Food

Delhi Papri Chaat: Make this street food-inspired recipe for a flavour-packed party appetizer

Chef Anjum Anand’s recipe mixes humble ingredients drizzled with two chutneys for an unforgettable bite.

Chef Anjum Anand’s recipe mixes humble ingredients drizzled with two chutneys for an unforgettable bite

(Photo credit: Martin Poole)

This Delhi street food-inspired starter from Anjum Anand’s cookbook I Love India is a mix of pantry staples drizzled with flavour-packed chutneys and placed on a bed of fried pastry (papri which is sold in Southeast Asian grocery stores). It not only makes for unforgettable appetizer, but many of the elements can be purchased ahead of time if you’re tight on time. Read: perfect if you’re someone who loves to entertain and cherishes this time of year when you can still fill your backyard or patio with family, friends and tons of food.

Delhi Papri Chaat

By Anjum Anand

I would never go to Delhi without visiting Sunder Nagar market to eat a plate of this famous streetfood. The hawker tosses crispy papri into a dried banana leaf plate, tops with potatoes and chickpeas, and almost throws the yogurt on and — lastly — the chutneys. All the while, I watch, mesmerized: there is something so relaxing about those deft, repetitive moves.

It is hard to understand how such humble ingredients create such a spectacular mouthful, delivering so many flavours and textures. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t gravitate to this dish. I make it often, and you can buy both the papri and the tamarind chutney, so there is little work involved. This is mostly a lunch or teatime snack for us, though we also make it when friends come over. You can also make more elegant bites using pani puri, the spherical papri, and stuff them.

Ingredients

  • 15-20 large (3 inch) papri (fried pastry discs)
  • 1 waxy potato, boiled, peeled and cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • 2 handfuls of cooked chickpeas, rinsed if canned
  • 1-1 ¼ cup pain yogurt, ideally full fat
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • ¾ tsp roast and ground cumin seeds
  • Pinch of chili powder (optional)
  • Good pinch of sugar
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 3-4 tbsp tamarind chutney (see below)
  • 3-4 tbsp tangy herb chutney (see below)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onions
  • Large handful of sev (small crispy vermicelli), if you can find it
  • Handful of pomegranate seeds, to serve

Tamarind Chutney:

  • 2 ¾ oz dried tamarind
  • ½ cup dates
  • ½ cup sugar, or to taste
  • ½ - ¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ -1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 ½ - 2 tsp roast and ground cumin seeds, or to taste

Tangy Herb Chutney:

  • 3 cups coriander leaves, and some stalks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
  • ¾ packed cup mint leaves
  • ¼ cup pistachios (shelled weight)
  • Salt, to taste
  • ½ garlic clove (optional)
  • 4 tbsp water

Preparation

For the Tamarind Chutney:

Place the tamarind and dates in a saucepan. Cover with water and a lid and cook over a gentle heat for 20-30 minutes or until it is pulpy and mashed. Pour into a large sieve over a large bowl and force through as much as you can, then, when cold enough to handle, collect the pulp, in the sieve and squeeze it — still over the bowl — to remove all of the bits. Discard the fibres and stones. 

Pour the tamarind and date liquid back into the pan with the remaining ingredients and cook for 1 hour or so.  It will cook down, become glossy and syrupy. Taste and adjust the sugar, seasoning and spice. Pour into sterilized jars and, once cool, place in the fridge. Or leave to cool, then divide into portions and freeze.

For the Tangy Herb Chutney:

Blend all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy; it might take a minute or so. Taste and adjust the seasoning and tang (lemon juice) to taste.

Keep in an airtight glass jar in the fridge.

For the Delhi Papri Chaat:

For a traditional plating, place the papri, slightly overlapping, in a platter. Scatter over the potato and chickpeas.

Whisk the yoghurt with the spices, sugar and salt. Spoon evenly over the discs and then spoon over both chutneys (normally they are just spooned over but you can try drizzling them over in lines, or even feathering them with a toothpick).

Scatter over the onions, sev and pomegranate seeds. 

For fingerfood bites, serve individually, with all the bits crowning each papri. 

Serve immediately.


Excerpted from I Love India by Anjum Anand. Photography by Martin Poole. Recipes Copyright © 2017. Excerpted by permission of Quadrille. All rights reserved.

Servings: Makes 4-6 servings

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