Around this sun-fun time of the year the heat scale in Dubai looks like HOT… HOTTER… HOTTEST… DUBAI-HOT ; )
Well that is one of the many summer jokes for us Dubai-ites. Over the 7 years of life in this happy and one helluva city I have skinned the summer completely. Nevertheless even when all gets even, it’s natural to feel some odds. One that tops my list is missing on the Indian summer street food “Chaat”. Quite honestly Dubai makes it easy as it offers so many options to relish Indian street food. Having said that, one can still miss that taste asthetic and connection from back home. Chaat for me is a perfect taste balance between hot and cold, plain and savory, sweet and sour! So what is a Chaat?
A Chaat is mostly plated with a savory subject like fried potato patty or crispy fried flat breads or fried lentil dumplings. This plate is flooded with thick salted yogurt. Topping this plate is real fun, starting with the colorful spirals of the tamarind & coriander chutney on the white yogurt background. Followed by dusting this contrast color plate with hot spices, red chili powder and roasted cumin. The final crisp and color is added to this plate with a sprinkle of Sev namkeen (Indian savory snack).
By now you can clearly see my drooling love for Chaat. In this recipe post I am combining my Chaat love with my germ to fuse. Let’s makeover the authentic Indian Chaat into a contemporary summer appetizer. How? It’s simple, amidst the summer feel in Dubai all my heart wants to do is get to an island. As I can’t do that for now, my idea cooking brain is making me re-imagine the Chaat plate with island fresh ingredients – papayas, pineapples, coconut……. ummmmmm ummm ……yum already?
So if you want to get that island feel sitting somewhere in the heat of your city, try my new roasted sweet potato recipe “Island Chaat”
Blend yogurt, mango and honey or agave (per your taste) in a blender. Add some water if needed. Store in refrigerator.
For Papaya Chutney
In a pan heat the oil. Add cumin and mustard seeds and let them pop. Add fennel seeds and ginger. Stir on medium flame till the oil is well flavored.
Now add papaya and cook for 4-5 mins on medium flame.
Now add the red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt. Cook until water starts to dry up.
Finally add honey and lemon juice. At this stage you can taste and adjust sweet, salt or sour flavors per your liking.
Stop cooking when you get a chunky thickness (but not very dry) to the chutney. Let it cool and store in the fridge.
For Grilling Sweet Potato
Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10-15 mins.
Meanwhile wash sweet potato, dry it and cut it into ½ inch thick round slices.
Apply some oil on the slices and place them on a grilling rack separated from each other. Grill them for about 20 mins till they are nearly cooked.
NOTE: You can also semi boil the sweet potato in a pressure cooker on pan.
Heat a pan, apply clarified butter. Now place the grilled sweet potato rounds on the pan and simmer cook on both sides for 5-10 mins. Apply more clarified butter in between as needed. This will make the sweet potato crispier from outside.
In a quarter plate, place the crispy sweet potatoes, now pour the mango yogurt on the sides and a little bit on the top. Add some chilled papaya chutney on top. Now sprinkle grated coconut and aloo bhujiya on top. Also serve some pineapple slices or cubes on the side. Your plate is ready to take you to the island you are dreaming to go to!