One of the fondest memories I have of growing up is that of eating crispy aloo-chaat with my friends. During the sultry summers of early 2000s, my troop and I would head out precisely at 5 pm to survey our neighbourhood parks for empty corners where we could play stapoo. And every evening without fail we would encounter the chaat-waala who would be frying crisp little squares of potatoes, inviting us to take a bite.
At just ten rupees a plate, the aloo chaat was phenomenal. With oodles of spicy green chutney and a hint of sweet saunth, the taste of that simple treat makes me salivate even now. Surely, the chaat-waala still summons the young and old alike with his crispy delights. But when you’re 30 going 65, deep-fried potatoes no longer remain the ultimate evening snack.
Thankfully though, I have been able to master an aloo-chaat recipe that blends classic taste with ladlefuls of health and is also a guilt-free indulgence.
But what does a healthy aloo-chaat recipe even look like?
We’ve been labelling potatoes as weight loss enemy #1 for decades. But the truth is that potatoes are moderately calorie-dense and are loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients.
It’s only when we deep fry potatoes that we reduce their nutritional quotient and make them a powerhouse of empty calories.
So naturally, this recipe DOES NOT call for deep-fried potatoes. Rather, we’ll stir-fry them instead. Another calorie-laden addition to aloo-chaat is saunth, which is traditionally made with tamarind pulp, dates, and spices—but I am pretty sure most commercial establishments use sugar instead.
You can make your own version at home to ensure purity and hygiene—though I prefer skipping this chutney altogether and using powdered spices for that evergreen flavour. I do, however, make my own green chutney to ensure the right amount of taste and salt.
Just two minor alterations make for a healthy chaat that you just cannot resist. So, shall we get started?
3 medium-sized boiled potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp anardana
1 tsp chaat masala
2 green chillies
1-inch piece ginger
100 gm coriander leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp roasted jeera powder
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp oil (you can choose any of your choice)
Pomegranate seeds for garnish
Chopped coriander for garnish
1. Coarsely chop the green chillies, ginger, and coriander leaves. Toss into your food processor, along with 1 tsp of roasted jeera powder, 1 tsp salt, and a splash of water. Blend until you reach the desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl and keep aside.
2. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil. Once hot enough, add the fennel and cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the potatoes and stir-fry till they become light brown in colour.
3. Add the chilli powder, anardana powder, chaat masala and the remaining salt and jeera powder to the pan and toss the potatoes until all the spices are well-combined. Turn off the heat.
4. Allow the potatoes to cool slightly and transfer them to a bowl. Add the yogurt and freshly-prepared green chutney, and combine well. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and coriander, and you’re done!
It’s really that simple and not all that unhealthy. So try this recipe for a burst of flavour and nostalgia, minus the guilt. And let me know in the comments below how you liked it.