You may think you know a lot about Indian food, but how much do you know about chaat?
I haven’t tried every type of chaat, but what I do know is that it’s a savory Indian street food that’s typically considered a snack or appetizer. The word chaat is likely derived from the Hindi word “chatna,” which means to lick. This proposed etymology makes a whole lot of sense to me because I’m bound to lick my fingers clean whenever chaat is in front of me!
Maya Kaimal’s incredibly edible Tandoori Chicken Bites are perfect for an easy, homemade chicken chaat. They’re quick to cook up and become so chaat-like when you add aromatics like garlic and ginger with Indian spices, chilies, and freshly chopped vegetables!
If that description just made your mouth water, we’re on a similar foodie level.
There are actually many variations of chaat with main ingredients ranging from chicken, potatoes, chickpeas, to paneer. But they all have similar ways of being prepared.
Many chaat variations have an element of fried bread, which makes for great texture, but honestly, it’s the sweet, tangy, and salty flavor profile of chaat that really gets me. And it’s all due to the spice mix – chaat masala powder!*
If you haven’t played around with chaat masala, you’re going to want to. The mango, citric acid, ginger, and mint make up the sweet and tangy flavors while the coriander, cumin, black rock salt, and pepper make up the salty and savory.
For those in the Bay Area, Maya Kaimal’s Tandoori Chicken Bites can be purchased at several locations including Danville, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Livermore, Sunnyvale, San Jose, Tracy, Fremont, San Jose, and Hayward.
Aside from chaat, these bites also great for a wide number of chicken dishes, including curries, wraps, salads, grain bowls, and pasta! How creative you want to get is up to you!
* Note: Chaat masala powder can be easily ordered online or purchased at many Indian/international markets.
Maya Kaimal Chicken Chaat
Time: 30 Minutes
2 tbsp peanut oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1-2 serrano peppers, seeded, chopped
3 birdseye chilies, seeded, roughly chopped (optional)
1 ½ tsp garlic, minced
1 ½ tsp ginger, minced
24 oz Maya Kaimal Tandoori Chicken Bites
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained
1 ½ tbsp tomato paste
1 ½ tbsp garam masala
1 tsp chaat masala
1 cup seedless cucumber, chopped
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Yogurt of choice
½ cup pomegranate seeds
Sliced birdseye chilies (optional)
1 cup sliced green onions
Naan or brown rice
Heat oil over medium heat. Add red onion, serranos, birdseye chilies, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss in chicken bites, chickpeas, tomato paste, garam masala, chaat masala, and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add cucumbers and fresh tomatoes and cook until the chicken is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.
Serve chaat on plates and spoon over yogurt. Top with pomegranate seeds, birdseye chilies, and green onions. Serve with lemon wedges and roti on the side.