A Cooking Class and Indian Street Food Treats
A week ago, I had the pleasure of teaching a friend of a friend how to make a few Indian dishes. I was introduced to Kara by Jenn Sutherland of The Whole Kitchen and after months of exchanging tweets and emails, Kara thought we should finally meet IRL and she asked me to plan an individual cooking class for her where she’d learn how to make a few basic Indian dishes.
This was the first time I taught a student how to make not one, but two Indian street food dishes – Sev Puri and Samosa Chat. The former, is a wheat cracker (puri), that is topped with assorted vegetables and a variety of tangy, spicy chutneys. The final finish, fine gramflour sev is added on top for a taste-bud popping morsel of deliciousness.
You’ll find a Sev Puri vendor on almost every other street corner of Mumbai and every vendor will have his own method of making it. My favorite Sev Puri vendor usually has his little stand right outside a pharmacy in Tardeo, Mumbai. I really hope he’s still around when I visit home next!
Samosa Chat is a very popular North Indian street food. Samosas are India’s answer to puff pastries. They are flour triangular pastries stuffed traditionally with spiced potatoes and peas. They can also be stuffed with cooked dry lentils and mince meat to name a few varieties. Samosa Chat, comprises of a samosa, topped with a spicy, tangy curry made with chickpeas.
In this post, I’ll share the recipe to make both Samosa Chat and Sev Puri with you. Read on to learn how to make the 2 easiest Indian dishes. Serve it at your next party at home and you’ll look like a Food Network rockstar 🙂
Recipe for Sev Puri – Printable version
- Flat wheat puris from the Indian grocery store. If you can’t find these easily, specifically ask the store manager for crispy puris for making sev puri (as a soft version of the puri is also available).
- Nylon Sev (fried crispy chickpea batter) from the Indian store. Only buy Nylon (fine) sev
- Potatoes – 2-3 medium, boiled until cooked but not mushy
- Cilantro – finely chopped
- 2-3 tomatoes, finely chopped
- Red onions or shallots – finely chopped
- Tamarind chutney (available at the Indian store)
- Cilantro chutney (available at the Indian store)
- Chat Masala
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lemon juice
- Plain yogurt, optional
- Peel and Chop the boiled potatoes and place in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and juice of ¼ lemon juice. Mix well and keep aside.
- In a small bowl, place 3-4 spoonfuls of the Tamarind chutney and dilute with about 2-3 tbsp of water till it is thin but not watery. Repeat the same with the Cilantro chutney.
- Arrange the flat puris in one layer on a large serving plate
- Start by place a small quantity of the potato mixture on each puri. Follow this by tomatoes, onions and cilantro
- Now add a small quantity each of cilantro and tamarind chutneys. Follow with a light sprinkle of the chat masala
- Finally, top with sev. Be liberal or sparing here based on personal preference
- End with a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
A few tips and variations
- A variation of the sev puri is the dahi sev puri or sev puri with yogurt. Before sprinkling the sev, place a small dollop of whipped plain yogurt on each puri. Some vendors also garnish with roasted peanuts and lentils
- This is very important – you MUST pop the whole puri in your mouth in one go. This is the way it has to be eaten. For extra measure, place a plate below your mouth to avoid any spills.
- You can make this a fusion dish by placing the same toppings in a phyllo dough canapé.
Recipe for Samosa Chat – Printable version
This one is really easy to make. Just prepare the chickpea curry beforehand, buy store-bought frozen Indian samosas, and assemble when you’re ready to eat.
- 1 packet of Frozen Potato & Peas samosas
- Indian Chickpea curry
- Chopped Onion for garnishing
- Chopped Coriander or Cilantro leaves and lemon wedges for garnishing
To assemble the Samosa Chat:
- Place 2 heated samosas in a bowl or plate
- Top with a ladle-ful of the Chickpea curry
- Garnish with chopped red onions, lemon juice and more chopped cilantro
- Eat immediately (why would you want to wait?!)
I have seen Samosa Chat prepared in different ways at different restaurants in North India. Some places also top the samosas and chickpea curry with and sweet/sour tamarind chutney. Some others garnish with chopped green chilies.