One lazy afternoon over the past weekend, R and I had a chat on how many variations of Chaat and Nachos are available out there. Why are they so similar and equally tasty? Our speculations ended up this way....
Chaat is an Indian National snack or delicacy most often served by vendors on the street stalls or carts in India. It unleashes immeasurable cravings and nostalgia among most Indians(Kwality icecream also does the same to me.LOL!). The origin of Chaat started somewhere in Uttar Pradesh or Delhi and slowly moved to Mumbai's Chowpatty Beach, the combinations varying from Agra and Mathura to Hyderabad and Bihar. Gol Gappa, Papri Chaat, Dahi puri, Bhelpuri and Samosa Chaat are all different variations of this comfort "junk" food. The common elements being yogurt, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, fried noodles(sev), chutneys and chaat masala, although the jumble of flavors are always sweet, tart, spicy, crunchy, soft, nutty, fried and flaky tidbits drizzled with cool yogurt, fresh mint and tangy tamarind chutney. The contrast of flavors may cause many sensations in your mouth that run faster than you can track them. For example the Chaat may be considered the Indian counterpart of Mexican Nachos.
Nachos, on the other hand orignated from Coahuila, Mexico. Once upon a time(no it's not a fairytale), a new snack was invented with what was available in a restaurant kitchen with tortilla chips, cheese and sliced jalapeno peppers. Soon the birth of "Ball Park Nachos" became popular at football games , the variations being refried beans, chili con carne, cilantro, black beans, tomatoes, sour cream, onions, salsa and cheese.
Our musings about sweet, tart and spicy foods unleashed our cravings and we yearned for some real CHAAT!! I ventured out to find raw materials in my pantry in vain, but I had to overcome the lack of authentic ingredients to satisfy our tastebuds. The best I could do was to come up with a Fusion Chaat-- a marriage of the Chaat with the Nachos that I tossed together using the ingredients on hand.
Let's see what happens when Chaat meets Nachos? Do they fall in love? Yes they did!!
Corn Chips- 2 cups
Cheese Sauce(Recipe below)- 1 cup
Corn kernels, 1 cup
Potatoes, boiled and chopped 2 medium
Chick Peas cooked- 1 15oz can drained
Onion , chopped 1 large
Tomato, chopped 1 large
Jalapeno, chopped 1
Chaat Masala-1/2 tspn
Green Mint chutney 2-3 tablespoons
Sweet date and tamarind chutney 3-4 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves, chopped -1/2 cup
1. Take a good sized serving platter and layer with coarsely crushed corn chips.
2. Mix together the cooked potatoes with the drained chick peas and corn tossing 1/2 tspn chaat masala and salt. Keep refrigerated.
3. Toss together tomatoes, onions, Jalapeno and about 1/4 cup Cilantro into a salsa. Add salt and pepper as needed.
4. Now, over the layer of chips spread the potato mixture, followed by the tomato mixture.
5. Next go for the sauces--- start with 1/4 cup cheese sauce spread evenly. Then, drizzle three tablespoons each of green chutney and sweet chutney on top.
6. Finally top with a little of the corn chips and the rest of the cilantro for garnishing.
Cheese Sauce: Melt 1 tblpn butter in a pan and add 1 Tblspn All purpose flour to it. When the flour is cooked add 1 cup milk and let simmer.
Add salt, pepper and 1/2 cup grated cheese to the sauce. When the cheese melts remove from fire and mix well.