Friday, 17 October 2014

Pineapple & Corn Chaat Verrine

Lately, my days have been super super busy. Both work & home. Work is usual but home is a bit coz of festive fervor. Guess its not just me, Diwali is round the corner and everyone in my neighborhood and in my family/friends circle seem to busy with the festive planning. 

Oh yes! Diwali, is a big big celebration in India. It’s a very prominent Indian festival which span up to four days. Family, friends and lots & lots of food is the idea of enjoyment. Trust, in today's world of  the illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and prosperity.
So, i was talking about my busy schedules these days! Too much of cooking-shooking happening in my kitchen. My preparations for Diwali party are on! Any family get together is a perfect time for feasting!  Honestly, my work schedules don't  permit me to call for a big feast on a weekdays and Sundays mostly get engaged in boring household queued up errands! So i compensate when there are festivals. I always look forward to hosting such fun parties. Gives me an opportunity to share my love for food with my loved ones. What can be a better idea than this!

A typical dinner gathering at my place starts with some mocktails and this time some cocktails will also be on the menu, to satiate the quench for liquor for the men population. And also, any Diwali cards party is incomplete if there are no drinks served to the gentlemen. Adds to the fun! (Not my words, but feedback from the 'so called' men) So drinks and mocktails are followed by some starters and then the finally, dinner table is laid with variety of food with 4-5 choices for the guests. Finalising the items for this time's party has been a bit tough. I have been thinking aloud for the starter menu and somehow didn't wish to go by a regular paneer or chicken servings. They would indeed top my list for dinner but appetizers NO...

Chaat, the famous Indian street food had been in my mind for quite sometime now and after enough brainstorming i settled on for some of those sweet-tangy savories. An unusual combination of ingredients was my idea of chaat for 2014 diwali bonanza! So before serving to the guests on the D day, i did some experiment yesterday with a few items handy and trust the end result was marvelous! 

Corn and pineapple perfectly blends in my invention and have rendered diverse flavors to the chaat. Tanginess from pineapple and creaminess of the corns delivered a new dimension to this much acclaimed street food!

Its a must must for this Diwali coz this dish has all the traits of a winner!



For Potato Crisps
3 big potatoes 
Oil for Frying

For Corn Masala
100 gms sweet corn
few sprigs of fresh coriander
2 tsp chaat masala
Black salt for taste
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1 onion (finely chopped)
Juice of lemons (adjust it as per your taste)  

For Pineapple & Cucumber Dip 
1 small sized cucumber (Peeled and finely cut)
3-4 slices of  pineapple (cut into small sizes)
1-1/2 cups curd (not watery at all)
2 finely chopped green chillies
finely chopped coriander leaves
2 tsp sugar
Black salt for taste
2 tsp of roasted cumin powder
6-7 fresh mint leaves (crushed in mortar & pestle)

Green Chutney
1 cup Coriander leaves
1/2 cup Mint leaves
2 or 3 (If you like it to be spicier, you may add more) Green chillies
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Juice of 1 lemon

Sonth (Tamarind Chutney)
2 cup tamarind pulp (soak dried tamarind overnight in water and then mash it next day and pass the fluid through a seive to get the pulp)
2 tbsp roasted cumin seeds powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 cup sugar or as required - adjust as per your taste
rock salt or black salt as required
1/4 cup kishmish
Handful of ginger cut into julienne

For Garnish
Pomegranate seeds
Coriander leaves
Pineapple wedge for decoration

Steps to follow:-

 For Potato Crisps
 1. Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise into thin rectangular stripes 
2. Rinse the potato juliennes under run water very vigorously.
3. Soak them in cold water for sometime.
4. In the mean time, heat oil in a wok.
5. While the oil is getting hot, drain the potatoes and remove the excessive moisture by patting them well with a dry kitchen towel.
6. Now simmer the flame and add the potatoes in batches.
7. Keep the flame on medium now and constantly monitor the potatoes.
8. Once they appear crisp and light brown in color, with the help of a slotted spoon, seive them out of the oil and put on a napkin.

For Corn Masala
1. Place a griddle pan on a medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp oil.
2. Once hot, carefully add the ginger and saute well.
3. Now add some finely chopped onions.

NOTE: You do not have to roast ginger and onion.Just saute till the point they smell aromatic.

4. Now add corn to the mix
5. Add chaat masala, black salt, red chill powder and toss well.
6. Lid the griddle for 2-3 minutes allowing the flavors to completely seep into corn kernels.
7. Unlid after 3 minutes and squeeze in lemon juice and stir thoroughly and add chopped coriander
8. Transfer to a bowl and allow it to cool.

For Pineapple & Cucumber Dip
1. Whisk curd in a bowl ensuring its smooth and has no lumps
2. Add chopped cucumber, chopped pineapple, green chillies, black salt, sugar, roasted cumin powder, and chopped coriander leaves.
3. Now add freshly crushed mint leaves and whisk thoroughly.
4. If you feel the dip is too thick add milk. But ensure it does not have thin consistency
4. Refrigerate for sometime.
Green Chutney
Blend all the ingredients mentioned for green chutney and squeeze in the lemon juice once all has blended well.

Sonth or Tamarind Chutney
1. Place a wok on the gas stove and let it warm up.
2. Pour in the tamarind pulp in the wok and let it come to a boil.
3. Bring down the flame to medium and now add roasted cumin seeds powder, sugar, ginger julienne, red chilli powder and kishmish and salt as per taste.

NOTE: The tamarind pulp will reduce in quantity so add the spices accordingly

4. Stir continuously and would observe the mixture would start to thicken
5. When cooled, store the saunth chutney in an air-tight dry jar or container. refrigerate and serve the sonth chutney whenever required with chaat or snacks.

Final assembling of the chaat

1. Grab a glass (small in height wold be the best, a V shaped glass or a martini glass would work wonders)
2. Place the fried potato crisps at the bottom of the glass covering 1/3 of the space.
3. To the next layer add the corn masala covering 1 inch of length.
4. Now spoon in a big dollops of cucumber pineapple dip and spread properly till the circumference covering the remaining space.

NOTE: Just ensure that you do not over load till the rim else while eating. Leave a few cm below the rim to allow you to mix while eating else it would create a mess when you dig into it.

5. To this concoction, add the the green chutney, sonth and sprinkle some pomegranate seeds.
6. Place a coriander leaf at the center and arrange a triangular shaped pineapple wedge on the rim of the glass.

Serve it immediately coz else it will become soggy. 

This tangy-creamy beauty is filled with the crunch & the munch in every bite. The taste will leave you tongue tickling and will make you go bonkerzzz!

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