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Fruit Chaat Recipe
“Chaat” is the collective Indian term for a variety of savory fast food snacks. What initially started out as street food in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad, has now found its way into upscale Indian restaurants and is often served at engagement parties and even weddings. It is hard to describe chaat adequately other than to say it is a delicious combination of various textures, tastes and flavors expertly combined in culinary balance and harmony. There are many different types of chaats, ranging from vegetarian to non-vegetarian, savory and sweet. I have chosen a fairly simple chaat as an introduction into this tasty little world of delicious street food. Fruit chaat is versatile, delicious and simple to prepare. Fruit chaat can be served as a snack or as a side dish with any meal. You can also add a scoop of your favorite ice cream and even serve as a dessert!
A key requisite to any good chaat is of course, chaat masala. Black salt (kala namak) is one of the main ingredients in this particular spice blend. High in trace minerals, black salt has a very distinctive taste and flavor that is quite difficult to duplicate. It’s also not really black, but rather a dull pink in color. I have included a recipe for home made chaat masala but feel free to buy the store bought variety, most Indian stores should carry it. Black salt is not an easy ingredient to find. By the way, the correct pronunciation of chaat is “ch ah t”.
1 tbsp cumin seeds
½ tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp dried mint leaves
2 tbsp amchur powder (dried mango)
pinch of asafetida (hing)
2 tsp kala namak or black salt (preferred but you can use regular table salt)
In a large frying pan over medium heat, lightly toast the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cloves and peppercorns. Stir the spices so as not to burn. Remove completely from the heat and allow to cool.
In a spice grinder, add the toasted spices along with the dried mint leaves, chili powder, paprika, ginger powder, garam masala, asafetida, amchur powder and salt. Grind into a fine powder. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
This simple dish can be eaten all year round, but personally I enjoy it most in the spring & summer time. The variety of fresh fruit is at its highest peak during these months. There are no hard and fast rules here, just use your favorite fruits and definitely chose fruit that are in season and ripe but firm.
Fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, papaya, mango, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, pears, plums, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries…
FRUIT CHAAT (Spicy Indian Summer Fruit Salad)
1 cup of pineapple cubes
1 medium peach, diced
4-5 strawberries, sliced
½ mango, cubed
1 cup seedless grapes (any color will do)
½ cup cherries, pitted & halved
1 small kiwi, sliced
½ cup pomegranate seeds
juice of ½ lime
2-3 tbsp of orange juice
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
1 heaping tsp chaat masala
½ tsp ground cumin powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika
pinch of red chili powder (optional)
mint leaves for garnish
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the fruits along with the lime & orange juices. In a small mixing bowl, combine the spices (salt, pepper, chaat masala, ground cumin powder, smoked paprika & red chili powder). Add the spice mixture to the fruit and gently toss to combine all of the ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, ice cream, sorbet, gelato or kulfi.
Try making this dish with grilled fruit for a different but equally delicious taste.
Content copyright © 2014 by Sadhana Ginde. All rights reserved.
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