Prepared from chickpea as the main ingredient, the sticky, sweet and sour tamarind chutney that goes with it is the magic formula that provides a mouth-watering flavor. Garnished with chopped coriander, green chilies and onions and not forgetting the essential Chaat Masala without which the Chana Chaat remains incomplete. Chaat Masala is a blend of spices made pungent with black salt, dried mango powder as main ingredients.
The two basic variations of Chaat to be enjoyed in Pakistan are the Papri Chaat; a plate full of boiled chickpeas and cubed potatoes topped with a fried crispy bread like Papri dressed with a generous ladle of yogurt, tamarind chutney and a sprinkle of Chaat Masala. Mix Chaat is chickpea flour dumplings added with yogurt to the regular Chaana Chaat topped with all the garnishing and Chaat Masala.
The literal meaning of Chaat is ‘to lick’ in Urdu and means to finish the last remains of food from the plate.
The origin of Chana Chaat dates back to hundred of years when local peasants used chickpea as their staple food. To get rid of the bland flavor, they started adding various flavours to it and gradually the variations surfaced.
Chana Chaat is one of the essential snacks served at tea parties and is hot favourite as an afternoon snack. Wholesome and healthy, the popularity of Chana Chaat has grown by leaps and bounds and is no more limited to the road-side kiosks. It is now readily available at modern cafes across Pakistan.