Thursday, 23 July 2015

ALOO TOKRI CHAAT - HIT BY A MAMMOTH BOMB OF FLAVOURS


With an excited tread in my walk I rush to be in time for my date with ALOO TOKRI CHAAT. This is my first visit to Lucknow and I have just been dropped off at the over crowded Hazratganj market area. In my eagerness to locate Royal Cafe I pay no heed to the crowd nudging, sometimes slightly pushing me. All my attention and concentration is at reaching my destination and getting my hands on the famous Aloo Tokri chaat.


Friends Aloo Tokri Chaat or Potato basket Chaat is made by frying grated potatoes in the shape of a basket. This basket is then loaded with aloo tikkis/potato patties, pakora/lentil fritters, papdi/crispy fried refined flour dough wafers, Dahi vada/lentil fritters soaked in yogurt,garbanzo beans curry/choley then a ladle of beaten yogurt is poured on top, followed by sweet and green chutneys. Next the aromatic roasted spices and the chaat masala is sprinkled. This mammoth basket of yumminess is finally topped up with grated carrot and beeroot, sev or fried lentil semolina and pomegrate arils.

So you can well imagine my inner joy at the sight of the shop which unarguably serves the best Aloo Tokri Chaat in the whole of Lucknow.


After that first memorable encounter with the mammoth bomb of flavours which come with the Aloo Tokri chaat I decided to learn to create it in my kitchen. The main trick was to create the tokri or the dainty basket made with potato straws. After a few trials and errors, I finally got the most perfect looking baskets. The homemade potato baskets were however much smaller than the ones I had in Lucknow. I have learnt that there are two secrets in getting the perfect basket. One to select old potatoes and second to grate the potatoes thick using a grater with wider holes. These baskets can be made in advance and stored in air tight containers.

I have changed the filling of the basket from what I had in Lucknow. Infact you can get as innovative as possible with the filling. I used black chickpeas/kala chana curry as the filling. You can use lentil sprouts, aloo tikkis, green peas, crunchy wafers, garbanzo beans and potato curry and the options are as varied as your imagination can create.


ALOO TOKRI/POTATO BASKET CHAAT RECIPE:

SERVES - 4
CUISINE - INDIAN
TYPE - SNACKS/STREET FOOD
TIME : 30 MINUTES TO MAKE THE POTATO BASKET+30 MINUTES TO MAKE BLACK CHICKPEAS CURRY+15 MINUTES TO ASSEMBLE

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE POTATO BASKETS:

For making the TOKRI or potato straw basket I referred to this RECIPE

1) Two large potatoes 
TIP: Use old potatoes as this variety of potatoes has more starch and result in crispier baskets

2) 1/2 Tsp Salt

3) Oil for deep frying

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE THE POTATO BASKETS :

1) Was the potatoes and peel off their skin. 

2) Grate the potatoes thickly.
TIP:Use a grater with larger holes as we want thickly grated potatoes for getting a perfect basket. Keep a bowl full of water and put the grated right into it to stop them from browning.

3) Keep the grated potatoes soaked in cold water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and wash the grated potatoes under running water in a colander thoroughly.
TIP: Don't be in a hurry but take time at least 5-7 minutes to wash the grated potatoes.

4) Drain the water from the grated potatoes completely and dry the potato straws using an absorbent kitchen towel.

5) Add Salt to the dry potato straws and mix. Divide the potatoes into four equal portions.Take a tea strainer and place a portion of the grated potato evenly covering the base and sides of the strainer completely as shown in the picture below.

6) Now take a second tea strainer which will be a size smaller than the first tea strainer and place it on top of the grated potatoes inside the first tea strainer as shown in the third picture below.

7) Heat oil in a deep bottom pan /kadai and holding the strainer firmly lower it into the pan, completely immersing it into the oil. On medium flame/heat deep fry till the potato basket turns golden brown.
TIP: The handle of the tea strainer tends to get very hot during the frying process. Use something like a piece of cloth or any other thing to hold it through the entire cooking. 

8) Remove the tea strainers from the oil and gently place them on an absorbent tissue paper. REmove the top strainer and keep it aside. Invert the strainer with basket and giving it a very light tap gently unmould the basket from the tea strainer.

9) Using the above process make the remaining baskets.


BLACK CHICKPEAS CURRY/KALA CHANA CURRY:

This is a very commonly used black chickpeas curry in most Indian homes. Made using kala chana or black chickpeas, this delicious curry is often had with Indian breads and is also used rampantly as one of the ingredients in Chaats. For recipe click on the above heading or right here -->Black Chickpeas curry. 


FOR THE FINAL ASSEMBLING OF ALOO TOKRI CHAAT~




INGREDIENTS:

1) Aloo Tokri/Potato Baskets 
5) Yogurt ( beat with a wire whisk or spoon)
6) Sev/Fried gram flour vermicelli
7) Pomegranate Arils
8) Chaat Masala 
9) Roasted Cumin Powder
10) Roasted Red Chilli Powder
12) Lemon Juice
13) Finely chopped Onions
14) Finely chopped mint and coriander leaves

NOTE: I have not mentioned any quantity here cause I am filling up the potato basket using my desired spoonfuls of kala chana curry and then adding the rest of the condiments and garnishing, listed right above, as per my taste. So go right ahead and increase the quantity of what you like more into the potato basket.

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

1) In a plate place the aloo tokri/potato basket.

2) Now put in spoon full of Kala Chana/Black Chickpeas Curry into the Tokri/Basket till the basket is almost filled up.

3) Pour a couple Spoonful of the yogurt followed by both the chutneys.

4) Next goes on top the onions and chopped fresh mint,coriander leaves.

5) Sprinkle small pinches of black salt, roasted cumin and red chilli powder, chaat masala and few drops of lemon juice.

6) Finish up with a very lavish sprinkle of sev and few arils of pomegranate.

Serve with bountiful of smiles.

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

ALOO TOKRI/POTATO BASKET CHAAT RECIPE:

SERVES - 4
CUISINE - INDIAN
TYPE - SNACKS/STREET FOOD
TIME : 30 MINUTES TO MAKE THE POTATO BASKET+30 MINUTES TO MAKE BLACK CHICKPEAS CURRY+15 MINUTES TO ASSEMBLE

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE POTATO BASKETS:

1) Two large potatoes 
TIP: Use old potatoes as this variety of potatoes has more starch and result in crispier baskets

2) 1/2 Tsp Salt

3) Oil for deep frying

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE THE POTATO BASKETS :

1) Wash the potatoes and peel off their skin. 

2) Grate the potatoes thickly.
TIP:Use a grater with larger holes as we want thickly grated potatoes for getting a perfect basket. Keep a bowl full of water and put the grated right into it to stop them from browning.

3) Keep the grated potatoes soaked in cold water for 10-15 minutes. Drain and wash the grated potatoes under running water in a colander thoroughly.
TIP: Don't be in a hurry but take time at least 5-7 minutes to wash the grated potatoes.

4) Drain the water from the grated potatoes completely and dry the potato straws using an absorbent kitchen towel.

5) Add Salt to the dry potato straws and mix. Divide the potatoes into four equal portions.Take a tea strainer and place a portion of the grated potato evenly covering the base and sides of the strainer completely as shown in the picture below.

6) Now take a second tea strainer which will be a size smaller than the first tea strainer and place it on top of the grated potatoes inside the first tea strainer as shown in the third picture below.

7) Heat oil in a deep bottom pan /kadai and holding the strainer firmly lower it into the pan, completely immersing it into the oil. On medium flame/heat deep fry till the potato basket turns golden brown.
TIP: The handle of the tea strainer tends to get very hot during the frying process. Use something like a piece of cloth or any other thing to hold it through the entire cooking. 

8) Remove the tea strainers from the oil and gently place them on an absorbent tissue paper. Remove the top strainer and keep it aside. Invert the strainer with basket and giving it a very light tap gently unmould the basket from the tea strainer.

9) Using the above process make the remaining baskets.

FOR THE FINAL ASSEMBLING:

INGREDIENTS:

1) Aloo Tokri/Potato Baskets 
5) Yogurt ( beat with a wire whisk or spoon)
6) Sev/Fried gram flour vermicelli
7) Pomegranate Arils
8) Chaat Masala 
9) Roasted Cumin Powder
10) Roasted Red Chilli Powder
12) Lemon Juice
13) Finely chopped Onions
14) Finely chopped mint and coriander leaves

NOTE: I have not mentioned any quantity here cause I am filling up the potato basket using my desired spoonfuls of kala chana curry and then adding the rest of the condiments and garnishing, listed right above, as per my taste. So go right ahead and increase the quantity of what you like more into the potato basket.

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO:

1) In a plate place the aloo tokri/potato basket.

2) Now put in spoon full of Kala Chana/Black Chickpeas Curry into the Tokri/Basket till the basket is almost filled up.

3) Pour a couple Spoonful of the yogurt followed by both the chutneys.

4) Next goes on top the onions and chopped fresh mint,coriander leaves.

5) Sprinkle small pinches of black salt, roasted cumin and red chilli powder, chaat masala and few drops of lemon juice.

6) Finish up with a very lavish sprinkle of sev and few arils of pomegranate.

Serve with bountiful of smiles.
**********************************************************************************************************************************************************
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