Chaats and Street food

Chana chaat

Aruna sent me this recipe few days back. She said, “I don’t know what the below recipe is called, but it is a snack which is liked by all at my place. I made this today after about 2 months. In Mumbai it is very famous and is always made out of green chana. It is available on all road side stalls till midnight. I haven’t seen it in any other places or restaurants. Here is the recipe of this snack either call it chaat or chana masala. I can say it is somewhat like a kind of bhel. We can make it with dry green chana or Kabuli chana or black chana. In Mumbai, on the roadside stalls I have seen it with green chana. Once upon a time there was a shortage of green chana in Mumbai, maybe at least 15 years ago. That was the time I saw them selling with black chana“.

I prepared this recipe and loved it.

1 cup boiled green chana/black chana/kabuli chana
1 boiled potato
1 tomato chopped
1 onion chopped
1 tbl spn grated raw mango(optional)
1 small green chili finely cut
1 tsp chat masala
½ tea spn amchur (optional)
½ tea spn roasted cumin powder
½ tea spn chili powder(optional)
1 tbl spn lime juice
2-3 strands coriander leaves

The onions available in US are considerably bigger than those in India. So adjust according to taste.

Cook chana in pressure cooker till soft.
Mix all the ingredients in the same pressure cooker when the chana is hot. Squeeze in lemon juice, garnish with fresh coriander and serve.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 15mins

PS: Do not add any of the salad vegetables like cucumber. Above is exactly the way it is served on roadside stalls in Mumbai.

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Masala Puri – 1

Have any of you visited Bangalore? If yes, you must have tasted the chaats and the most popular chaat in Bangalore is Masala puri. You will get it everywhere. It is as popular as (or rather more popular than) any other chaat. I tried my best to make this at home, but was never successful. It would taste great but nothing like the original masala puri. I don’t know if this is available anywhere else or not, because I never found it in Indian restaurants here(though all other chaats are available, this is missing). Few days back, I even googled for this recipe, but all I found were normal puris(deep fried ones) with some kind of masala in them and not a ‘chaat‘.

While talking to my friend Poornima few days back, she accidentally said her friend had given her the masala puri recipe. Do I need to say I pestered her to send that recipe?? (these days everyone gets scared to tell me any new food experiments, because I start asking the recipe :D). She sent this recipe and this is one of the best masala puris I have ever had. I will not say more than that, try it yourself to know what I mean.

I will give the recipe in steps.

Sour soup:
1 tea spn jaggery
3/4 tea spn tamarind extract
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
1 cup water

If ready made extract is not available, extract the thick juice of one small lemon size tamarind.

Roast the cumin seeds(fry without oil) and powder them. Mix all the ingredients and boil for around 5-10mins.

Sweet chutney:
9-10 dates
3/4 tea spn tamarind extract
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
1/2 tea spn coriander powder
1 and 1/2 tea spns jaggery

If ready made extract is not available, extract the thick juice of one small lemon size tamarind.

Roast the cumin seeds(fry without oil) and powder them.
Make a smooth paste of all the ingredients.

Spicy chutney:
1 tea spn oil
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
3-4 strands coriander leaves
3-4 green chilies
1/2 tea spn chili powder
1 tbl spn dessicated coconut

Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start to pop up, add green chilies, coriander leaves, coconut, chili powder, salt and fry for 2-3 mins. Grind it into a smooth paste.

Other Ingredients and preparations:
– 8-10 small puris(ready made puris used for pani puri)

They can also be made at home with this recipe

– 1 and 1/2 cups dry green peas(green vatana)
– 1/4 cup boiled and mashed potatoes(optional)
Soak the peas overnight and cook them in cooker along with salt. They should be cooked till soft (they take a long time to cook). Mix potatoes with peas.

– 3/4 cup grated carrot
– 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
– 1 tea spn chaat masala
– 1 tea spn red chili powder
– 3/4 cup sev(optional)
– Rock salt(optional)

To serve:
In the serving plate, take some puris. Crush them lightly with hand.

Spread 2-3tbl spoons of peas on the puris.

Pour 3-4 tbl spns of the soup.

Spread 1-2 tea spn (or desired amount) of sweet chutney.
Spread 1-2 tea spn (or desired amount) of spicy chutney.

Spread onion, carrot(I didn’t add carrot in below picture). Sprinkle chaat masala and chili powder.

Spread sev if desired. Serve immediately.

Preparation time : 30mins
Serves : 2-3

PS: Fresh or frozen peas cannot be used for this dish. They give a very different taste not suitable for masala puri.
Roasting and powdering cumin gives a very different aroma. Any dishes where raw cumin powder is required, use roasted cumin powder instead of ready made one.

Note: This is just one way of making masala puri. I have tasted many different versions in Bangalore. Check out another recipe of masala puri

Masala Puri – 1 Read More »

Papdi mirchi (papdi mirsang)

Today is the auspicious day of Noolu Hunnime or Sutta punav(thread is called Noolu in Kannada and Suta in Konkani. Hunnime/punav is full moon day). The thread referred is the scared thread(Yajnopaveetam). So this day, Brahmins discard the old sacred thread and then wear a new one after doing pooja. So at my native, one guy from each Konkani house goto the Veer Vithal temple and do the pooja to sacred threads. Then the guys at home wear the threads after doing the Sandhyavandan (A daily ritual done by Brahmins).

The other famous festival celebrated throughout India today is Raksha Bandhan. Sisters tie rakhi to their brothers and in turn brothers assure them to protect from all the evils. As an assurance, brothers give gifts to sisters. But these days, the gifts have taken out all the meaning of rakhi and sisters invariably ask for a gift :D.

Since it is Raksha bandhan today, I thought of posting my brother’s favorite snack. He is a food lover and likes to try different types of food. When I was thinking what I could post here today, this recipe immediately came to my mind. Whenever I see a packet of papdi in Indian stores, it reminds me of my brother. When he was in school, he used to pester my mom a lot to make the mirchi for him. One day, mom was taking an afternoon nap, and anna (I call him as anna meaning elder brother) wanted to have mirchi, instead of waiting for mom to get up, he tried making his own mirchi. Well, he had spoiled it up because he didn’t know what the ingredients were, but still he ate it all saying it was great but didn’t taste like aayi’s mirsang (mirsang – green chilli).

Anybody who has studied or lived in Belgaum, know about this dish. This is widely available in all chat shops. So when anna went to Belgaum for his engineering, he used to eat this papdi-mirchi a lot. (He never took me to that shop :(. I came to know about this from my cousin who was also upset with anna for not taking him to eat this dish).

Papdi is available easily in Indian stores. This is made of besan(chick pea flour), but I have no idea how they make it. So for time being I am happy to buy it ready made. The mirchi is prepared as follows

Green chillies 6-7
Oil 1 tea spn
Besan(chick pea flour) ½ tea spn
Salt ¼ tea spn

Heat oil and add the green chili slits (chilies cut into two lengthwise).

Fry for 2-3 min till the chilies become slightly brownish.

Now add salt and besan and mix well (so that there is a coating of besan on the chilies). Fry for a min and remove from flame.

Preparation time : 5min

How to eat?
Take 3-4 papdis and one chili at a time and eat. Be aware if the chilies are too hot (hot chilies with the bland papdis make a great combination).


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Sev bhaji

This is a snack or I can say chaat item. Until today, I haven’t seen it anywhere else. My maternal grandmother used to prepare this. It was everybody’s favourite at home. Then my aayi and pachi(mom’s sister) started making it. It is usually prepared for evening snack, but pachi serves this with bread for breakfast.

When I read about JFI for dal event at Sailu’s food, I thought this would be the best contribution from me. It is made of moong dal or toor dal (authentic recipe calls for moong dal). The bhaji is like ‘sambar‘, with a very different taste. While serving, add sev to it (around 1 and 1/2 cups bhaji to 1 cup sev). The sev should be completely immersed in bhaji. Squeeze some lemon juice and enjoy.

3/4 cup moong dal (or toor dal)
1/2 cup potato(cut into small pieces)
1/2 cup onion
1 tea spn chopped garlic
1/4 tea spn methi(fenugreek) seeds
4-5 cloves
1″ piece cinammon
1/2 tea spn chili powder
A pinch asafoetida
A pinch turmeric
3 cups sev

It tastes great when the bhaji is spicy. So increase the spice if your taste buds can tolerate it :).

Cook dal with potato, onions and turmeric.
Roast (without oil) methi seeds, asafoetida, cloves and cinnamon. Take out and powder them. When the vessel (used for frying) is still hot, add chilli powder (do not fry the chili powder, just use the hot vessel to warm it a bit).
Add the powders, around 1 and 1/2 cups water, salt and crushed garlic to cooked dal mixture. Cook for 7-8minutes.
While eating, add sev(around 1 and 1/2 cups of bhaji to 1 cup sev), squeeze some lemon juice. (do not keep for long after mixing sev. Sev should be still crunchy while eating, to get better taste).

Serves : 3
Preparation time : 15mins

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Pani Puri

I guess this is the most popular chaat in India. Everybody has his/her own recipe for pani puri. We used to go to a pani puri cart near Madhavan park, Jayanagar, Bangalore. I never liked to eat at roadside carts before that, but once I tried it there, I became a regular customer. But where did I got the real taste of pani puri and how I grew up as a biggest fan of it, follows.
My maternal grandmother used to make the tastiest pani puri ever. I have tasted pani puris at many places, but her pani puri was, is and will be my all time favourite. I still remember, when I was a kid, we went to her house during every summer and october holidays. She used to sit on the ground with her gas stove(because making the puris by standing all the time was too tiresome) and whenever she made pani puri, she used to make over a hundred puris (she knew there was a small devil at home who had everlasting hunger to eat pani puris. No prizes for guessing who that was :D). My mom picked this recipe from her and even she makes these delicious pani puris often (that means whenever I go to meet her). These days life has become easy with the ready made pani puris!!!.

Some people at home felt eating pani puri is a headache. Because we had to stuff moong, onion, sev and then fill the puris with pani before eating. But I never bothered about that extra WORK :).

The most important thing which is different in this traditional recipe, and ofcourse the source of the heavenly taste, is the stuffing. Instead of normal potato stuffing, this has sprouted moong stuffing. The pani has a strong taste of coriander leaves as well as ginger. It is sweet, spicy and sour.

PS : If you want to have the correct blend of taste, use the sprouted moong stuffing, refrain from making any modifications to the recipe given below. I liked the taste without onions, but finely chopped onion(used as a stuffing) was also served along with this.

Puris – Ready made puris can be used.

Coriander leaves 3/4 cup
Green chillies 3-4
Ginger 2″ piece
Cumin(jeera) seeds 1 tea spn
Jaggery 1 tbl spn
Dates (Khajoor) 7-8 (I used 1 and 1/2 tbl spn of pitted ready to bake dates)
Tamarind extract(thick) 1 and 1/2 tea spn

Grind all the ingredients together to a thick chutney. This chutnet can be preserved for 2-3 days. While serving, dilute it with water to required consistency(do not make it too watery).

Sprouted moong 1 cup
Onion (finely chopped) 1/2 cup
Sev 1/2 cup

Wash the sprouted moong to remove as much skin as possible. Then cook with 3/4 tea spn salt and about 3/4 cup of water. (Approximately two whistles in cooker).
Serve puris with pani, onions, sev and cooked moong.

How to eat
Stuff the puris with moong, onions and sev (1 : 1/2 : 1/2 proportion). Pour pani in the stuffed puri. Enjoy :D.

Serves : 3
Preparation time : 20mins 

PS: This is a version made at my home from 3 generations now. I am sure this version is not available anywhere else because it has very unique and different taste. I will post the more known version some other time.

Updated : I have removed puri recipe, will update it soon.

Pani Puri Read More »


Bhel is a very famous and tasty chat one can find anywhere in India. Everyone has a different style of making bhel. Any version of this dish is delicious.

Puffed rice or churmuri is the main ingredient of bhel. What will you do if you cannot find it nearby. Here is the solution.
Take thick avalakki(poha/flattened rice) and deep fry it in oil. While deep frying, keep in mind to do it on a very low flame and the oil should be very hot. At a time, fry around one table spoon to make sure all the flattened rice is puffed evenly. (If any mistake is done in this step, the complete bhel will get spoiled. So be careful).

Puffed rice   1 and 1/2 cup
Onion(finelly chopped) 1/4 cup
Carrot(Grated)  1/4 cup
Tomato(finelly chopped)   1/4 cup
Cucumber(grated)   1/4 cup
Green chillies(cut into small pieces)   1
Oil   1 tea spn
Peanuts(fried)   1 tbl spn
Chilli powder   1/2 tea spn
Coriander leaves    2-3 strands
Lemon juice     1 tbl spn
Sev     1/4 cup

Heat oil and cool it or else use the oil which was previously used for deep frying.
In a vessel, mix all the ingredients(except puffed rice and sev) thoroughly.
Just before serving, add puffed rice and mix. Spread sev on it and serve. (After mixing the puffed rice, serve it immediately).

Serves : 2
Preparation time :15min

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Alu Papad Chaat

This is my first entry in chaat section. While in India, I never tried preparing any chaat because we used to get very good chaats at a walkable distance from home.

Some 3 years back, I never had any roadside chaats. But once I tasted it, I felt the taste is better than any good restaurants. So I just stopped eating them in restaurants and always used to have in roadside chaat vehicles. By god’s grace I never fell ill because of them, So it encouraged me to eat it more.

This is the first ever chaat I prepared.

Maida or all purpose flour 1/2 cup
Wheat flour 1/2 cup
Cumin powder 1/2 tea spn
Sweet chutney 2 tbl spns
Curd or yogurt 1 cup
Potatoes(cooked) 2
Red chilli powder 1 tea spn
Chaat masala 1 tea spn
Coriander leaves 4-5 strands
Tomato(finely chopped) 1

Method :
Mix wheat flour, maida(or all purpose flour), salt and little water to make a dough. Cover it with damp cloth and keep aside for 10min.
Make small balls of the dough, roll it into tiny puris (make it to chapathi size and cut into small puris) and deep fry them in oil.
Mash potatoes lightly with hand. Keep the puris in plate, stuff them with potatoes. On this, spread sweet chutney, then a layer of curd or yogurt. Spread salt, chilli powder, chaat masala, coriander leaves, tomato and serve.

Serves : 3
Preparation time : 30min

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Pav Bhaji

Pav bhaji is one of the most popular snacks in India. Though I have tasted it in many other places, the pav bhajis from Belgaum were best. I still remember those days when my friend and I would go to different restaurants which served this heavenly dish. It was spicy, semi dry and perfect in taste and texture. When I went to Bangalore, I tried it in many different restaurants. But I always felt there was something missing. So finally I learnt to make perfect pav bhaji at home. It was liked by all my friends and relatives.

2 cups cooked and chopped potatoes
1/2 cup fresh/frozen green peas(optional)
1/2 cup cauliflower (optional)
1/2 cup bellpepper/capsicum (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 tea spn chili powder
2 tea spn pav bhaji masala
1 tea spn ginger-garlic paste
4-5 strands coriander leaves
5-6 pav
2 tbl spn butter

To serve:
Lemon juice
Chopped onions

Fry the onions in ghee or butter till onions turn slightly brownish. Add ginger garlic paste. Grind tomatoes into a paste. Add that to onions and fry till tomatoes are tender. Add potato, cooked peas, cauliflower, bellpepper mixture. Add chilli powder, salt and pav bhaji masala. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Slit the pav into half and apply butter. Fry until little reddish. Serve with bhaji, lemon juice, sev and onion pieces.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30min

PS: You chop the bellpepper(capsicum) into small pieces and fry with onion for a good taste.

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