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In winter, most markets around Delhi – which already has street vendors selling aloo tikki (potato cutlets with green and tamarind chutneys) and papri chaat, golgappas and stuffed pakoras and what not – get the addition of the sweet potato (shakarkandi) vendors. They have these massive roasted and smoked sweet potatoes which they cut up and mix with a huge amount of spices and lemon with a real flavour burst in your mouth. Now sweet potato is an acquired taste, many people don’t much care for it, but it being such a healthy and nutritious tuber, one really should be feeding it to their whole family on the regular in winter. They are not only rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre, but also have a low glycemic index (which doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels) and are great for weight loss. In India we get the purple skinned variety with a whitish flesh that’s not too sweet.
So how do you get this superfood into people’s tummies willingly? If you like a hit of spice, heat, tang, savoury, sweet and crunch in one bite, then this is a recipe you must try. My sweet potato tart and sweet potato croquettes are also a big hit with everyone who’s tasted them. One can do so much with this root vegetable, even turning it into a dessert. That’s something I plan to try out next as well as a soup, so watch this space! This sweet potato chaat is a very filling meal and is loaded with nutrition so it can be lunch or a large evening snack after which you can forgo dinner. It’s a great snack to give kids after school. Avoid eating this at night. All the lemon and masalas can cause acidity if you eat too much of it.
I can just keep on eating this stuff and surprisingly, my kids love it too (without the chillies for them of course). And don’t freak out about the amount of onion, masala, chilli and lemon and salt you need to add. The potato will soak it all up beautifully. Any less and it will taste bland, believe me. Make sure to dice the onions and especially the chilli very fine. You don’t want a big chunk of either of these in your mouth. They have to blend in beautifully. And DO NOT over-boil your potatoes else they will turn to mush! On those words of wisdom, I continue with the recipe.
Ingredients (Serves 5)
1 kg sweet potatoes
2 medium onions finely diced (approx 110 gms)
1 cup corn kernels (approx 145 gms)
1 tsp salt
3 heaped tsp chaat masala
1½ tsp roasted cumin (jeera) powder
1½ tsp black salt
2 fresh green chillies finely diced (less for less heat. Avoid for children)
6 tbsp lime juice
¼ cup coriander leaves roughly chopped
⅓ cup peanuts roasted and roughly crushed (approx 70 gms)
⅓ cup pomegranate (approx 70 gms)
Get Started (Pictorial steps below)
- Boil the sweet potatoes with their skins on and once cooked through, peel and dice them into 1 inch cubes. After peeling you would have approximately 750 to 800 gms of potato. Avoid over-boiling. You don’t want them turning to mush.
- Put the corn in boiling water for 2 minutes and remove.
- In a large bowl, add the corn, onions, salt, chaat masala, cumin, black salt, chillies and lime juice to the potatoes and mix well. DO NOT MASH. The potatoes will get slightly mashed on their own while mixing.
- Then mix the peanuts and the coriander leaves into the potatoes and check for seasoning. Add more of salt or lemon or masala if you wish and once satisfied, plate it onto your serving dish.
- Garnish with some more pomegranate seeds, coriander leaves and enjoy.