Most chaats in India that are eaten today have originated in Uttar Pradesh
In India, you do not have to travel too far to stumble upon a chaat ka thela, or a makeshift, stall offering the most delicious snacks, that sometimes come doused in curd, or smeared in spices. Chaat, is not a specific dish, but a class of foods, that are made with all sorts of vegetables, legumes, spices, chutneys, curd, and whatnot. The word ‘chaat’ means to ‘lick’ in Hindi, and the delicacies are such that you’d be compelled to lick your plates clean. Chaats go back a long time in history. Chaats, such as Dahi Vada or Dahi Bara, were enjoyed by Indians on special occasions since 500 BC. A recipe like Dahi Bada, as kshiravata is mentioned in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopaedia compiled by Someshvara III, ruled of present-day day Karnataka.
Most chaats in India that are eaten today have originated in Uttar Pradesh or because of Uttar Pradesh. That’s right, according to a popular legend, when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan moved his capital to Delhi, his royal doctors asked the people of Mughal capital Delhi to consume lots of spicy food and curd to combat the alkaline water of Yamuna river, which paved the way to the legacy of chaats in Delhi. In Uttar Pradesh, several chaats continued to evolve, some due to the fusion of culinary cultures of different communities, some due to local preference for certain seasonal vegetables and dals. Here are some unique chaats that make us drool every time.
Lucknow’s Tokri Chaat
The only chaat that comes with its own edible plate. That’s right. Tokri means basket in Hindi, which is made with grated potatoes that are fried in shape of a basket for this special chaat. This ‘basket’ is then filled with curd, potatoes, pomegranate seeds, sev, and more.
Banarasi Tamatar Chaat
Benaras or Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of the world, and its regional delicacies has lured people from world over. Made with goodness of tomatoes, mashed potatoes, and spices, this mushy chaat is garnished with date tamarind chutney, nimki and chana dal. Slurrping much? Try this recipe.
Aloo ke Baroole
Aloo ke Barule is a hidden gem of Aligarh. This delicious street food is made of baby potatoes, which are coated in a paste made of besan, chaat masala, arrowroot powder, and red chilli powder, etc., and fried in mustard oil. It is crispy, spicy, and all things delicious.
Moradabadi Moong Dal
This thick dal-based chaat is made with boiled moong dal that is tossed up with tamarind water, dried red chillies, butter ginger, herbs, and spices. It is garnished with coriander and served in leaf bowls.
How many of these chaats have you tried? do let us know.