June 30, 2015
Chaat means so delicious that you want to lick your fingers clean, and why Indian small plates are called chaat. At once spicy, savory, and with hints of sweet notes, the dishes like papardi chaat, samosa chaat, and aloo chaat all make you want more and more and more. One of my favorite spots to try Indian chaat is Kamdar Plaza on Devon Ave. in Chicago. Tell them I sent you!
Most Indian street vendors put together their own spice blend, called chaat masala. It's used to give street foods a pop in flavor and extra punchiness. A few key spices are traditionally always a part of the blend, including amchur powder (dried mango powder), kala namak (black salt), and dried ginger.
I have created my own chaat masala from years of visiting India, eating from vendors, and suffering Delhi belly as a result. Use it to make some amazing concoctions like this Grilled Okra, perfect for July 4th or any weekend when you want to impress your guests with your spice know how. I guarantee they will be back for more veggies - so be prepared!
Start with the Okra. One trick? Make sure you take the time to dry it well after washing, to avoid any of that traditional okra stickiness. Quarter it lengthwise.
Make your spice blend and mix with oil in another bowl.
Toss this blend with the sliced okra. Not a fan of okra? Use any other veggie from squash to long sweet or hot peppers, and even corn on the cob. You can also brush this mixture over meat like chicken or even shrimp. We even use it on homemade cheese, paneer.
Now, grill to perfection (see image up top). Super easy!
Chaat Masala Grilled Okra
30 fresh okra pods, washed and dried well
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chaat masala
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne
1 teaspoon amchur powder, optional *
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons vegetable, grape seed, or coconut
1 lemon, sliced in half
Quarter the okra lengthwise and set aside.
In a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients except the lemon. *Even though chaat masala already has amchur powder in it, I always like to add a little more. Don't worry if you don't have it, just omit and use once you can get your hands on it. We should have it for sale on our website soon.
Heat your grill or griddle over medium-high heat. Arrange okra in a single layer. Cook in 2 batches if needed.
Cook about 3 minutes on one side. Flip over and cook another 3 minutes until grilled and lightly brown. Obviously, reduce cooking time as your grill and/or pan heat up. You want the okra to be lightly browned on all side, not burned.
If you are wondering where to get chaat masala, you can make your own. My recipe is on page 37 of my cookbook, Indian For Everyone, or you can purchase from my website. My spices are also sold at 2 Chicago Whole Foods locations (Lincoln Park - spice aisle - and West Loop - international aisle). Know that you can also find chaat masala at most Indian grocery stores. The taste will vary slightly depending on the recipe.
Enjoy! xoxo - Anupy
Share this post, email me (email@example.com) how you used your chaat masala, and I may just post the suggestion on my website!