Also known as basket chaat, the katori chaat is one of the most famous street foods of Lucknow.
The vast diversity of cultures and palates has made India replete with options when it comes to food. What is most savoured in the country is the food served in the small nooks and corners. Street food enjoys a huge fan following amongst Indians. Be it golgappe, chaat, dahi bhalle or vada pav, frankie and bhelpuri, there is no dearth of variety when it comes to the street food of India. Interestingly, each region of this huge Indian sub-continent has a special street food to its name. Think of Mumbai and vada pav instantly strikes your head, come to Delhi, momos and golgappe are always in line of sight and if you move to Uttar Pradesh, chatpati and tangy chaats hoard the markets and galis of their cities.
One such city of Uttar Pradesh which has a rich culinary heritage is Lucknow. The city of Nawabs, as it is rightly called, the Lucknowi tehzeeb and talafuz are markers of its royal history. Alongside, you can see the streets thronging with galouti and tunday kebabs on skewers and people relishing them to their heart’s content. One thing you might have skipped amidst the meat-intensive fare is the chaat counter. Banaras and other cities are famous for tamatar ki chaat and matar choora. However, Lucknow boasts of a special katori chaat that is served in a basket.
What Is Katori Chaat?
The chaat is delectable combination of an array of ingredients, ranging from potatoes, chickpeas, papdi, bhalle and a variety of spices and sauces. The USP of the chaat is the fact that it is served in a katori. Now, you would say what's the big deal? Well, unlike other chaats, this one has an edible katori made of potatoes. Oh yes, you read that right.
You can call it katori chaat, tokri chaat or simply basket chaat, but what remains constant is the taste and essence of the street food. It is believed that the birth of this innovative dish took place at the city’s Royal Café. It is from there that the culture of eating chaat in an edible basket became common. However, the authentic flavours are still kept safe in the katori of the café.
The basket is made from grated and deep-fried potatoes, which is then stuffed with potato patties, bhallas, chickpeas and saunth, with oodles of curd and drizzle of tamarind chutney. The chaat is finished off with some pomegranate seeds.