Hi, Ray here again.
I’ve been getting the hard word about the lack of reviews of Indian snack recipes. Not just the well-known snacks, such as samosas, but street food snacks as well.
The biggest problem from my point of view is that I have never eaten Indian street food – you don’t get much of it in the wilds of Croydon and Northampton.
But I’m game to try out some of the recipes to see if I can make some good Indian snacks.
I had a look at the recipes in the starter and snack recipe category and decided to try out the Aloo Chat recipe. It looks easy enough with not too many ingredients and very east steps to make the snack. Is it chat or chaat? I did a quick Google search and it looks like chaat is the most common spelling. But this recipe was sent to us as chat so it stays as chat.
I bought the ingredients that I needed when doing my usual weekly shop – all I needed to do was buy some fresh coriander (cilantro) and mint (there is some mint out in my garden but it looks in pretty poor shape so I decided to lash out and buy some good stuff).
Sunday afternoon found me boiling the cubed potatoes and letting them cool. I made up the paste while the potatoes were cooling and this is where I hit the first problem. The recipe called for 100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) of water. Way too much to make a paste with the rest of the ingredients (mainly leaves). But I didn’t realise this until I added the water to the food processor and hit the switch. So I ended up with a very runny paste – it wasn’t really a paste, just liquid with some very wet leaves and spices.
However, I had to press on. On reflection I should have thrown the paste away and made up another one with less water. But hindsight is great and I did not think about it at the time. So, onwards.
I put the cooled potatoes into my serving dish, poured over the “paste”, scattered over the chopped onions and sprinkled over the salt before covering the dish with kitchen film and popping the serving dish into the fridge for a couple of hours.
The tasting crew came round and I served up some of the Aloo Chat to everyone and gathered up the comments.
Nobody really liked it. There was a strong lemon taste, along with a good mint taste. And the onion was nice and crunchy. The spice/heat level was “medium to hot”. But most of the comments were negative. There was too much liquid. And shouldn’t aloo chat be warm or hot? It’s hard to see how cold food would be a successful street food. A bit of googling highlighted that most aloo chaat recipes produced warm, or hot, food and that they had a chaat masala spice mixture. There was a little of the aloo chat left over and it tasted a bit better the next day when I tried it but this was not a good recipe. The aloo chat only got a poor taste score of 4.5 out of 10. The chat may have been a bit better as a side dish but not as a snack.
Following on from this poor recipe review, I checked with some of my Indian friends. I asked them to just look at the aloo chat recipe that I tried and the recently published aloo chaat recipe that is also among the starter and snack recipes. The feedback that I got was that neither recipe was really much good but that a combination of the two recipes might produce a good one. And my friends from Northern India both said that aloo chaat should be hot, with the potatoes being fried and crisp and covered with chaat masala and onions.
So I’m going to try and produce an aloo chaat recipe based on this feedback. I’m not a chef by any means but I should be able to produce better street food than the recipe that I tried. I’ll let you know how the new recipe turns out.