Papdi Chaat

Mallika Basu - Papdi Chaat

Posted 16th January 2009


This was the longest birthday celebration ever. On the eve of the big day, my client took a colleague and me to a night out at Cirque du Soleil.

It was to celebrate the end of a major project – the development of a new luxury report followed by its global media launch. We had collectively spent months of blood, sweat and tears. Now it was time to let our hair down. In style.

We grabbed a glass of champagne and sandwich each and made our way to the red carpet box. As the acrobatics started, so did the assault on our senses.  With every air borne somersault, we clutched the edge of our seats. It was fresh, bold and full of punch.

Not unlike a Chaat, I thought to myself as we left the venue mesmerised by the production. [Do I never stop thinking about food??] These spicy and tangy snacks are the mainstay of street food vendors and tea parties back home. The word literally means “to lick” or relish. It’s impossible not to, with the explosion of flavours on offer.

I went out and bought Papdi (pronounce paap-ri), the flat flour biscuits, that are layered with boiled potatoes, yogurt to make Papdi Chaat. Spicy tamarind sauce and coriander chutney give the dish a kick. Along with a sprinkling of pungent spices and topping of crushed crispy fried noodles or Sev.

Unlike the modern circus, this required no special skill. Just a specialist shopping trip.


Feeds 2-3:

  • 16 Papdis
  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 500gm low fat natural yogurt
  • 50gm little black chick peas or kala channa
  • Half tsp chilli powder
  • Half tsp black salt
  • One tsp whole cumin
  • Two tsp Sev or Bhujia

Coriander chutney

  • 40gm or large handful of fresh coriander
  • 1 green finger chilli
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

Tamarind sauce

  • 2 inch ball of tamarind
  • 5 tbsp  boiling water
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • Half tsp black pepper
  • Half tsp black salt


Soak the tamarind in the boiling water mixed with the sugar and rest of the spices. Next boil the potatoes and crush into little bite-sized pieces. I just peeled, chopped them and microwaved them covered for 7 minutes on high.

Next, puree the coriander with the rest of the chutney ingredients until you get a smooth paste. Strain the tamarind of its juices two times until you get a thick, sweet and sour sauce.

Now it’s a simple assembly job. Place the Papdis in a single layer on a plate. Spread the crushed potatoes  and kala channa on top, then pour over the whipped yogurt, sprinkle the spices, spoon the chutney and drizzle the tamarind sauce.

Finish with a sprinkling of the Sev or Bhujia and enjoy the colours, textures and flavours immediately before the Papdis soften. I served this with sparkling grape juice and birthday cake to a friend.

20 responses to “Papdi Chaat”

  1. Nags says:

    My absolute favorite chat 🙂

  2. sushma says:

    Yummy truely an treat!

  3. Sunshinemom says:

    Nothing like chaat! Tasty, tangy and light! Looks good:)

  4. Alka says:

    Ahhh that lovely chaat….sulking about not being there to enjoy it..ok no probs. i will make this at home and wont call u over ….tit for tat….lolz !

  5. notyet100 says:

    yum,,.easy to mke nd yummy in taste,,,droolin lookin at the pic,..;-)

  6. Arundhuti says:

    this one is irresistible!

  7. Bharti says:

    I wish I could chaat that right now.

  8. sandeepa says:

    Ooooooh sure messed up my senses

  9. Cirque do Soleil – how wonderful! I have read about it but never made a performance. I love your description – just as I imagined it. Confirms that this is a spectacle not to be missed.

    Ah, street vendors. How I wish this country served tasty, home-cooked food on the street! (Although I did have a great takeaway on Friday from the Falafel King).

    I still have not mastered tamarind – this inspires me to have another go.

    I have learnt so much from you – how to gently fry onions and spices, then add a little water to make an aromatic sauce.

    Thank you for your informative and entertaining blog, Mallika, and a very happy new year to you.

  10. That sounds delicious, anything with tamarind (or potatoes for that matter) and I am SOLD! I have yet to see Cirque du Soleil, but I hear it is fantastic!

  11. Maninas says:

    oh no, I can’t see the post again…

  12. deeba says:

    Just the best of Indian street food Mallika…even the kids love putting their indiv platters together every now & then. Explosively delicious…yum!
    BTW, your gosht kali mirch has been made 4 times, & is a hit each time!! Thank you sweetheart! How’s the mum-to-be doing?

  13. Padmaja says:

    So when r u inviting me over, Love to have this dear…
    After coming back from India, I still haven’t ventured into the kitchen to try anything… After your dish, I guess may its time to put on my apron and start…..

  14. Shreya says:

    hi, a truly explosive treat:-) Love the pic, and the recipe is just perfect. I hope to get papdis in the supermarket nearby so that I can try this…

  15. rameen says:

    that looks delicious
    one problem where do i buy papdi from?

  16. Mallika says:

    Oh we love this Namesake-chaat papris and sev from Annapurna’s on Elgin Road and back home to make this absolutely yummy snack!

  17. Oriental Princess says:

    I am a foreigner who get marridge with Indian man. am no happy to know and learn indian dishs from you.. and u know!! the one who most happy that is my husband.. thanks for your nice recepies!

  18. Oriental Princess says:

    I am a foreigner who get marridge with Indian man. I’m soooo happy to know and learn indian dishs from you.. and u know!! the one who most happy that is my husband.. thanks for your nice recepies!

  19. […] Coriander chutney and Tamarind sauce […]

  20. Spectacular Papdi chaat at home? Obviously can’t help but had to hop in from your other post! Great shot Mallika:)

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