This dish is a typical Delhi street vendor dish. Palak chaat is made from crispy fried spinach leaves and chaat dressings.
To make this dish successfully you need to make sure you cook the batter-coated spinach leaves sufficiently. This is one of the few recipes where over-cooked is better than under-cooked. The leaves and batter should be crisp and crunchy. Cook it too little and you will end up with soggy batter and limp leaves.
If you get the leaves crisp and crunchy, the rest of the chaat dressings will just lift the dish. The use of rice flour in the batter will help make it crunchy.
This is great finger food or a wonderful starter. To prepare as finger food, dress each spinach leaf individually and place on a platter. For a starter, place the leaves in a bowl then layer up the dressings.
We use papadoms, rather than the more traditional papdi, to top the dish. Given that papdi are small crisp fried puris, which are made from wheat flour and not suitable for gluten-intolerant people, the substitution of papadoms does work well in our case. Papdi can be obtained from good Indian grocers.
Serve warm, but not too hot
for the spinach
for the chaat
- 3 tbsp green chutney - (see recipe)
- 3 tbsp tamarind and date chutney
- 1 red onion - finely chopped
- 1 tomato - pulp removed and finely diced
- ½ tsp chaat masala - (see recipe)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds - toasted and ground
- ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
- ½ tsp black salt
- 1 cup sev - (see notes)
- 4 papadoms - cooked
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ cup coriander leaves - coarsely chopped
for the yoghurt sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt, ground cumin seeds, jaggery and salt. Cover and refrigerate.
for the spinach
- Place the chickpea flour, turmeric, asafoetida, chilli powder, ground fennel seeds, carom seeds, salt and rice flour in a bowl and mix well. Add 100ml water and mix to a smooth batter.
- Heat the oil in a kadai or wok and when hot, dip each spinach leaf into the batter, shake off the excess and drop into the oil. Do the leaves in several batches, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan and allow the leaves to attach to one another. The leaves are done when golden and crisp. Make sure to remove any leftover batter pieces between batches to avoid burning.
- When cooked, place leaves on absorbent paper to drain the oil.
for the chaat
- Place the fried leaves on a serving plate.
- Drizzle the green chutney and tamarind chutney over the leaves.
- Sprinkle the chopped onion and tomato over the dish.
- Drizzle the yogurt sauce over the dish, then sprinkle with chaat masala, ground cumin seeds, chilli powder and black salt.
- Top with the sev and crushed papadoms. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped coriander leaves and serve.
- sev are fried chickpea flour noodles and are readily available from good Indian grocers.
- You should use papdi rather papadoms for this recipe. We use papadoms, given our household’s gluten intolerance. Papdi are small crisp puris and can be obtained from good Indian grocers.