Palak Patta Chaat – Diwali Special

Diwali season is on and so is the excitement. I have always associated Diwali with smells. When the breeze begins to have a bit of chill and you can smell frost in the early autumn mornings, you know Diwali is around the corner. Smell of fresh paint, burnt leaves, crackers and, of course, aroma of homemade sweets and snacks evokes nostalgic memories of Diwali. I miss all that fun in Sydney.

Diwali is the biggest Indian festival and also, the biggest excuse to eat and indulge. In fact, people eat so many sweets during the days leading up to Diwali that by the time it is Diwali day, no one even wants to look at the sweets!!! How about giving your guests a break from sugar this Diwali and offering them something chatpata? Surprise your guests with this easy but packed with flavour, Palak Patta Chaat, and I bet they will not stop raving about it.

Are you bored of sweets?

Chaat is a common Indian street food. Palat Patta Chaat, however, is a chaat that you may not find with the street chaatwallahs. In fact, you may find this exotic chaat only in some fine dining restaurants.

Spinach leaves are coated with besan batter, deep fried, and then drizzled with curd, chutneys, and spices. Except for the deep frying, all steps in this recipe can be done in advance and refrigerated.  Let’s get started!

Prep Time: 30 min
Cooking time: 10 min
Serves: 1-2 people

Mint Chutney:

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bunch of mint
  • 1-2 green chillies
  • 1/2 green mango or 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 1/2 onion (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp chaat masala, optional
  • 1-2 tsp sugar

Method

  1. Wash and pluck the leaves from the mint.
  2. Blend with rest of the ingredients using small quantity of water until smooth.
  3. Do a taste test and adjust the sourness, salt and sugar if required.IMG_0485.JPG

Tamarind chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp tamarind paste or a small ball of tamarind soaked in water for 3 hours
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/ 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp black salt or chaat masala

Method

  1. Once the tamarind is soaked, squeeze the juice and discard the pulp. Soaking tamarind in warm water will expedite the process.
  2. Mix all other ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Add some water to adjust the consistency. The chutney should not be watery. Again do a taste test and adjust the flavours.IMG_0484

Spiced Yoghurt

Ingredients

  • 1 cup yoghurt, preferably thick, not sour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 stp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala  (optional)

Method

  1. Whisk the yoghurt until smooth, add little water if required. It should have a thick and creamy soup like consistency.
  2. Add all the spices and mix well.
  3.  Add 1-2 tsp tamarind chutney
  4. Next add 1 tsp mint chutney. Mix well.

Spinach Crisps

  • 1 cup besan (gram flour)
  • 8-10 spinach leaves of medium size
  • 1 tsp  oil
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of turmeric optional
  • Water as required
  • Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. Mix besan, salt, chilli powder, turmeric and oil.
  2. Add little water at a time to get a thick batter that coats the leaves well. It should not be watery.
  3. Wash and clean the spinach leaves well. Dip the whole leaves in the batter to coat them and then deep fry until crisp.IMG_E0493[1]
  4. Take them out on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Note: Having the batter right is important in this recipe as the leaves need to be crisp for the chaat. Adding oil to the batter is important here. Please refer to my Break Pakoda recipe to learn more about how oil lends the crispiness to the pakodas.

Assembling the Chaat

For garnish:

  • Sev (thin)
  • Coriander leaves, chopped,
  • Fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • Boondi (optional)
  • Chaat masala
  • Degi mirch
  • Chopped onions (optional)
  • Chopped tomatoes (optional)
  1. Place 3-4 crisp spinach leaves in a plate.
  2. Add 2-3 tbsp yoghurt over them.IMG_E0497[1]
  3. Add some mint chutney and tamarind chutney. Please be cautious to add only little as we have already added chutneys to the yoghurt. Alternatively, you can skip adding the chutneys to yoghurt but I think adding them gives a well rounded flavour.img_0498.jpg
  4. Sprinkle a pinch of chaat masala and degi mirch(for colour).
  5. Garnish with sev, boondi, coriander leaves and serve.IMG_E0593

Note:

  1. All the items under garnish are optional but recommended. Use whatever is available on hand.
  2. The chaat should be assembled just before eating else the spinach leaves will become soggy and lose the texture.

Wish you all a very chatpati Diwali. Enjoy!

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