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Chaat (Hindi: चाट,Urdu: چاٹ) is a term describing savoury snacks, typically served at road-side tracks from stalls or food carts in India and Pakistan. With its origins in Uttar Pradesh, chaat has become immensely popular in the rest of South Asia. The word derives from Hindi cāṭ चाट (tasting, a delicacy), from cāṭnā चाटना (to lick), from Prakrit caṭṭei चट्टेइ (to devour with relish, eat noisily).
The chaat variants are all based on fried dough, with various other ingredients. The original chaat is a mixture of potato pieces, crispy fried bread Dahi vada or Dahi Bhalla ("Bhalla" in Hindi), gram or chickpeas and tangy-salty spices, with sour home-made Indian chilli and Saunth (dried ginger and tamarind sauce), fresh green coriander leaves and yogurt for garnish, but other popular variants included Aloo tikkis (garnished with onion, coriander, hot spices and a dash of curd), bhel puri, dahi puri, panipuri, dahi vada, papri chaat, and sev puri.
There are common elements among these variants including dahi, or yogurt; chopped onions and coriander; sev (small dried yellow salty noodles); and chaat masala, typically consisting of amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, Kala Namak (rock salt), coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. The ingredients are combined and served on a small metal plate or a banana leaf, dried and formed into a bowl.
Most chaats originated in some parts of Uttar Pradesh in India, but they are now eaten all across the Indian Sub-continent. Some are results of cultural syncretism - for instance, pav bhaji (Bread/bun with cooked and mashed vegetables) reflects a Portuguese influence, in the form of a bun, and bhel puri & Sevpuri, were created by a Gujarati migrant to Mumbai.
In cities where chaat is popular, there are popular chaathouses or dhabas, such as Mumbai's Chowpatty Beach. The chaat specialities vary from city to city. Chaat from Agra and Mathura are famous throughout India. In Hyderabad, chaat is mostly prepared by vendors hailing from Bihar, and is different in taste.
Types of chaat
- Aloo Chaat - Aloo (potatoes) are cut into small pieces and then fried till crisp and served with chutney
- Aloo tikki
- Bedai - Puri stuffed with dal and fried till crisp. Typically served with aloo sabji and eaten for breakfast
- Bhala/Aloo Tikki
- Chila - Besan pancakes served with chutney and sooth (sweet chutney)
- Dahi puri
- Dahi vada
- Mangode - Similar to pakora, but besan paste is replaced with yellow moong paste
- Pakora - Different things such as paneer, vegetable dipped in besan (Chickpea/gram flour) paste and fried.
- Panipuri/Gol gappa
- Papri chaat
- Samosa Chaat - Samosa is broken into pieces with green and sweet chutney added to it.
- Pav bhaji
- Dahi Bhallay Ki Chaat ( Bhallay, Potatoes, Chickpeas, Imli chutney, Chaat Masala, Onions. Tomatoes. etc.)
- Beetroot & potato chaat
- Thumma, Sanjay. "CHAAT RECIPES". Hyderabad, India: Vahrehvah.com. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
- The Chaat Business (in Bengali)
- "10 Best Recipes From Uttar Pradesh". NDTV. October 25, 2013 17:27 IST. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
- Oxford English Dictionary. Chaat. Mar. 2005 Online edition. Retrieved 2008-02-18.
- Dahi Bhallay Ki Chaat
- N.Moghul, Sobiya. "beetroot chaat". the times of india. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
Media related to Chaat at Wikimedia Commons