While everyone else was making sweets and wearing silks on Diwali I was making this aloo tikki chaat in yoga pants that has seen better days.And why ? For the simple reason that I had soaked some yellow (or was it white?) vatana in the morning to make ghugni and suddenly just a ghugni for dinner did not seem right on Diwali. I am ashamed to say but that was the most I could do. In light of all your karanjis, besan ladoos, gulab jamuns and murukkus my struggle to put together a plate of "pick-me-up-and-have-a party-in-your-mouth" aloo tikki chaat seems to fizzle out like a damp cracker.
But guess what ? It was okay. At least I thought it was okay. Only I cribbed about the fairy lights that would go on the front porch in our old home and that still remained in their cardboard box, resting, probably itching to get out and spread some light. We weren't able to put them up here. Not yet. Those lights will have to wait till we figure out how to put them up in this front porch with a different facade.It is the lights I worried about most. For Diwali to me is more about flickering, twinkling, bursting lights on a dark autumn night than anything else.
Now to the aloo tikki chaat which as everyone and their neighbor's dog knows is a famous Indian street food. Only thanks to my street food phobic mother I never tasted it at a street-side. I have spent many school afternoons looking longingly at the tikki wala standing behind a huge disc of greased tawa--flat discs of aloo tikkis and green chilies adorning its periphery--stirring around a ghugni with a non-chalance that was enviable. Bevy of school girls, usually the high schoolers surrounded his cart as he went tan-tan with his steel ladle on the iron tawa. I have no idea how it tasted, all I can remember is my Ma talking about the steel plates he used not being properly washed and some such reasoning to prevent me from having it.
At this point I can only thank my stars that Ma was not that strict when it came to phuchka or egg roll. Phewww...can't imagine what my life would have been otherwise.
So the point of the matter is I have always had aloo tikki chaat at sanitized surroundings, in small restaurants, a step away from the street, and it has tasted as good as it can in that surrounding. I have nothing to compare it against. Same goes about mine. It is good. Pretty good. But I have a niggling doubt it is not as good as that tikki wala's who sat outside the huge green gates of my school.
There are several recipes of aloo tikki chaat or ragda patties. The aloo tikki is a spicy potato patty which is shallow fried and the ragda is a spicy peas curry kind of thing. The aloo tikki chaat can be just the potato patties itself topped with all the tamarind chutney, sev and other chaat paraphernalia.My girls love the aloo tikki by itself, at least BS does. The patties also make great sandwiches.It can also be made into an aloo tikki chole chaat where instead of peas curry there is a garbanzo beans curry.
I like all the variations and for most of the time my ragda is more in the lines of a Bengali ghugni and does pair beautifully with the aloo tikki. It is a comforting dish, makes a complete meal and heals any pain you may or may not have in absence of twinkling fairy lights.
Aloo Tikki Chaat -- Ragda PattiesMake Aloo Tikki
Boil 3 large-ish potatoes.
Cool the potatoes and then peel.Now mash the potatoes very smooth.
Next take 3 slices of bread, remove the sides, dampen by sprinkling water and add to potatoes.
To the above mashed potatoes and bread add
1 tsp Amchoor
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
2 clove of garlic minced
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
salt to taste
some Beet noon or rock salt or kala namak
Mix all of the above with the potatoes and make a smooth dough. Take a little and taste. Something missing ? More spicy ? Less salt ? Adjust and add more of the spice that is missing.
Heat a non-stick pan lightly greased. Very, very little oil is needed and spraying a non-stick pan with oil or greasing with your fingers works best
Now take a scoop of the mashed aloo, flatten on the palm of your hand and put on the pan. If you are using a large pan you can do about 7-8 patties/tikkis at the same time. At medium heat cook for 5 minutes and flip. You will see that the side has deep brown spots. Next cook other side for 4-5 minutes.
Remove and arrange on a serving plate. You can later make a chaat out of it or serve it to kids just like that with some ketchup
Make the Ghugni or Ragda
Soak 1&1/2cup of dried White peas (white vatana) in water overnight.
Next day rinse the peas. The peas will now have swelled to almost 3 cups
Heat oil in a Pressure cooker
1 heaped tsp of Cumin seeds
2-3 cracked dry red chili
2 clove of garlic minced
Add the peas. Sprinkle a tsp of turmeric powder, a tsp of Red chili powder and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Next add enough water so that peas are all submerged(about 3-4 cups), 2 tsp of grated ginger, salt to taste and close the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook for 5 mins at ful pressure.
Once you can open the lid add a tsp of Amchur/Mango Powder, some finely chopped coriander leaves, squeeze of little lime juice and adjust for salt and spices. I often add a little beet noon or kala namak to finish off. If you like more heat add some finely chopped green chili.
Assemble The Chaat
To serve the chaat arrange 2-3 aloo tikki on a plate. Ladle few spoonfuls of ghugni/ragda over the tikki. Drizzle a little Tamarind Chutney. Next drizzle little whipped yogurt. Sprinkle sev liberally on top. You can add some more chopped onion and green chili to finish.