The Hawk Eye

How to: Papri chaat

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Papri chaat is hands down the most simple Pakistani food out there. It takes almost as much effort as preparing a bowl of cereal. For real, all you have to do is mix some ingredients together.

Papri chaat is a super popular street food in Pakistan. Papri is basically a variation of a tortilla chip that you crumble and put on top of the chaat, which is essentially a salad minus the lettuce. No matter how hard I try, I can never find any here that tastes as good as the ones back home. There’s just something about eating from a tiny stall on the side of a crowded road that makes the food taste better. Or maybe it’s the love that the vendor pours into his cooking. Who am I kidding, it’s definitely the chaat masala.

The dish is yogurt based, so it’s not exactly convenient for people who are sensitive to dairy. To the plain yogurt, I added chaat masala (an Indian seasoning), which can be either homemade or bought at any Indian grocery store. Make sure to mix the chaat masala into the yogurt until there are no clumps in either of the ingredients. Next, add in canned chickpeas, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, boiled, chopped potatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped green chilies (optional) and salt to taste. Stir well so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed, and you’re done. Top it off with papri to add some crunch to the other soft ingredients.

Papri chaat is the perfect food to serve when you have guests over. Usually, it’s served chilled at tea time alongside other traditional snacks such as namak para and chewra, aka Pakistani trail mix. It’s great for when you’re hungry but not hungry enough to eat an actual meal. The crunch of the onions and papri is a great contrast to the softness of the potatoes and chickpeas. Although its ingredients are ordinary, papri chaat packs in flavor like no other snack.

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