Aloo chat is an Indian street snack that makes a great summer dish. Recipe adapted from Julie Sahni, Classic Indian Cooking, which is more than a collection of recipes by the way.
1 tbs chat masala (buy pre-prepared or use recipe below*)
1/3 cup cold water
5-6 waxy potatoes (I used Elba Golds from North Haven’s Turner Farms)
2 cups ripe tomatoes (I used heirlooms from the Union Square Greenmarket)
4 tbs finely chopped onions
1 finely chopped jalapeno or habanero (optional)
3 tbs roughly chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin seeds, toasted for 2 minutes in a small pan over a low flame, shaking the whole time, then ground
1 tbs kosher salt (or more, to taste)
juice of a whole supermarket lemon (or more, to taste)
Mix chat masala* thoroughly with the cold water in a small bowl.
Boil the potatoes until they are tender but not falling apart. Plunge into cold water and peel. Cut into 1/2″ chunks. Place in a large bowl and cover with chat masala+water mixture stirring gently to coat thoroughly, and allow to sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, slice tomatoes into 1/2″ chunks, and prepare the rest of the ingredients. Now place the tomatoes, cilantro, onions and optional chopped chiles on top of the potatoes and DO NOT MIX. Put the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove from fridge add the cumin, salt and lemon juice. Now stir the entire mixture gently. Adjust seasoning – you will need to balance the salt and lemon juice to get the right mix of salty and sour. Serve immediately.
* Chat masala recipe (if you want to buy premixed, I’ve heard Everest brand is good):
3/4 tsp cumin seeds (toasted and ground as above)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground asafoetida (or hing – the better stuff comes in blocks)
1/4 tsp amchoor (dried mango powder)
1/2 tsp black salt
3/4 tsp kosher salt
All masala ingredients should be thoroughly ground and combined. The black salt is critical for chat. Do not be put off by its sulfurous smell in its raw form.