I remember, I remember when for the last time I had eaten these warm potatoes and black chickpea chaat. I remember, I remember, it was in the last summer, when we were young, eons ago from a rickety and dusty cart that used to move round and round in our neighborhood, every evening sharp at 4 pm, when the school gates closes for the day, a white dhoti-kurta clad old man rang the cycle bell multiple times for the children to gather, before they boarded up the bus for their home.
I remember, I remember every fleeting moment of those sweet days, days of my childhood, the memories that are timeless treasures, will always stays in my heart forever. Like every summer, as the mangoes returns to the trees, and roses blooms in the garden, childhood returns … but that magic has gone. That fairytale world is lost in oblivion. A momentary pause, in the humdrum of daily life, when heart beats for few seconds in memory of those sweet and sour days, when the twinkle returns in the eyes for a fleeting moment before it vanishes forever in the crimson dusk of present.
And as I was boiling the black chickpeas, remembering those independent days (for the first time when you step out of your nest), when we used to literally survive on these, days after days, this country cousin of the English variety, garbanzo beans, has proved itself many times as survival food. And as I chopped the onions and tomatoes with my Santoku knife as fine as possible, squishing them and painting my cutting board in hues of red and purple, I relive those moments once again. A light breeze from the south window urged me to reach out for my secret stash of chaat masala from the cupboard (secret because it is lip smackingly good), few sprinkle of black salt and generous squeeze of fresh lime juice….then toss everything into a beautiful mess…
Yes I know, and the moment you mention this as salad, everything lost, the momentum, the drama, the story, even the drool. Though technically they are pretty much same but few things remain unchanged, the magic of chaat. Thats the beauty of Indian cuisine, explosion of flavours unmatched.
- Black chickpea (boiled) : 2 cups
- Potatoes (boiled, cut into small cubes) : ½ cup
- Red onion (finely chopped) : ½ cup
- Tomatoes (finely chopped) : ½ cup
- Cucumber (finely chopped) : ½ cup
- Radish (finely chopped) : ½ cup
- Green / unripe mango (finely chopped) : ½ cup
- Red chilli (finely chopped) : 1 tsp
- Green chilli (finely chopepd) : 1 tsp
- Black salt to taste
- Chaat masala : 1 tsp
- Dry mango powder: ½ tsp
- Roasted cumin powder : ½ tsp
- Juice of one lime
- Cilantro (finely chopped) : 2 tbsp +
- Mung sprouts : a handful (optional)
- Gather all the ingredients as mentioned above.
- In a large bowl, dump everything and toss lightly.
- Serve immediately.