Oh, the sheer number of times we have gorged on shakarkandi ki chaat on our Delhi trips! This chaat is a big part of the street food scene in Delhi, and has come to personify Delhi for us, along with pakodewali kadhi and dhaba-style chana daal tadka.
Delhi was the first (and only!) place I sampled this sweet potato chaat, which tastes delish, more so on wintry, foggy evenings. The chaatwala roasts the tubers on a charcoal fire, the scent of the smoke permeating the skin and entering its flesh. Then, the skin is peeled off, the root cut into cubes, given a generous sprinkling of an array of spices and a dash of lemon juice – and you are all set for an explosion of flavours in your mouth! The husband and I simply love the flavours of this chaat, sweet and sour and spicy and salty all at once.
I wonder why I never, ever tried to make shakarkandi ki chaat at home. Probably, I didn’t want to tamper with those beautiful memories of time spent in Delhi with the OH, exploring the city, falling in love with it bit and bit. Those days feel almost magical now – sigh!
Recently, though, when I discovered a couple of sweet potatoes in my kitchen, almost on the verge of extinction, I had this sudden urge to try out the chaat. I didn’t want to look up recipes – I wanted to create something based on my memories of the chaat, with a few little touches of my own. And that is just what I ended up doing. I am happy to say the chaat turned out gorgeous, just gorgeous, very very similar to the bowls of delicious that I remember digging into in Delhi.
Now, let me tell you about how I made the chaat.
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
2 teaspoons roasted cumin (jeera) powder, or to taste
2 teaspoons chaat masala, or to taste (I used Everest brand)
Red chilli powder, to taste
Rock/ black salt, to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
- Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly, so that all the dirt on them is removed. Cut them into large pieces, and pressure cook them with just enough water to cover the pieces. Give them 4 whistles. Alternatively, you could roast the pieces of sweet potato on a charcoal fire – this would infuse the chaat with a lovely, smoky flavour.
- If you are pressure cooking the sweet potatoes, let the pressure escape entirely. Let the cooked pieces cool down completely, and then peel them.
- Chop the cooked sweet potato into cubes.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the cubed sweet potatoes, rock salt, chaat masala, cumin powder, red chilli powder, lemon juice and pomegranate arils. Mix well, using your hands, to ensure that the spices evenly coat all the pieces of sweet potato.
- Add the chopped coriander leaves to the mixing bowl. Toss gently.
- Serve the chaat immediately.
- You could use regular white salt in place of rock salt, but you would miss out on the lovely fragrance and taste that black salt imparts to a dish.
- There are a whole lot of different ways to make this chaat – the Internet is buzzing with recipes for the same, I’m sure. This is just my version. You might want to make some variations of your own to the recipe – for instance, adding finely chopped green chillies instead of red chilli powder. Play around!
Do you like shakarkandi ki chaat? How do you make it at home?