A couple turn of events inspired this post. The first involves a case of childhood thievery. While I was never the type to shoplift a Bazooka at the corner shop, I was known to sneak off tamarind**, well hidden at the cupboards, and eat it all. Risking a tummy ache and my mom's most horrid threats of most severe consequences and punishment, unless someone fesses up, but I never did.
Years later, a fun outing to Rasika in DC and having their claim to fame spinach chaat inspired this post further. While Rasika isn't an authentic Indian restaurant, it's an amazing place to get dolled up and go out. Their basket of breads, aubergine chutney and Kashmiri lamb are among the other highlights.
chard and dinosaur kale, so it replaced the spinach. Also, I was recently dehydrating and oven 'chip-sing' everything in sight, so I decided to bake the chard rather than flash fry it as they do at the restaurant. They also do not use chickpea batter to coat the spinach which suited me just fine, as it would be a challenge to bake chickpea batter coated red Swiss chard and dinosaur kale to perfect crispness.
Chaat is a well known street food in India, and while I know a variety of chaats, I had never heard of a spinach one. So I reached out with an inquisitive and curious mind to my Indian friends on twitter and asked. You can see pretty much all their responses below. As it turns out, chickpea batter fried spinach chaat is a recent street food trend in India, not traditional.
If you want to impress your friends, you can make all components ahead of time and assemble last minute before serving. I like my tamarind chutney more acidic so I added only 1/4 cup of sugar, but you might want to add some more sugar and dates. I couldn't stop eating the chutney with an incy wincy spoon all by itself.
The red Swiss chard and dinosaur kale chips came out crispy perfect and kept for three days in an air tight container, still maintaining their character until we ran out. I am curious if they would keep so crisp and fresh even longer?! I used the tamarind I had in my pantry, but I highly suggest you buy the seedless. The recipe is for the seedless. My lowest oven setting is 175F. Some oven baked kale and chard chip recipes call for 150F.
We are planning another outing to Rasika soon as it turns out I missed the Sev Batata Puri - crispy biscuits, potatoes, raw mangoes, gram (chickpea) flour vermicelli and chutneys, and also to revisit with the Indian waiter who I fell in love with in the first place. My father in law is very funny, in an absent minded professor kind of way from Massachusetts, funny. As we order drinks, oblivious, he asks for hot chocolate. The waiter offered to run to the nearest Starbucks to get it. It was a hilarity of a night.
Majdool Date and Tamarind Chutney
1/2 packet seedless tamarind
10 Majdool dates, pitted and chopped
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 cups water
Add all ingredients into a medium sauce pan, bring to a boil and immediately turn down to low/medium simmer. Let cook for 20 minutes or until a thick consistency is reached. Whiz in a blender or mash with an immersion blender.
If you wish for more a liquidy sauce, add some more water. Keep refrigerated in a tight lid container until assembling chaat. Tamarind chutney can be used as a condiment with samosas and other dishes as well.
Red Swiss Chard and Dinosaur Kale Chips*
A bundle of chard or kale
1 tablespoon canola oil
Sprinkle of salt
Preheat to 175F oven. Cut out the rib and stem of chard and kale. Rinse the leaves well and spin in a salad spinner. Tap excess water with a paper towel. Make sure the chard and kale leaves are absolutely dry. Toss in a bowl with 1 tablespoon oil, mix gently to make sure all leaves are coated with a thin film of oil. Lay on parchment paper lined cookie sheets, sprinkle with salt and bake for 20 minutes. Check for crispness. Take out chard and kale chips that are done and bake the rest for longer in 5 minute increments to make sure they are not over done. Let cool and keep in an air tight container until assembling chaat.
Ingredients:1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon sugar
Mix yogurt and sugar and keep refrigerated until assembling chaat.
Diced red onions
Red Swiss Chard and Dinosaur Kale Chips Chaat
Layer chard and kale chips. Add diced tomatoes and onions on top and sprinkle with sweetened yogurt and chutney and repeat to create a few layers. Serve immediately.
Thank you all for participating in the conversation on twitter!
@ASpoonfulofYumm not heard of one till now. see this recipe http://usmasala.blogspot.com/2010/10/palakspinach-chaat.html
@kankanasaxena not that I am aware of Shulie! Fried Spinach taste really good and can be added in chaats for sure. came across this http://www.dailygarnish.com/2011/11/make-it-naked-palak-chaat-recipe.html might be helpful!
@kankanasaxena don't even mention it sweetie. You helped me learn something new today :) @ASpoonfulofYumm
@indianfoodrocks spinach pakodas?
@Soma_R can't think of any except if you make spinach pakora (fritters) and make chaat with it w/ chutney sev etc
@bakerstreet29 Yes, yes. I've had plenty. It tastes yum! Spinach chaat or pakoras? Pakoras we've been eating forever. Spinach chaat is relatively new. @indianfoodrocks