidants.
The spices in chaat masala may also be able to treat or prevent ailments like:
- Digestive issues: Ginger, black peppercorns, and coriander are each well known for their digestive benefits which include their ability to reduce flatulence and bloating.
- Diabetes: Studies have shown cumin to be a promising treatment for diabetes. Certain chemical components of cumin mitigate some of the effects of high blood sugar.
- High blood pressure: Coriander seeds are believed to be very effective for lowering blood pressure.