Moong Daal Stuffed Aloo Tikki Chaat
If there is one festival that every Indian looks forward to, it has to be Diwali. It is the time to celebrate togetherness, enjoy the delicious food, light the lamps and have a sparkling celebration. We’re less than two weeks away from Diwali. Since many of my Indian friends are preparing to host a Diwali Party, I thought it might be fun for you to peek into one of the snacks that I am going to prepare. It is Stuffed Aloo Tikki Chaat! It needs no introduction to those who are familiar with the street foods of India. Aloo tikki is like a little pillow of delicious potato-y goodness on its own, but stuffing it with mung daal mixture take it to a whole new level. Most of the time this tikki is made gluten free but some people add breadcrumbs.
There are countless varieties of tongue tickling chaat available in India but the most popular one in Northern India is Aloo tikki chaat. Traditionally, chaat was mainly sold by street vendors. Today you can find them on all Indian restaurant menus. It is a perfect party starter and never fails to get one’s taste buds going. There are several variations of this recipe. Some make with only potatoes. Some add peas to the potatoes. While some others make it with a stuffing. Some cook it on the griddle while others shallow fry them. Even the spices used vary from region to region and family to family. I have often made aloo tikkis on the griddle for my family and friends with no stuffing and binding. These kind are served with ketchup for evening tea or with chutneys, yogurt and chickpea curry for a street food lunch.
Plain aloo tikki is also delicious in a sandwich or burger or as a side with meat. When aloo tikki is transformed to a chaat, they are shallow fried to give a crispy coating, then slathered with chutneys and other stuff. I haven’t made this version of tikki in a long time so I did a test run last week. It came out perfectly crisp and satisfying, similar to what I had at my niece’s wedding in last December.
Itmay look like quite a task to build the plate of stuffed aloo tikki chaat and to tell you the truth, I would fancy ordering a plate rather than making my own. However, it’s not at all that difficult to prepare in your kitchen, it’s just that it involves many steps. If you plan ahead by making chutneys and other stuff it is actually fun to make and at the same time a perfect snack to impress your guests. You can keep the tikkis warm in a 250°F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes before serving. They will stay crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. If you like you can eat the aloo tikki with ketchup, however the most common way Indians eat these fried aloo tikkis is by topping it with fiery green chutney, sweet tamarind chutney, thinly sliced raw onion, grated radish and cilantro.
A scrumptious snack with an astounding mix of flavors and textures.
- 4 potatoes (550g), unpeeled
- 3/4 cup chiwra/poha (white rice flakes)
- 2 tbsp. sweet rice flour or gf all-purpose flour
- black pepper to taste
- 1 cup mung daal (split and skinned), divided
- A pinch of turmeric
- 50 g paneer, diced small
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp chaat masala (there is no substitute for this)
- Lemon juice to taste
- 2 green chilies, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ginger, finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- Green chutney
- Sweet chutney
- Thinly sliced onion
- Grated radish
- Cilantro to garnish
- 40 g tamarind
- 150-175 gm brown sugar or jaggery ( I would not put dates in this one)
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp (+-) red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp (+-) cumin powder
- 35 g tamarind
- 2 heaped cups mint leaves
- 1 heaped cup cilantro leaves
- 2-3 green chilies, roughly chopped
- 1/4 slice green apple, roughly diced
- 4 green onion, (white part and some of the green), chopped
- Salt to taste
- Soak 1/2 cup mung daal for 8 hours or overnight.
- Start with making green chutney. Break tamarind in smaller pieces and soak in 1/3 cup hot water. When cool to touch give it a good mash with your hand. Squeeze and strain. Grind green chutney ingredients with tamarind pulp. If the chutney is too thick add a splash of water to thin it (or add lemon juice instead if it is not sour enough).
- The green chutney made with tamarind can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-5 weeks.
- For sweet chutney, soak tamarind in 1 cup hot water. Leave aside for 15-30 minutes.
- Mash and strain, pressing the thick tamarind juice through a mesh strainer over a small pot. Discard the solids.
- Place pot on heat. Add brown sugar.
- Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and cook till it reaches sticky consistency.
- Add salt, red chili powder and cumin powder.
- Transfer in a bowl. This chutney will stay good in the refrigerator for 2-3 months or may be more.
- To make aloo tikki, cut potatoes into half, place in a large pot of salted water. Boil until just tender. Rinse under cold water and peel. Let cool slightly.
- Tip poha flakes into a colander. Rinse under running water, mixing gently with hands to ensure all the flakes are moistened. Let them sit in the strainer to swell up for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot parboil the remaining 1/2 cup moong daal with little salt and turmeric.
- Once done drain the excess water.
- Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a pan over medium heat, add ginger, green chilies, and parboiled moong and a little salt, mix well and cook for 2 minutes on slow flame.
- Remove daal from heat, add cubed paneer, lemon juice, chaat masala, salt, red chili powder, green chili and cilantro. Mix everything until combined.
- Take a small amount of lentil mixture and roll between your palms to form 1 inch balls. Set aside.
- Grate the potatoes on the large holes of a box grater over a bowl. Add rice flour, salt, black pepper and swelled poha. Mix with your fingers until well combined.
- Now drain the water from the soaked Daal and spread in a wide plate.
- Heat oil in a cast iron pan over medium high heat. The level of oil should be about half -3/4 of the thickness of the patty, an easy amount to control, and add more oil as you cook, if needed.
- To shape aloo tikki, take a requisite size of ball out of potato mixture with damp or oiled hands and roll it like a ball. Keep aside.
- After you have made all the potato mixture into balls. Take one ball of mashed potato and make a depression in the center, put lentil mixture. Close in the edges to enclose the stuffing.
- Now roll the ball in daal. Press gently and shape into a tikki. Roll the edges on the counter to smoothen the sides. Repeat the process with remaining Tikkis.
- Gently place the tikki in preheat oil and fry till golden and began to crisp around the edges. Carefully flip and cook until well golden on the second side. Make sure not to flip them more than 2-3 times.
- Transfer the tikki on a paper towel or on a wire strainer set over a plate or bowl.
- Continue to cook tikki in batches of 2-3, allowing the oil to heat up again before adding a new batch each time.
- Serve as soon as possible as they are best when hot. (you can keep them warm in an oven for 20-30 minutes before serving).
- To serve Aloo Tikki Chaat, place 1-2 tikki (as per choice) in a plate, add green and sweet chutney. Top it with a spoonful of grated radish, onion and cilantro. You can even add sev and sprinkle extra chaat masala on top.
- To serve this chaat in a party, lay all the prepared elements in separate serving bowls. Let the guest assemble it themselves to their liking.
*There are millions of options of making green chutneys. You can make with only cilantro and only mint or reverse the ratio of mint: cilantro ( i.e. switch to 2:1 instead of 1:2 as above). *Aloo tikki should be fried on medium hot temperature If the oil is not hot enough, the tikki will turn greasy and stuffing may burst.