Adapted from The Turmeric Trail: Recipes and Memories from an Indian Childhood by Raghavan Iyer (St. Martin's Press, 2002). Copyright 2002 by Raghavan Iyer.
Anything and everything mixed together, no restrictions, no constraints, tolerance for all—this could easily be a description of the large metropolis of Mumbai. But it really is what chaat is all about. Chaat, which literally means "licking," aptly defines the lip-smacking flavors that make this combination so popular on street corners and beaches. A combination of vegetables, legumes, and even fresh fruits with herbs and spices, served cold or at room temperature, usually constitutes the basis of chaat. I particularly like the textural contrasts between this recipe's vegetables and legumes.
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Note: Chaat masaala (chaat is Hindi for "lick") is a spice blend consisting of black salt, mango powder made from dried pulp of unripe green mangoes, dried pomegranate seeds, and other seasonings. Snack foods in India (especially in the north and northwest) usually include this tart, finger-licking, addictive spice blend. Sprinkle it on fresh fruit for a unique flavor combination, or on potatoes, onions, and legumes as in Chaat. You can make your own or purchase it at your favorite Indian store.
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