A Chat About Chaat

Recipe: Low Cal Dahi Papdi Chaat

Who doesn't like chaats with their spicy, sweet, tangy and crispy combinations?! My favourite is the dahi papdi chaat especially during the summers! It's so refreshing to dig into a plate full of curd, crispy papdis, potatoes / channa (chickpeas), seasoned with the sweet and spicy chutneys and garnished with chopped coriander leaves. With chaat shops in every corner of Bangalore, its very easy to satisfy your chaat cravings.

If you actually think about it, chaats are not so bad for health if you remove the deep-fried stuff like the papdis, sev, pooris etc. The rest of it - curd, chutneys, boiled potatoes, channa, sprouts or pomegranate seeds, etc are good stuff. 

And so began my quest to make the low-cal dahi papdi chaat. I started thinking of ways to replace the deep-fried stuff in them. I finally decided to make baked poori instead of papdi. Baked poori is crispy and crunchy and tastes similar to papdi, provided the dough is rolled out thin.

For the low-cal sev, I spent quite sometime racking my brains. I finally got it - dry roasted crushed instant noodles! Though sev is not an important component if the chaat. I feel it can be left out without any difference in taste to the chaat.

Dahi Papdi chaat also has plain boiled and cooked potato / channa (chickpeas) or sprouted beans. But on that day, I had some channa masala leftover from lunch, that I wanted to use up. It really doesn't matter whether you add plain cooked channa (chickpeas) or a channa masala.

Here's the recipe. Though it has many components to it, it's actually very easy to make and the components come together simultaneously.


The different components of the chaat are listed below.

Baked Pooris

Whole wheat flour (Atta) - 1 cup
Semolina (Rava / Sooji) - 1 Tbsp
Water to make a thick dough
salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Mix the wheat flour, a tsp of oil, salt and semolina. Slowly add the water and knead the dough till it has come together and is of a thick consistency as the dough we use for fried pooris.

Roll out the dough really thin - thinner than that you would roll out if you were making the actual fried pooris.  I would say about 1/2 mm thickness. This is very important to get crispy pooris that would just burst in your mouth :)

Cut it into rounds using a cookie cutter or the the cap of a round jar. Rub a little bit of oil on the pan /moulds on which you are going to bake the pooris. You can just place the cut out rounds of dough on a pan and bake till done. Else, put the flattened round discs into the small cupcake moulds to get the lovely cup-like shapes (use moulds that are smaller than the muffin moulds or at least such that the baked end-product would fit in a mouthful) If using the cup-cake moulds, then make sure to press down the dough into the mould such that there are no air-bubbles.

Ever since the I saw this post at Merut's blog, I was inspired to make the baked pooris cup shaped. These are small such that they fit into a single mouthful :)

Bake the pooris for 15-20 min or till it is cooked through, crispy and browned.

Sweet and Tangy Tamarind and Dates Chutney
Adapted from Nupur's recipe for Dates and Tamarind Chutney from One Hot Stove.

Though Nupur's recipe used jaggery, I didn't need to use it at all since my dates were really sweet. I increased the amount of tamarind as well. Also I didn't bother to remove the pits from the dates as we have to strain the chutney anyway.

Dates - 1 cup
Tamarind - 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups
Salt to taste

Put all the ingredients into a pan and boil till cooked well. Nicely mash up the dates and the tamarind. Adjust the saltiness and the tanginess by adding more salt or tamarind.

Switch off fire when everything is mashed and well blended. Strain the mixture with a strainer with big holes.

Spicy Coriander and Mint Chutney

Chopped Coriander leaves - 1 cup
Chopped Mint leaves - 1/4 cup
Green chillies - 2 (or as per personal preference)
Juice of 1/2 lime
Salt to taste

Put in all the ingredients into a grinder and grind to a smooth paste. Adjust the heat, sourness and saltiness as per personal preferences.

Sev Substitute
Instant noodles - 1 packet (I prefer Top Ramen brand)

You don't need the taste maker.

Break the instant noodles into small pieces. Dry roast them over a medium flame, stirring continuously till a nice roasted smells comes and it becomes crispy and brown. Switch off flame after that and transfer to a bowl at room temperature immediately.

Assemble the chaat just before you serve them. Make sure to get all the components ready before you begin assembling.

1) Baked pooris
2)  Boiled Channa (chickpeas)/ Potato with salt to taste. You can also use sprouts for a nutritious chaat.
3) Low Fat Curd / Dahi / Yoghurt beaten till smooth and seasoned with salt to taste
4) Sweet and Tangy Tamarind and Dates Chutney
5) Spicy Coriander and Mint Chutney
6) Sev substitute - Dry Roasted and crushed instant noodles (optional component)
7) Chopped Coriander Leaves
8) Chaat Masala (I used store-bought chaat masala)

If you want to make the individual cup-shaped chaats, then take one of the baked poori cups and begin assembling. Else, if you have made flat pooris, then just place 3-4 of them in a plate, give them a crush to break them into smaller pieces that fits in your mouth and layer them just the same.

Layer the baked pooris with some cooked channa (chickpeas) / potato or some sprouted beans.

Over that, pour a layer of smooth and beaten low fat curd.

Next, add some Tamarind and Dates Chutney.

Followed by the spicy coriander and mint chutney.

After that add the sev substitute (if using) and finally top it with freshly chopped coriander leaves and sprinkle some chaat masala. Optionally, you can garnish with pomegranate seeds as well.

The best thing about chaats is that the tastes can be adjusted by varying the amount of the various components. I like to pour so much curd on it that it is overflowing and dripping over the pooris. And plenty of spicy chutney and a small dollop of the tamarind and dates chutney. J, on the other hand, likes more of the tamarind chutney and a small dollop of spicy chutney :)

Whatever way you like it, eat up without guilt, because it does not include anything deep-fried and has just about a tsp of oil for the entire batch :)

(Phew! That was a long post! In fact, I wrote this post little-by-little, everyday. But it was definitely fun to try this out)


Behind the Scenes

All the dishes posted in this blog have been cooked by me. Some of the recipes are mine and some of them adapted / borrowed in which case, the link to the original source is provided.

I am also the photographer and the author behind this blog.

If you would like to borrow any of my recipes or photographs, please do let me know and link back to the original post on this blog.

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