India has a huge street food culture and every city, big or small, is home to street vendors churning out delicious, inexpensive food at little roadside stalls. Chaat is a popular street side food. It is not only the name of a delicious dish, but also the generic name used to refer to a group of savory, spicy, tangy, sweet street foods. Sev Batata Puri (from Maharashtra in western India) is a great example of Chaat. Like all other Chaat, if you have a few basic ingredients ready (you can make them ahead of time and store) you can throw some together in minutes! The Puris for Sev Batata Puri can be bought at any good Indian food store, but I have included the recipe here for those of you who may not have access to the mat your local store.
- 250 gms all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsps ghee
- 1 tsp onion seeds
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil to deep fry
- 5 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and chopped into tiny pieces
- 1 cup chickpeas, boiled and mashed coarsely (sprinkle with salt to taste)
- 2 onions chopped very fine
- 2 medium-sized tomatoes chopped very fine
- 2 cups fine Sev (gram flour vermicelli)
- 2 tsps red chilli powder
- 3 tsps powdered black rock salt
- 2 tbsps cumin seeds, gently roasted and powdered
- Fresh finely chopped coriander leaves for garnish
- 1 cup Tamarind Chutney
- 1 cup Mint-Coriander Chutney
- Mix the flour, ghee, onion seeds and salt to taste and mix well. Add just a little water at a time and knead to get a firm, smooth dough. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
- After the dough has rested, divide it into equal-sized balls. Roll between your palms till smooth.
- Lightly flour a clean rolling surface and press one ball flat. Roll out into a circle (1/4" thick) using a rolling pin. Now use a circular cookie cutter (2-3" diameter) to cut smaller circles out on the large circle. Remove extra dough from sides of smaller circles. Keep on a lightly floured tray or plate for later frying (they will become the Puris). Repeat till all the dough is used up.
- Heat oil for deep frying, in a deep pan on a medium flame. When hot, add the Puris a few at a time and fry till crisp and pale golden.
- Drain and keep on paper towels. Repeat till all Puris are made. They can be stored for a few weeks if kept in an airtight container.
- To serve, first assemble all the ingredients within easy reach - Puris, toppings and chutneys - arrange 5-6 Puris per person, on a plate.
- Put a little potato, chickpeas, onion and tomato on each Puri. When all are done in this way, drizzle a teaspoonful each of Tamarind Chutney and Mint-Coriander Chutney on each Puri.
- Sprinkle a handful of Sev all over the Puris in the plate. Now sprinkle red chilli powder, cumin powder and black rock salt and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve quickly to avoid the Puris getting soggy.