Tokri Chaat: A Favorite Indian Snack
Impress your guests with this favorite snack food of Northern India!
This version of Tokri chaat is typical to Punjab- a state in the northern part of India. Before my grandparents shifted to Chandigarh, they were staying in this town called Jalandhar (famous for its sporting goods industry). The main market in Jalandhar- Model Town- used to be walking distance from our house. In the evening, the market would be chock-a-block full. We would regularly visit this bakery on the corner of the market and buy all kinds of junk food from there. Now, on the same side where this bakery, was this guy who would sell different kind of roadside food- aloo tikki chaat, indian chowmein and of course, the reason why this post is up today- tokri chaat.
- 5 potatoes, preferably old ones (that are a little stale- will give a crisper basket)
- 2 steel tea strainer
- Oil, for deep frying
- CHAAT STATION:
- 15 potato tokris (recipe above)
- 2 potatoes, boiled and cubed (I pressure cook them to two whistles and remove from fire and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove, peel and cube them. Do ahead: boil the potatoes and keep unpeeled. When ready to serve, unpeel and cube the potatoes.)
- 7 green chillies, finely chopped
- Pickled ginger ( Julienne a 2-inch piece ginger. In a small container squeeze out the juice of 1-2 limes. Add a 1/2 a tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the julienned ginger and cover the container till ready to serve)
- 2 cans of chickpeas (You could boil your own chickpeas, but I used canned chickpeas with 50% less sodium)
- Roasted cumin powder (Dry roast cumin seeds for about 2 minutes, keeping a check on them to avoid burning. Once roasted, grind to a fine powder.)
- Red chilli powder
- 7 Lemon wedges/lemon juice
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1/2 cup mint chutney
- 1/2 cup date-tamarind chutney (I used store-bought but there are tons of recipes online for a good date-tamarind chutney.)
- Sev/Haldirams Aloo Bhujia
- handful of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves, finely chopped
- Bhalla/vada (optional) (you can use MTR Vada Instant Dry Mix)
- 3 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- Chat Masala
Adapted from thenovicehousewife.wordpress.com
FOR THE TOKRIS/POTATO BOWLS:
Peel the potato skin off.
If you have a food processor, then you are lucky! Because this step would be a breeze if you have one. Put the grater attachment on your food processor. And grate the potatoes. If you are not so lucky and are using a regular grater, try to grate the potatoes as long as possible.
Once grated, wash the potatoes in cold water. You do this to remove the starch in the potatoes so that they are no longer sticky. Wash them 4-5 times.
Line them on paper towels and let dry for 30-60 minutes. You want the potatoes to be absolutely dry, else when you put it in the oil, they will splutter and you might get serious burns.
Heat oil on medium-high heat.
Once dry, take your tea strainer and put a handful of the grated potatoes in it. Spread the grated potatoes a little to the side as well. (Make sure you have a thick layer covering the whole inside of the tea strainer- a thin layer will break the moment you try to remove the fried bowl from the strainer). Put the other tea strainer on top of it. And immerse in the hot oil. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Once you see the potato-bowl browning remove the top strainer and leave the bottom strainer with basket in oil till the whole bowl is evenly browned. Once done, overturn the strainer and gently tap to release the bowl.
Repeat this for the rest of the grated potatoes.
FOR THE CHAAT:
Take a potato-bowl/ tokri. I would add a bit of each ingredient and in this order- chickpeas, cubed potatoes, tomatoes, onions, green chillies, pickled ginger, yogurt, a good serving of tamarind chutney, a little of mint chutney, a sprinkle of each-red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder and chaat masala. And in the end, garnish with cilantro and sev/bhujia. You could use a spoon, but feel free to get dirty and use your hands!