Papri Chaat is a traditional street snack found all over India. Papris are crispy chips made from a simple wheat dough. Much like nachos, the papris are topped with assorted accoutrements of complementing and contrasting textures and flavors, and always dusted generously with chaat masala, a fragrant and flavorful spice mixture. Traditionally you find the papris buried under fluffy boiled potatoes, tender chickpeas, cool yogurt, bright mint chutney, sweet and sour tamarind chutney, and crunchy sev (fried chickpea noodles), which are the ingredients featured in this recipe. You can make all the components from scratch as written here, or buy pre-made papris, sev, and mint and tamarind chutneys online or at an Indian grocer.
Why It Works
- The chaat masala is a spice blend that adds funky, salty, spicy, and sour flavors to the chaat.
- Durum flour forms strong gluten networks without becoming very elastic, making it ideal for rolling into thin, crisp papris.
- Fresh mint chutney and tangy-sweet tamarind chutney add bright, fresh, tart, and sweet flavors to the fried crisps.
- Making Papri chaat at home allows you to customize the ratios and seasoning to your taste.
- Yield:Serves 4 to 6 as a snack
- Active time: 2 hours
- Total time:2 hours
- For the Papris:
- 2 cups (260g) atta flour (Indian wheat flour), or whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7g) kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon (5g) nigella seeds
- 1 tablespoon (12g) vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 quarts (1.4 liters) oil for frying, such as canola, peanut, or vegetable
- For the Mint Chutney:
- 1 bunch (60g) cilantro
- 1 bunch (60g) mint
- Juice from 1 lime (about 30ml)
- 1 medium (20g) serrano pepper, sliced
- For the Tamarind Chutney:
- 4 (40g) medjool dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup (85g) tamarind paste (not concentrate)
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) ginger powder
- 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Kashmiri red chili powder (see note)
- 1/3 cup (100g) palm sugar or light brown sugar
- For the Sev:
- 1 cup (115g) chickpea flour
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) Kashmiri red chili powder (see note)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1g) freshly ground black pepper
- To Assemble:
- 1 cup (about 250g) boiled, peeled, and cubed russet potato
- 1 can (434g) chickpeas, drained (or equivalent freshly cooked from dried)
- 1 pint (450g) whole milk yogurt
- 1 small onion, diced
- Chaat Masala spice mixture, to taste
- Kosher salt
For the Papris: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and nigella seeds. Add warm water, a little at a time, until a soft dough forms (should be the consistency of Play-Doh). Knead in the bowl until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough, about 5 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until approximately 2 millimeters thick (you can use the nigella seeds as your guide: the dough should be just barely thicker than the seeds themselves). Using a fork, prick all over the surface of the dough (alternatively, if left un-pricked, the papris will puff up when fried, and can then be stuffed for sev puri chaat and pani puri). Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut rounds from the dough and set aside on a floured surface. Any scrap can be gathered and re-rolled until you have no more dough left.
In a large pot, wok, or Dutch oven, heat oil to to 375°F (190°C). Working in batches of 6 to 8 pieces, fry the papris, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain onto a paper towel-lined sheet tray and season with salt while still warm. Reserve frying oil for the sev (below), if making from scratch. The papri's stay crisp in an airtight container for up to one week.
For the Mint Chutney: Prepare an ice bath. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the mint and cilantro until they turn bright green, about 20 seconds. Shock the herbs in the ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain well. Squeeze out any excess liquid from the herbs.
Remove and discard the thick mint stems, then roughly chop the herbs and remaining tender stems. In a blender, purée the blanched herbs with the lime juice, serrano pepper, and just enough cold water to bring the mixture together, taking care not to over-blend and heat up the chutney, which can lead to discoloration. Season with salt to taste. The chutney stays fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
For the Tamarind Chutney: In a small saucepan, combine dates, tamarind paste, ginger power, chili powder, and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 10 minutes to soften the tamarind paste and dates. Using a blender, purée until smooth, then pass through a fine mesh strainer to remove any fibrous bits. The chutney keeps in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For the Sev: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the chickpea flour, chili powder, black pepper and enough water (1/3 cup - 1/2 cup) to form a mixture with the thickness of pancake batter. Put the batter into a piping bag fitted with a number 2 plain round tip, or use a zipper-lock bag with one corner snipped off to create a small opening.
Using the same frying oil as for the papris, heat oil to 375°F (190°C). Pipe squiggles of batter into the oil like a funnel cake and fry until bubbling ceases. Using a spider or strainer, lift fried sev and transfer to a paper towel-lined sheet tray to drain. Repeat with remaining sev batter. The sev stays crisp in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
To Assemble: On a large serving plate, spread papris in a single even layer.
In a small bowl, toss the potatoes and chickpeas with chaat masala to taste. Spread the potatoes and chickpeas all over the papris.
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt with chaat masala to taste and spoon over the potatoes, chickpeas, and papris.
Top with diced onion, mint and tamarind chutneys, and sev. Sprinkle more chaat masala on top and serve right away, preferably with sweet, milky black tea.