Garadu Ki Chaat: Ever Tried This Winter Street Food From Indore Made With Tangy Yam?
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You know a city is very proud of its street food if it features the same in their wedding buffets. When I went to Indore for what I describe as one of the best weddings I have ever attended, I was on cloud nine. This was a wedding that took its food seriously. The breakfast was very different from the lunch, which happened to be remarkably different from the dinner; and each of these ‘big meals’ ensured that we ‘Dellhites’ leave our snobbery behind and relish the true Indori fare, a la Indoris. Besides the usual suspects like Indori poha, jalebi and samosa, we also tried our hands at the Indori Garadu ki chaat.  

Full disclosure, I did go to the counter thinking I am going for Aloo chaat. That’s right, in terms of appearance, Garadu ki chaat looks very much like Delhi’s Aloo chaat. “Yeh aloo chaat hai, Bhaiyya (are these aloo chaat?), I pried. “Nahi”, pat came the answer. “To ye shakarkandi ya meethe aloo ke hai (so are these made with sweet potatoes”, “Nahi isme aloo hai hi nahi (no, potatoes have got nothing to do with the snack”, he clarified once and for all.  

While Indore dotes on potatoes, but it is officially the season of Garadu or purple yam (Dioscoreaalata) there. These delish tubers are only around from October to March every year, and can be found in local markets and vegetable carts around the city. Garadu ki chaat, or simply Garadu is a tasty, crispy snack that the Indoris like to relish in these months to keep them warm.  Again, Garadu should not be confused with shakarkandi or sweet potatoes, another breed of tubers that are also very popular in winter.  

Garadu ki chaat, is simply yam chunks that are deep-fried or baked. These crispy fried cubes are then sprinkled with the hot and tangy spice mix called the jeeralu masala. When I tried, the Garadu ki chaat, hing or asafoetida appeared to be the hero of this masala. But it also comprises other zingy spices like cumin powder, ginger powder and red chilli. Finished off with a squeeze of lime juice, this Garadu ki chaat is truly something special.  

It is advisable to prepare the Jeeralu masala first, you do find the premises in the market, but it is very easy to put together at home as well. 

When working with the Garadu, make sure you trim off the ends and use only the middle, fleshy section of the tuber. Peel it, cut it into large chunks and boil until it is soft. To check if they are boiled you can prick it with a knife, if the knife goes inside easily, it means it is boiled. Remove from heat and drain, and then chop the Garadu further. Let it cool down, deep fry the Garadu, sprinkle over the Jeeralu masala, salt and squeeze some lemon juice on top, to enjoy it the Indori way.