Snack, Salad: Sprouted Chaat with Tamarind Chutney

July 18, 2023

Snack, Salad: Sprouted Chaat with Tamarind Chutney


Billiee doodh chaatri hai. In Hindi, this means the cat is licking up milk. Billiee is cat, doodh is milk, and chaatri or chaatna means to lick. 

In my classes, it's how I first explain the concept of chaat  - so good you want to lick your fingers clean. Chaat literally means to lick or to taste like the cat in the example above. It's also the term associated with street foods or snacks in India. And, it refers to the spice blend used to make this street food absolutely irresistible - chaat masala. Remember, when you see that word masala, it's an indication that you are dealing with a blend of spices. Every street vendor has their own special combination of key spices to make their own variation of chaat masala, as I have here on my website as well - from my own childhood taste memories. 

I'm known in my family to be obsessed with North Indian street food - gol gappa, spiced chickpeas, and roasted, spiced corn. It was the very thing that I was told to stay away from as a young girl growing up outside Philadelphia visiting family in India. My parents forbid them from letting me eat it from street vendors lest I get sick from the non-filtered water and on and on. But, my cousins could never resist either, so we would head to the markets and literally gorge. I would also promptly get sick (of course they never did). Oh, the stories I could tell you about laying in bed for days on end, and worse if we were in our village where part of the process meant calling over the local 'healer' to ward off any evil eye or nazaar I may have inadvertently contracted on my visit. But, we will save that for another post.  

I worked hard for years to replicate these flavors in our home in King if Prussia, Pennsylvania. Seriously hard. And, whenever we could not get the puffed rice from the small Indian market in neighboring Norristown, I reached for Rice Krispies - yes, the cereal - which is puffed rice! Now you understand why my company is called Indian As Apple Pie? The crazy things we did in our Indian American homes to replicate our favorite flavors in the 1970s and 80s when Indian ingredients were still tough to find. 

My purpose in sharing these stories is to emphasize that no matter the consequences, eating chaat is so worth it. That's how good this combination of flavors truly is. So, what makes a good chaat? Typically, a few key elements: spice, crunch, sweet, and sometimes yogurt. So, you'll take a base ingredient - usually cooked beans. Chickpeas are a great one to use, add the key spices including kala namak (black salt) and chaat masala, crunch from puffed rice or fried strings of chickpea flour, and sweet from a tamarind chutney on top. 

Note that we use NO OIL - except for the fried element you'll sprinkle in, you don't actually add oil to make chaat, making it one of the most fulfilling and healthy 'salads' you'll ever eat. The tamarind chutney is sweet, so you just want to be sure you don't over do it. 

In our home, we typically make time to assemble chaat on a weekend. I'll make my base legumes - in this case sprouted dal, place boiled potato on the side, puffed rice, and tamarind chutney and/or mint chutney, and then everyone will assemble their own plates. If we have gol gappa and the pani or water for them, we'll take this very 'salad' and use it to fill the gol gappa, dip it in pani, and munch away, licking our fingers clean. 

Truly, this is a treat you want to make for your family as well. My recipe below will give you the exact combination you'll need to create the perfect taste profile. Swap whatever you want in for the sprouted dal including cooked chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans, barley, or a combination of them all. Use boiled, peeled, and diced potato or sweet potato or even quinoa! Make this as a salad for a summer picnic, just keep the crunchy elements and chutney to the side so that they don't get soggy. Also, if you are swapping ingredients, be sure to use something that holds up to lemon juice and the other ingredients. So, an alfalfa sprout, long mung bean sprouts, will not work as well, probably because they have a higher water content themselves and tend to get even more water logged. Want to add something truly unexpected? Top this with dry roasted peanuts. For a how-to on sprouting, click here

This will be the summer dish you'll be taking with you everywhere like I did on Saturday night along with a jar of Tamarind Chutney. Folks were going nuts over it. Imagine. Folks going nuts over sprouts! Interesting. Mic drop. My work is done. 

Snack, Salad: Sprouted Chaat with Tamarind Chutney

8 cups of water or more
3 teaspoons salt, divided
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
4 cups sprouts from beans (moong, moat/moth, masoor, black chickpeas)
1 cup minced onion, red or yellow
1 – 4 green Thai chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons roasted and ground cumin seeds
2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kala namak
2 teaspoons chaat masala
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 heaping cup boiled and diced potato
2 tablespoons minced cilantro, for garnish
Rice Krispies cereal, for garnish
Indian As Apple Pie tamarind chutney, for garnish

1. To a roomy pot, add the water, salt, and turmeric and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and add the sprouts to the water. Let them sit for 3-5 minutes until they soften. Drain and discard the water. Typically I don't cook sprouts to keep their nutritional value intact. But, another school of thought is that cooking them a touch makes them easier to digest. Traditionally, they will boil the sprouts. I thought a good, happy medium was to let them blanche in boiled water. This touch does make for a better texture in this salad. 

2. Transfer the sprouts to a roomy bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 30 minutes. Add the onion, chiles, cumin, red chile, kala namak, chaat masala, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir until well combined. You can skip the refrigeration. But I like my onions very crunchy. If you add them to the warm sprouts, they soften slightly. It’s still delicious, but a slightly different texture. If serving immediately, proceed to the next step. If serving later, refrigerate until you are ready to serve and then proceed so that nothing gets soggy.

3. Add the potato and cilantro. Stir and dole out into individual bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of Rice Krispies and a dollop of tamarind chutney. Eat immediately. There are so many other things you can add to chaat including diced tomatoes, cucumber, grated carrots or daikon, and basically anything crunchy. While I love tomatoes, I find they can get soggy if we don't eat all the chaat immediately, so I leave them out. 

Watch me assemble it!  

There is so much going on here on my website that I thought I'd show you rather than just tell you. We've got everything from Zoom cooking classes on Mondays to In-person events, new products including legumes, MEAL KITS, YouTube videos. Oh my! Check it all out! xoxo Anupy

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