Chaats: Roadside Snacks in Shivam

The Szechuan DahiPuri features a puri topped in yoghurt and szechuan sauce

Chaats are roadside snacks that originated throughout India that comes in different variations. They are usually savoury and, although usually made up of ingredients that are perceived to give you a full stomach (Think flour and potato), are surprisingly light in flavour.

You can find chaats all around Singapore in various Indian Restaurants. One such restaurant is Shivam, where they offer a substantial list of different chaats in their menu. They also have special chaats that are a fusion of Indian-Chinese inspiration.

The Szechuan DahiPuri features a puri topped in yoghurt and szechuan sauce

One of these chaats of Indian-Chinese inspiration is the Szechuan DahiPuri (S$8.50). The term “Dahi” means “yoghurt” while “Puri” is a term for deep fried bread.The dish is made up of mini puri shells. The shells are cracked and filled with stuffing of potatoes, chili powder, yoghurt, and sweet tamarind chutney. Therefore, “DahiPuri” is the combination of cracked deep fried bread filled with yoghurt.On top of those toppings, Szechuan sauce is introduced too. This gives the DahiPuri a unique sweet and spicy taste.

You can tweak the PaniPuri to the taste of your preference between spicy or sweet and sour

Similar to the Szechuan DahiPuri, the PaniPuri (S$7) is a unique chaat that involves mini puri shells too. These shells are also cracked and filled with potato, and topped with black beans. Then you pour a garnish of sweet and sour or spicy gravy to the liking of your taste. If you’d prefer spicy, you can pour more spicy gravy; and then you can do the same if you’d prefer a PaniPuri that’s more sweet and sour than spicy.

Some chaats are centred around “Aloo”, or potato

Some chaats involve potato as being the mainstay of the dishes. These chaats are named based on the word “Aloo”, meaning “potato”. The Aloo Chaat (S$8) is one such chaat involving potatoes as main subjects. The Aloo Chaat is basically a snack dish prepared by frying potatoes and then adding chutney and spices. Another Aloo based chaat is called the TikkiChaat (S$9). “Tikki” is a term referring to “croquette”. So it involves a mashed potato croquette topped in yoghurt and tamarind. These chaats are slightly heavier in their flavour and filling compared to the other chaats because they’re centred on potato as their mainstays; however, they are still considered snacks that you can have that are light starters before your main dishes.

Another chaat to feature is the BallaPapdiChaat (S$9). These chaats are prepared using “papri” – a crispy fried dough. These dough are topped with things like yoghurt and tamarind chutney.

The Bel Puri is a chaat made of sweet, crunch puffed deep fried rice cracker

Finally, we have the Bel Puri (S$8). Treat the Bel Puri like a light rice dish. It is a bowl of puffed, deep fried rice made of flour, with added vegetables, tamarind sauce, and potato. The Bel Puri is a dish you would definitely enjoy with spoonfuls in your mouth. The rice is like a sweet crunchy cracker with the tamarind sauce as its complement.

Chaats are great fast food snacks for tea time. They are dishes worth trying if you’ve not heard of them before; so be bold and head to an Indian Restaurant near you that serves various chaats – like Shivam Restaurant.

You can find these amazing street snacks at Shivam Restaurant, 87 Syed Alwi Road, S(207666), just right next to Mustafa Centre.

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