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Posted at: Jan 8, 2017, 1:00 AM; last updated: Jan 8, 2017, 1:00 AM (IST)FOOD TALK

Of savoury eats from UP’s streets

Of savoury eats
from UP’s streets
Tamatar ki chaat

Pushpesh Pant

Among the street foods of India, the undisputed champ is chaat. True, some are addicted to kebabs or momos, but for us, nothing comes even close. Benarasis think they have the best chaat in the world while Delhiites sneer at what they consider ‘rustic stuff’ from Poorvanchal. They feel it was in their imperial city that chaat reached sublime heights with hundreds of khumchawalas doing their daily rounds in its streets. We could go on and on, but that would be a diversion we are not inclined to take at the moment. What has, at the moment, revived our memories of splurging on chaat in Aminabad, Allahabad, and in the Bengali Market is a sikora of tamatar ki chaat at the delightful little vegetarian restaurant, The Masala Trail, conceived by our friend Osama Jalali on Janpath in the Capital. This is almost a signature dish in Benaras and can also be encountered in Allahabad, but seldom steps beyond the twin cities. Good friend Osama, a hard-core carnivore from Fatehpuri in Old Delhi, has surpassed the original inspiration. We bring a simplified version to our readers. DIY at home all of you who can’t visit this fabulous eatery. Even if you come halfway close, it will taste great.

Tamatar ki chaat

Method: Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. When it reaches smoking point, throw in the cumin seeds. When these crackle, reduce the flame to medium and add the chopped tomatoes. Cook till they are a mushy pulp. Add powdered spices along with salt and simmer for another minute. Dry roast the lotus seeds and cashew nuts and grind them coarsely. Add this to the tomatoes, stir in the syrup and simmer for a minute more. In another pan, heat the ghee and spread a thin layer of mashed potatoes on it. To obtain a thin-crust pizza-like crisp base, brown it evenly on both sides. Pour tomato chaat over this, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, chopped green chillies and ginger. Enjoy hot!

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