With the Super Bowl coming around in less than a month I have that perfect finger food for your party that will score a touch down or two. It’s my Chana Chat-Patti! Round of applause please…. Okay jokes apart, this appetizer is quickly becoming a favorite amongst my friends and family. And I bet they’ll be fans indefinitely if they know how fast it is to make.
“Mum! Where’s my chana?”. And like a dutiful mum, wink, wink, I whip up the Chana Chaat in a jiffy. This is one of my very few, I might add, Super Mum moments. Well… besides making a dive to catch a one year old jumping off the dining table by the edge of their diaper with only my pinky. I could go on but before I continue, I’d like to clarify something before I totally confuse you. The Chana my kids ask for is the Chana Chaat. They eat it with hot steamy rice dolloped with ghee. It’s such a comforting meal and tastes absolutely delicious.
However, I do use it as a component for the appetizer in the picture above. I call it Chana Chat-Patti because of the tang, the crunch and the spice. Perfect for an afternoon snack with a hot cup of Chaa. Or with Super Bowl coming around it makes for the perfect finger food.
I place a spoonful of the Chana Chaat atop a tortilla chip, drizzle it with cilantro chutney, a teeny dollop of plain yogurt, a scattering of fresh cut cilantro and I sprinkle on a crunchy savory topping. If you have access to an Indian grocer, some hot-mix (an indian snack) or bhujia (savory lentil sticks) will do. If a trip to the Indian store is not in the forecast, crushed potato chips do the trick, simply sprinkle on at the end and serve immediately. This is the fun part, play with different flavors and you really can’t go wrong.
The Chana Chaat recipe, yet again, is my “it’s really easy recipe” or “without a blink of an eye recipe“. A quick and effortless recipe you’re absolutely going to love. It’s rather simple if you don’t mind using canned chickpeas. I really don’t bother with soaking the chickpeas the night before and boiling them for a long period of time. Frankly, I really like cooking on the spur of the moment and that simply won’t do.
Recipe for Chana Chaat
Ingredients for the Chana Chaat
2 tablespoons ghee
a large pinch of fenugreek seeds (about 10 seeds)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon gharam masala (see note below)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced finely
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes (or 2 large ripe tomatoes, seeds removed and grated)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or chili powder of choice, adjust level of spice according to taste
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons tamarind pulp
salt to taste
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed
To Make the Chana Chaat
Heat the ghee in a pan and throw in the fenugreek seeds.
Once they begin to brown, turn down the heat and remove the pan.
Add the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, gharam masala and ginger. Give it a quick stir and place back on the stove. Be careful not to burn the spices.
After 30 seconds, pour in the crushed or grated tomatoes, cayenne pepper, paprika, tamarind pulp and salt.
Saute for a couple of minutes or until the oil separates slightly from the tomato curry.
Toss in the rinsed garbanzo beans and stir to coat with the curry.
Simmer for five more minutes allowing the flavors to infuse the beans.
To Make the Chana Chat-patti appetizers
you will need:
1 recipe Chana Chaat, cooled
1 bag round yellow corn tortilla chips
1 bottle cilantro chutney
1 small tub of plain yogurt
a handful of cilantro, chopped
a handful of a savory crunchy topping (hot-mix, bhujia or crushed potato chips)
Assembling the Chana Chat-patti appetizer
Place several tortilla chips onto a serving platter.
Scoop about a tablespoon of the Chana Chaat onto the chip.
Drizzle on 1/2 teaspoon of yogurt.
Spoon on 1/8 of a teaspoon of cilantro chutney, or add as much chutney as you like.
Garnish with a sprinkling of cilantro and a scattering of crunchy topping of choice.
Things have changed immensely in Zimbabwe since I was a child, and I don’t recall eating garbanzo beans/white chickpeas before coming to the the United States. They may be available there now. However, I do remember eating black chickpeas every now and then. Once in a while my Naanima would make a rich tomato curry with black chana. On occasion, my mum made this hearty salted fish stew that was dotted with the black legume called “Dhokrah”. It took the whole day to make and was such a fun affair to make with her, especially squishing the millet dumplings that were the part of the show. Black chana was incorporated into yet another favorite snack of mine,”Chana Batata“. This delicious snack was served particularly during wedding festivities, made with boiled potatoes cooked in a spicy tomato curry and flavored with black mustard seeds. It’s one of my all time favorites.
I first came across the Chana Chaat recipe in “the food of India” a cookbook by Murdoch books I had purchased from a bookstore in New Jersey. As the the years have gone by, I have changed it too suit my taste as well as the kids. I thought I’d mention this book, as my recipe is an adaptation of the original recipe.
Chickpeas vs Garbanzo beans?? Don’t fret, they are both the same bean alas the different names. They can be bought in a can, which I have chosen to use or can be purchased dried too. If you choose to walk the road of the dried beans, which is the more economical way to go, you may have to soak them overnight and then boil them for a bit before proceeding in the recipe above. Which ever method you choose, I can assure you the end result will be just as appetizing.
I like the rich red chana masala against the yellow tortilla chips, they do compliment each other. Please go ahead and use any tortilla chip or base that takes your fancy. A light cracker will do the trick too.
I sometimes cheat and buy the store bought cilantro chutney like I did in this recipe. And that’s okay when you’re in a fix. I prefer to use Deep Foods frozen cilantro chutney as it tastes pretty close to home made.
I made this appetizer with a friend, for a New Year’s Eve party and we garnished the Chana Chat-Patti with sprouted mungh beans. We loved the raw crunch they added to the ensemble. Like I said before, this is such a versatile ensemble of a recipe, choose what makes you happy.
I really do hope you have fun making this tasty and tangy appetizer!