Friday, January 13, 2012

Majdool Dates & Tamarind Chutney, Sweetened Yogurt & Red Swiss Chard & Dinosaur Kale Chips Chaat

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.
I was obsessed with duplicating the palak (spinach) chaat, but then I saw a beautiful and nutrient packed bundle of red Swiss 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

Ingredients:
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*

Ingredients:
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.

Sweetened Yogurt

Ingredients:
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon sugar
Mix yogurt and sugar and keep refrigerated until assembling chaat.
Diced tomatoes
Diced red onions

Red Swiss Chard and Dinosaur Kale Chips Chaat

Assembly:
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!
@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
@ASpoonfulofYumm @kankanasaxena yup...kankana 's right, new to me too ! thanks shulie ;-)
@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
@Soma_R I didn't. but why not! like a samosa chaat @indianfoodrocks
@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
@chinmayiebhat I have never heard of a fried spinach chaat but it sounds yum ;)

Other Kale Chips recipes:
*@MyFoodThoughts' Recipe: Kale Chips 
@dbcurrie's On the Kale Chip Bandwagon - and off again 

**Tamarind can be found in Indian and Asian grocery stores

30 comments :

  1. Great recipes and clicks! I particularly like that chutney. Divine!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. This chutney looks fabulous, darling! And thank you for the shout out!

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  3. This is fantastic and you should start selling it:) a healthy twist to a chaat. really good idea! i would eat the tamarind too:) and loved spitting out the seeds (even scraped out seeds from the tamarind and collected them!).. oh the waiter :)

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  4. ooh love the idea of Kale chaat! looks like I missed out on the twitter conversation.. Kale is my current obsession and the topic of my latest post!

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  5. I honestly have never had tamarind, but you make me want to try it definitely now:-) Each component sound wonderful, but together I bet are fantastic! Beautiful, Hugs, Terra

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  6. I have never seen tamarind on the store shelves...I'm going to check out some more specialty markets! I'd love to taste your chutney!

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  7. Fabulous idea! My husband and i both love chaats and have been eating a lot more kale for health reasons. This is perfect.

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  8. i love date chutney, especially with samosa and as dressing for chaats :D your version of chaat definitely looks chic & unique ;-) thanks for the mention, nice of you :-)

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  9. Yum, yum - love all these, what a treat!

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  10. My Dad would get fresh tamarind and seed and make us juice all the time. In Dominican folklore, tamarind juice is always said to make you sleepy and I can even vouch for that "myth". Nothing better than an afternoon juice of tamarind and then a nap! Love your recipe combination with dates, seems perfect. I have yet to get on the kale chip bandwagon, but M. bought kale for Kale and Chorizo soup...might need to throw some leaves in the oven and think of you!

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  11. So interesting to read Nelly's tamarind stories. I'm not too familiar with tamarind and never really cook with it. I bet the dates made the chutney sweet and perfect. Save me some of those yummy kale chips:)

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  12. TY my friends for dropping by and your sweet comments. Indeed this is a super healthy version of chaat and the chips are as crunchy baked. For those of you who never had tamarind, it is sort of like vinegar, acidic. You can find it online in Indian an or Asian stores. The chutney is amazing!! Nelly, loved hearing about the traditions at your home and in the DR. Just priceless! Lora yep the dates are the sweetening agent just like adding say maple syrup or honey to balance vinegar in a salad dressing. Have a great weekend everyone!

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  13. I love tamrind. We use it our daily cooking too! Everything looks so delish Shulie. Your pictures are just fabulous! :)

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  14. I love tamaring chutney.Its my favorite part of any chaat!Tempted to try your chard and kale version,looks delish!

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  15. What a fun and healthy dish, and I love your "childhood confession" story :-) The date and tamarind chutney sounds so yummy, and I can't wait to get back to DC for a visit-Rasika sounds like a must try!

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  16. i love this idea.. i dread making the papdis.. coz a- id ont really watn to fry them, and b- its still an effort to roll them out and cut them and they disappear so quickly.. this is super fabulous and adds more greens to the daily diet!

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  17. Tamarind brings back childhood memories. When I was a kid my dad would take us to his farm during summer vacation. My siblings and I would boss around having the workers climb coconut trees every time we got thirsty but our favorite part was the area where they had tamarind trees which we could pick ourselves. We would fill our pockets with tamarind and eat them on our way home. I used to love tamarind balls which I believe are made with tamarind pulp and sugar, rolled in more sugar. My taste buds are happy just by thinking of tamarinds but unfortunately I don't have any right now. Heading over to my fridge to get a few medjool dates to snack on :) xo

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  18. To this day, I haven't had a medjool date, the diamond of dates! I promised to try when @junbelen wrote a post about appetizers last year, but I didn't get to experiment in the kitchen. I think I got scared of its sweetness. Tamarind, on the other hand is a favorite!

    As a child, I loved cracking open ripe tamarind, and eating it with a little salt. Most kids like tamarind candy, but not me.

    The grown ups enjoy tamarind as a dipping sauce for fried or grilled seafood. Simply mash the ripe tamarind in a little water, and voila!

    In cooking, my favorite parts of the tamarind are the FLOWERS! They make the most flavorful sinigang [sour soup]. Unfortunately, only frozen blooms are sold here.

    I love your stories! Thank you for sharing, Shulie! It's a trip back to the tropics and monsoon rains.

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  19. I have yet to try Kale chips. Yours are beautiful!

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  20. I have yet to try tamarind, but have always been intrigued by it.

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  21. i don't know if you know the global food stores in northern VA but there was the only place I've seen tamarind chutney to buy which I'm pretty sure it doesn't taste as good as yours.
    I'll have to try it!

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  22. Heard a lot about kale chips. But need to make it now. This different and tasty twist to chat is something i am looking forward to try, Shulie :)

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  23. I adore kale, in any form! Kale chips are such a delightful snack!

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  24. ove your blog and your picts! I found you on LA Times Food, nice to meet you :)

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  25. Beautiful photos and wonderful recipes - thanks!

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  26. I love tamarind chutney and often make a big jar of it. It's always in my fridge and goes so well with dahi wadas and frankies or even bhel. Love your photographs.

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  27. never have i heard or eaten a spinach chaat (& i have gone through many a chaat plates in my lifetime!) this sounds deleciously crispy & tangy... uv got me craving some now :)

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