For the uninitiated, Aam Papad is a delicious, chewy fruit leather made with mango pulp mixed with sugar solution.
It is always a task to explain the word ‘chatpata’ to non-Indians, don't you agree? It is a unique flavour that actually combines many flavours. A good ‘chatpata’ snack is salty, sharp, spicy and slightly sweet at the same time, just like the ‘aam papad chaat’ from Amritsar.
Amritsar is a city situated in Punjab. It is most renowned for the Golden Temple, a noted pilgrimage site for Sikhs. It was built by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ramdas who laid the foundation of the temple around a man-made lake. He also invited many small merchants and traders to populate the city and by the end of 17th century, it became one of the most sought-after cities in the Punjab region. Over the years, the city also became a hub for delicious street food like Kulchas, Amritsari Macchi, Fried Chicken etc. But these are usual suspects, alongside these, Amritsar also boasts of many unique but not-so-popular street food that is hard to come across anywhere else. The aam-papad chaat, certainly belongs to that legion of snacks.
For the uninitiated, Aam Papad is a delicious, chewy fruit leather made with mango pulp mixed with sugar solution. You can easily find them in churan shops or local general stores. They can be made of both raw or ripe mangoes, and another interesting thing about aam papad is that it tastes different in every different region of India. They are pretty delicious to tuck into as is, but in Amritsar, they are used to make a rather piquant chaat. This chaat, does not include any curd or chutney, or cut vegetables. Nor is there any place for tikkis or bhallas in here. Yet, this chaat is nothing short of a sensation in terms of flavour.
To make this chaat, sweet and khatta –meetha(sweet and sour) Aam Papad are cut in chunks, then sprinkled over with homemade masala made of cumin, ajwain, raw mango powder, rock salt and black pepper. It is finished off with a drizzle of lemon juice. In some places, a masaledar chutney or concentrate is also added to the chaat.
This is indeed one of the simplest chaats we have ever come across, but when it comes to the ultimate ‘chatpata’ flavour, very few could hold a candle to this chaat, won't you agree. Have you ever tried the Aam papad chaat? Do let us know.