A couple of months ago when visiting our Pakistani friends, they surprised us with a delectable little snack called Channa Chat. It was spicy, crisp and an all-around party in the mouth. Abounding with compliments, we inquired as to how this salad of sorts was made, and our friend broke it down for us. I didn’t write it down because it seemed simple enough, and I thought I could fill in the blanks by finding a recipe online. Wrong.
A couple of weeks later when I went to recreate the recipe, all the English versions I could find were yogurt-laden and certainly not as beautiful. Therefore, I went straight to the source and asked our friends for help in recreating the dish they’d shared. Here’s how it went down:
So first up, channa. Although this is a Pakistani dish, those of you well-versed in Indian cuisine may know that “channa” is chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans, aka our cat Nici’s favorite toy). Closely following the channa as a main ingredient is this chaat masala, pictured above. It will provide 100% of the seasoning needed for this dish. Do not attempt to make this dish until you have sourced it.
Now, for your “green spices” this is where you decide how much of a masochist you’d like to be. When they made this for us, there were some pretty substantial chunks of chilis that really snuck up on us, or at least on me. Burke has yet to meet his match in terms of spiciness. So, maybe start with one or two and cut them into the tiniest pieces possible.
For your green ingredients, you’ll want five or six stalks of green onion and an entire bunch of cilantro. Okay, now that we’ve gathered all our ingredients, I’ll let my friend lay it all out for you:
I forgot to ask which red spices powder to add in, so I suppose any red spices you have will do. I’d probably recommend a bit of paprika and cayenne. Bonus: I just threw my potato into the pot with chickpeas (disclaimer: we only have one pot), so I recommend trying the same to shorten clean up time. Once everything is assembled, add about 3/4 cup of a tart yogurt of your choosing. Below is a photo of the channa chat before and after yogurt. My food photography skills clearly need some work, but trust me, it’s delicious!
In case you’re into a more traditional recipe layout, here you go:
1/2 bag dry Chickpeas ( or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
2 red onions
5-6 stalks green onion
1 head cilantro
1-4 chilis depending on your spice tolerance
2 tablespoons channa masala (or to taste)
3/4 plain yogurt
- Boil potatoes and chickpeas until soft for eating. Drain and cool.
- Wash and dice all vegetables, including potatoes. You’ll want your vegetables to be around the same size as your boiled chickpeas.
- Wash, remove stems, and mince cilantro and chilis. Add to mix.
- Add about 2 Tbs. channa masala. Next add the yogurt and a bit of salt. Adjust seasonings according to your preference. Serve chilled.