Aloo channa caju chaat

Aloo channa caju chaat

Potato, chickpea and cashew salad

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

Chaat in many Indian languages simply means ‘to lick’. This is easy to use as a term, as many of the little street-side snacks are eaten with the fingers and then you, naturally, gleefully lick them as the food itself is so tasty. Chaats, therefore, is a term for finger food, but also a name for the particular masala powder known as chaat masala used to flavour the snack or salad.

This is a cold salad, one of the many fruit- and vegetable-based ones that exist, and you can chop and change it as you like by experimenting with fresh ingredients that blend well with the masala. Chaats like this are often eaten in the afternoon, combined with fruits such as pineapple, banana, pomegranate or half-ripe mangoes as a summer cooler, the rock salt acting to rehydrate the body.


Quantity Ingredient
100g chickpeas, soaked overnight, boiled and drained
or 400g canned chickpeas, well drained
rock salt, to taste
2 large potatoes, scrubbed
100g cashew nuts, broken or chopped into pieces
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large tomato
1 smallish red onion, finely chopped, (optional)
1 tablespoon coriander leaves, chopped
1-2 green chillies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chaat masala powder, or to taste
1/4 lime, juiced


  1. If using raw dried chickpeas, soak them overnight in cold water then boil in water until tender. Chickpeas will take from anywhere between 20 minutes to an hour to soften. They should not be firm as that can give you an upset tummy. Boiling chickpeas can take a long time even after soaking, as it is essential that they are thoroughly cooked. A pressure cooker is much faster. Add a little salt then drain thoroughly. Alternatively, drain the can of chickpeas in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain again.
  2. Boil the potatoes in their skins until tender when pierced. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, peel then cut into 5 mm dice and put in a large bowl.
  3. Preheat the oven to 120˚C. Mix the cashew nuts with the vegetable oil until they are all coated and spread out on a baking tray (please do not add more oil even if you think it is not enough, 1/4 teaspoon is adequate). Gently roast in the oven until lightly coloured. Remove, leave to cool, then add to the potatoes.
  4. Cut the tomato in quarters then remove the pulp with a teaspoon and reserve for use in a soup or sauce. Finely dice the flesh (you need about 3 heaped tablespoons). Add to the nuts and potato.
  5. Add all the remaining ingredients, toss together gently, add salt to taste and more chilli, chaat masala or lime juice, if desired. Serve in a bowl to share, or plate individually and serve as a starter with hot pooris, as an accompaniment to another starter or as a side dish with a meal. Please note that this dish does not keep well in the refrigerator once it has all been mixed, so only combine at the very last minute, when ready to serve.
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