Dahi-papdi-pakori chaat


The name can be a tongue-twister, but the taste can please any tongue or palate. It’s the ubiquitous street food of North India, and it conjures up many vivid and nostalgic memories. Summer months spent at my grandparents home in Delhi, and the sweltering heat never a deterrent to venture out nearly everyday to the local markets to shop and indulge in the delicious local street fare.

I have just returned from India, having spent most part of summer in Mumbai and Delhi. And I always bring back many tastes and recipes to be tried and tested in my kitchen here. Many inspired from my mother’s delicious home-cooking, and some from sampling at various restaurants and eating joints.

Two days after our return, while unpacking I take out a couple of precious boxes of papdis (deep fried flour crackers or puris), from the popular eatery Bikanerwala in Gurugram. That same evening, I whip up a huge platter(yes, huge, for a family of 3) of this yummy-licious and delish local and family favorite.

P.S. It turned out to be an instant cure for my jet lag 😉

Papdis, or deep fried small flour puris/crackers, arranged on a plate, topped with dollops of fresh and creamy plain yoghurt, piquant or chatpata garbanzo beans, boiled potatoes, chutneys, dry and tangy ground spices, and the icing on the cake, the melt-in-the-mouth pakoris, or deep fried lentil fritters.

Sounds like a lot, but with some store-bought help, the task of dishing out this beauty, is simplified. And it’s a tummy filling dish too. It can be served at any meal, any time of the day, or just as a hearty snack all by itself.

Servings 4


Store-bought papdis, I arranged about 20 or so. It’s all upto your liking. No fixed measurements.

1 can of chanas or garbanzo beans, ready to use.

2 small potatoes, boiled and diced.

Fresh yoghurt, whisked, about 2 cups.

A generous sprinkling of roasted cumin powder, red chili powder, salt.

Oil, for deep frying.

For the pakoris or fritters:

Soak a 3/4 cup yellow moong dal and 1/4 cup urad dal for 6-8 hours. Drain the water. In a food processor, add the soaked dals or lentils and add a little water, to facilitate the grinding. Grind to a smooth paste. In between the grinding, add 6-8 fresh curry leaves, 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds and a teaspoon of fresh ginger.

Heat oil in a wok or kadhai to deep fry the fritters. With the help of a spoon, spoon out the batter into the hot oil, carefully, and fry on low flame till they turn a nice golden color. Remove and drain on paper towel lines plate. Set aside. Just before serving the chaat, immerse the pakoris in warm water for a few minutes. Remove and gently squeeze out the water. This softens them just right for the dish.

For the green chutney:

In a food processor, toss in a big handful of fresh coriander, a few fresh mint leaves, green chilly(as per taste), and a teaspoon of roasted dalia (roasted split chickpeas). One can substitute with a few peanuts too. Lots of freshly squeezed lime juice, a pinch of salt, and grind it all together to make a fresh green chutney.

For the sweet tamarind chutney, I used store-bought.

For the chanas:

Heat a teaspoon of ghee, yes, only ghee, in a pan. Add a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a pinch asafoetida or hing, a small cinnamon stick, a bay leaf. Toss in the canned garbanzo beans and stir. To spice it up, add a dash of roasted cumin powder, turmeric, red chilly powder, garam masala powder. To enhance the flavor, I added store-bought chana masala powder. Add salt to taste. Add the boiled potatoes and stir well. Set aside.

When serving, take a big platter. Arrange the papdis, pakoris, chanas and potatoes. Add spoonfuls of the yoghurt. Add the green chutney and tamarind chutney. Sprinkle the dry masalas or spices. Serve immediately.

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