Chaat – fried ingredients, vegetables and spices tossed together and cooked in tangy chutneys – is one of India’s most exciting culinary creations. Playing on the original flavors are gourmet chaats, dressed, artistic and healthy versions of this street classic, and they are making their way into fine dining establishments.
Increasing acclaim from international chefs is also making the dish popular worldwide. American celebrity chef Ethan Bernath recently created his own version of the dish and shared on social media that he was “dreaming of aloo tikki chaat when I left the street food cart I ate at in India”.
Tapping into the creative potential of chat
Gourmet caterers are making chaat a personalized experience by tailoring it for people with dietary restrictions. Advanced presentations also reflect their place of origin. “We do vegetarian, gluten-free and sattvic chaat counters for weddings and private gatherings. We also have region-based offerings such as Banarasi Palak Patta Chaat and a contemporary version of Kanpur’s White Pea Chaat. Each combination reflects a vision and why it was created,” says Sakshi Tuli, founder of The Chaat Story, a gourmet chaat venture.
Chaat gives you a culinary canvas where anything and everything is possible, she says. “Shave, chana, fried chana, brown sugar, exotic fruits, olives, berries, baby potatoes, edible flowers – a chaat can accommodate all these toppings and more,” adds the food stylist, who started her venture as a traditional chaat two years ago. When the epidemic stopped, the foodies started to be affected.
Another gourmet catering company, Art of Chaat, has added a range of fusion chicken and seafood chaats as well as specialties from Varanasi, Agra, Indore and Kolkata to its menu, pushing the boundaries of the place.
Innovating classic flavors
The snack has its roots in the diverse mainland of India. Elements such as vada, papadi, curd and tamarind chutney date back to the Vedas and Mahabharata, which are mentioned in ancient texts where curd-soaked vada was transformed into chaat.
Today, the evolving dining scene has taken to the classic dish to serve up innovative versions. Executive Chef Swapndeep Mukherjee, who serves chaats including Tikka Chana Jor, Chatpata Zinga Chaat, Makhamali Khoj Kebab Chaat and Khasta Raj Kachori Chaat at Chutney Bar, says, “We are experimenting with diverse flavors and there is innovation in the presentation that excites the guests. and Tandoor, Metropolitan Hotel & Spa, New Delhi.
Chef Manish Mehrotra says gourmands are excited to celebrate street delicacies in a new-age avatar. After listening to the numerous requests made by customers to Chatwala, the chef realized that a common request was for potato patty crisp. “In an Indian accent, I replaced the potato patty with crispy potato rounds, topped with yogurt and spicy chutney, to make a delicious starter,” he says.
Launched during the pandemic at ITC Maurya, the gourmet couch delivery and takeaway service offers a chaat and chaat menu with highlights like golgappa with orange and hot chilli maljeera pairing, khasta papadi with dahi and sauntha, kachodi with dahi haldi. came “The chaat scene encompasses an explosion of flavors that combine into a delightful experience. By taking them to the gourmet table, chaat is getting a makeover while staying true to its original roots,” says Rajdeep Kapoor, Regional Executive Chef, ITC Maurya.