Archives for posts with tag: chanay

Pakistani street-foods are the ultimate in sweet, salty, and sour deliciousness.  I am a huge fan of chaat and when I miss the taste of chaat I usually opt for this version with potatoes and chickpeas.  In these hot summer months, it’s the perfect light snack.  The temperature is scorching hot and I feel so very lethargic that I just want to  make something easy.  I no longer have the patience to stand in front of the stove and sweat, even in air conditioning.

I last went to Pakistan for my wedding shopping, I haven’t been back since due to schedules and the like.  But, the thing I miss most, besides family, of course, is the street food.  My mom, my aunt, and I went crazy during my wedding shopping, getting my bridal dresses, jewelry, and the various other outfits.  Despite all the rush and chaos, we could calm down with a bowl of chaat practically everyday.  Sitting on a rickety chair with an even ricketier table at a street vendor, we would just relax with our chaat.  The scorching sun in the market, the pollution from traffic and rickshaws, the fan that was blowing around hot air didn’t even phase us.  It was our time to unwind.  Let me tell you, wedding preparations are stressful.

Now that I’m way beyond my newlywed days and back to reality, I have the responsibility of making the chaat.  As we have established before my husband is good for nothing in the kitchen.  Thankfully, chaat is simple and pantry-friendly.  I always have potatoes and chickpeas on hand.  I don’t think my household would run without them.  The tamarind chutney adds the right amount of tang.  I love tamarind, I love tamarind candies coated in chaat masala.  I am salivating just thinking about them.  (You can get similar candies in Mexican/Latin American grocery stores).  My chutney recipe isn’t 100% authentic because I make mine in 5 minutes.  The real version is slowly simmered on a stove all day and I haven’t learned how to make it yet.  My shortcut chutney is just fine for the time being.  Chaat is a nice departure from usual summer fare and could also be considered a salad of sorts.  You don’t even need to go to Pakistan to try it, but I must admit, even though mine is pretty tasty, it is not even close to Pakistani chaat.

Potato and Chickpea “Chaat” with Tamarind Chutney

Serves 3

Ingredients

2 cups cooked chickpeas

1-2 medium-sized potatoes, boiled until tender and then peeled and cut into a small dice

1/2 a medium-sized red onion, finely chopped

1 long green chili, finely chopped (seeds and ribs removed for less spicy)

1 tomato, finely chopped, optional

1/4 bunch of cilantro chopped (use as much as you like)

a few mint leaves, optional

chaat masala, (as much as you like, I like to add a lot, about 1 tablespoon, you can find it in Indian/Pakistani grocery stores, I use Shan brand)

for the Tamarind Chutney:

2 heaping teaspoons of tamarind paste

juice of 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon chaat masala

1/4 teaspoon red chili powder (as much as you like)

1 tablespoon raw sugar

Method

First, make the chutney by combining all the ingredients for the chutney in a small saucepan on medium heat and melt the tamarind until it becomes liquidy, about 5 minutes.  If your chutney is thick, thin it out with some water.  Chill for an hour.

Next, combine all the ingredients for the chaat; the chickpeas, potatoes, red onion, green chili, tomatoes (optional), cilantro,  mint (optional), and chaat masala.  Check for salt.  I don’t add salt because the chaat masala already has it in it.  I got ahead of myself and mixed in the tamarind chutney with the chickpeas, usually I just drizzle some on top of the chickpeas.  If you would like you can mix the chutney in with the chickpeas as I did here.  Chill the chaat for an hour in the refrigerator.  Some people like to drizzle on thinned out yogurt on top as well.  Garnish with cilantro leaves and a sprinkling of chaat masala.

Chickpeas

Advertisements

My husband always requests this dish.  He has his set in stone favorites and maybe it is a good thing that he knows what he likes.   Chickpeas stew (channay ka salan) is a favorite of his.  My sister and I tease him with the nickname, “woohoo, channay.”  Okay, you might think we are completely bonkers, but there is a reason why we call him that.  About 3 years ago, at his sister’s wedding, my sister, my husband, and I were at the dinner buffet and my husband spotted this dish in the lineup and exclaimed, “woohoo, channay!!!”  My sister and I looked at each other in utter amazement.  Out of all the dishes, he was most excited about the chickpeas.  I was drooling over the biryani and the haleem.  The chickpeas were an afterthought to me.  Partially, because this dish is something I can easily prepare at home with almost no effort.

You could say it is good for me that he likes this dish so much.  It is so easy to prepare, much like many Pakistani dishes.  I do not post too many Pakistani dishes (although, I do cook them frequently), because a lot of them have the same ingredients with a different protein and/or vegetable combination.  I am not that adept at making some of the more difficult ones, yet.  Any Pakistanis reading this might also be unimpressed because this is a basic home-cooking recipe that xyz million people can make blindfolded.  It is also very hard to get these items to look pretty, because most dishes are stewed.  Hopefully, this one appeals to your senses!

My husband says I never give him credit for helping me choose dishes to make, so here I am giving him full credit.  Hopefully, he will be happy with this.  He will probably mock me and say, “out of all your entries, you give me a tribute in your chickpeas post!”  To this I will respond, “you were the one who ‘woohoo-ed’ over them.”

In my family, this dish is usually served for brunch, but it is also great for dinner!  Enjoy!

Spicy  Stewed Chickpeas

Serves 2-3

Ingredients

vegetable oil

3 cups of cooked chickpeas (soaked then boiled in water with a pinch of baking soda until tender)

1 medium-sized red onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped finely (optional and not necessary)

1 large tomato, chopped (I prefer to purée the tomato, but chopped is fine)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon red chili powder, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder, homemade is best

salt to taste

water

long green chilies (available at Indian/Pakistani grocery store and even at regular grocery stores, they are usually about 3 inches long and thin).

handful of cilantro, chopped

a few slices of red onion, for garnish

a little extra garam masala, for garnish

Method

Heat some oil (about 2-3 tablespoons) on medium heat in a medium-sized pot.  Add in the onions and cook until light brown, about 7 minutes.  Make sure they are not too brown, just about to turn light brown.  Add in the garlic, if you re using it and allow it to melt in with the onions.  Next add the chopped tomatoes and fry for a minute or so.  Add all the spices and allow the raw taste to cook out of the spices, about 2 minutes.  Add in the chickpeas and mix around so that everything is distributed.  Add in some water, the amount is up to you, the water will evaporate.  You can add more water as it is cooking if you do not like the consistency.  I would start with 2 cups.  Cook on medium-low heat until you do not see any individual pieces of tomatoes or onion.  The gravy should be uniform.  This will take 30-45 minutes.  About 10 minutes before it is ready I like to throw in a whole green chili for some extra flavor.  Garnish with chopped green chilies, cilantro, sliced red onion, and a sprinkling of garam masala.  Serve with fresh naans or roti.  If you are feeling decadent then try paratha or poori.