There are two things you need to have to enjoy street food in India – stomach and attitude. One thing that I can eat any time of the day is phuchka. I am not selling myself high when I say I can out-eat myself each time I have phuchka. I know there is nothing elegant about opening your mouth wiiiiiiiide and eating phuchka if you have people staring at you. There comes your attitude, I know my husband would quip!
But even street food can have its share of style. To add a touch of health and elegance to leftover phuchka, try making this Churmur Chaat. The word “churmur” literally means a crunch sound usually made inside your mouth! “Chaat” is Hindi for a medley of ingredients ranging from fresh or boiled fruits and vegetables predominantly potato, cooked chickpeas, black gram, or sprouts, a commonly used garnish of fresh coriander, green chilies, red onions, and a bevy of spices and chutneys. Chaat usually has a mix of sweet and savory taste to it. Often served with a dash of cool yogurt drizzling all over it!
Eating chaat in India is undoubtedly an unforgettable experience - watching the chaat wala scoop, pinch and ladle out each ingredient. You look at him all mesmerized as he “assembles” everything with the right balance of spices, and plates out the most delectable, colorful assortment of ingredients neatly lined in his push cart or small “redi”.
Since I cannot travel to India each time I have a chaat-urge, which is pretty much every other day, here is how I make Churmur Chaat at home!
Ingredients for Churmur Chaat are:
2 medium size potatoes, boiled
Quarter cup black gram, soaked overnight and boiled
Quarter cup green moong, sprouted overnight and boiled
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Handful of cilantro, finely chopped
4-5 green chilies, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
2 teaspoons bhaja moshla (dry roasted cumin and coriander seeds, roughly crushed)
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon Chaat masala
Half teaspoon black salt
8-10 readymade gol gappas
Roughly slice the boiled potatoes in a bowl, add the boiled green moong and black gram. Add the chopped onions, green chilies, and cilantro.
In a small bottle, add the tamarind pulp, lemon juice, red chili powder, bhaja moshla, chaat masala, black salt and very little water. Shake well to get some citrus action going. This is the instant chutney I make to drizzle over the chaat.
Pour this chutney over the potato mixture and mix well. Check on the seasoning and make necessary adjustments. I like to have a a good balance of tang and heat in my Churmur Chaat.
Just before you are about to serve, crush gol gappas between your the palms of your hand, and lavishly top the potato and spice mixture. Do not mix. The phuchka wala in India will usually use broken phuchkas or the ones which haven’t fluffed up.