Chaat: A Holi Special Dish

Photo Courtesy: Veg Recipes of India

Holi is close-by and we all want to consume everything fried and greasy. Some of the major food without which Holi is incomplete include Kachoris, Gujiyas, Namakpare and Mathris. Although, the list of these delicious dishes is very large but chaat items like papdi and dahi bhalla have a unique place. Chaats are popular throughout the year but they become more popular during Holi festival. Although, chaats are popular throughout the year, they reach the peak of popularity in Holi. A typical Holi menu would surely consist of chaat. Yogurt is spread over bhallas and papdis and these are topped with masalas, pomegranate seeds and chutney. A chaat item can change our worst days into happy ones and Holi into a more colourful affair.

Photo Courtesy: Udtikhabar

The literal meaning of Chaat is “to lick”, and a nice plate of chaat attracts us to do the same. You will lick your fingers and the plate. There is a long list of chaats including aloo chaat, papri chaat, dahi bhalle, bedmi, dahi puri, phuchka, ragda patties, pav bhaji and bhel puri. The favourite food of all Indians is chaat and this affair is going to last long.

There have been many modifications to the recipe of Chaat. It has travelled to different parts of the country and has made a prominent place in Indian food culture. But chaat was not meant to be as delicious as it is in the present day. Chaat was originally invented for medicinal use. It has a long history of its transformation into present form.

Photo Courtesy: Carnival Munchies

The origins of Chaat are still unknown but some believe it originated in Bengal, some say it has its origins in Delhi and some say that chaat first originated in Uttar Pradesh.

According to a legend, the dish originated in the courts of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Mughal’s were known for their good taste in food and it is believed that chaats originated from their highly skilled masters in kitchens.

It is also believed that during the 18th century, a lot of people became sick because of food made using polluted water of Yamuna. It was during this time that chillies have entered the food scene of India. So, one of the Hakims advised the cooks to start making chaats. The chaats were prepared using chillies and spices which increased immunity and digestion.

Photo Courtesy: Twitter

So, this is the story of chaat. It has travelled from different parts of the country and got much attention. From Maharashtra to Delhi, Chaat has different variations that must be explored by everyone.

Chaat: Great Street Foods Of India

The Indian street foods are popularly known as “Chaat”. Chaat is a delicious snack with its sweet, crunchy, hot and tangy flavors. It is also an ideal alternative to regular meals.

Chaats have their origin in North India. They are wholesome and easy to prepare food. Chaats are prepared fresh and consumed immediately. Due to their sweet, tangy and hot taste, chaats are an addictive food. At any given day, you will find a great crowd, along the roadside enjoying Chaat at the Chaat stalls.

Chaat parties are a popular affair in India and around the world. There are many restaurants in USA that send a person to your home who will prepare fresh pani puri, bhel puri etc.

Chaat parties can be organised for large and small crowds. It is a good idea to include traditional desserts and sweets in this meal.

If you don’t want to prepare chutneys by yourself, you can get them from a grocery store. You can also get ready-made Bhel mix and Puris. You will also need to buy tomatoes, green chillies, onion, and coriander. You should chop all the vegetables beforehand. Before serving the chaat, you can add green chutney and tamarind chutney.

Here are some of the chaats that can be easily prepared:-

  • Bhel Puri: Bhel poori is a delicious snack made of rice. It is a very mouth-watering chaat.


  • Pani Puri: These semolina puris have filling of sprouts and mint flavoured water. This is a great snack in summer season.


  • Dahi Batata Puri: Dahi batata puri is a combination of tiny, crisp puris mixed with ragda, potatoes and topped with different curds and chutneys.


  • Pav Bhaji: A perfect street food that is a meal in itself. The bhaji is a spicy mix of vegetables with a tomato gravy. Bhaji is served with pav cooked in butter.


  • Chole Bhature/Puri: Bhatura/Puri goes well with Chole. The dish is best eaten immediately after preparation.


  • Ragda Patties: This is a complete meal in itself. It is very easy to cook and takes little time. The filling can be done with paneer, corn, french beans and beans.


History of Some Interesting Dishes of India

Indians love food. Every Indian likes to indulge in the guilty pleasure of rich food. We are a nation of diverse people with many differences. But food is one thing that unites us. Although the food of our nation is also diverse but it is enjoyed by everyone. It is also a fact that the cuisines of India vary with states.

In all these varying cuisines there are certain foods that you may wonder how they originated. And that is why we have collected some interesting dishes and their stories that you will find amusing.

  1. Biryani


The word ‘biryani’ comes from the Persian word ‘birian’ meaning ‘fried before cooking’. According to the legend, Mumtaz Mahal(1593-1631), while visiting the army barracks realized that the soldiers there were under-nourished. She ordered that a dish be made that can provide balanced nutrition. The chef prepared many dishes but Mumtaz liked biryani as it was a one pot complete meal.

Biryani Recipe

  1. Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken originated in New Delhi. It was introduced by Chef Simon Mahil Chahal in Moti Mahal restaurant. According to the legend, one night when the restaurant shut down, a VIP guest visited the restaurant and asked for a chicken dish. The chef realized that he had only half chicken tandoori in his stock. He decided to improvise on the dish and put in large amounts of butter, tomato and masalas and invented a new dish. The VIP guest was none other than the ruler of Mareelun and he loved the dish. And that’s how it became popular.

Butter Chicken Recipe

  1. Idli


The earliest origins of Idli is in ‘Vaddaradhane’ of 970 A.D. A story in which Idli is one of the eighteen dishes served to a Brahamchari. But, the recipe of making Idli is not present in the story.

If we dig a little deeper into history, we find our answers. The Chinese historian Xuang Zang claims that India had no steaming containers. But around 800-1200 AD, the Hindu Indonesian Kings brought with them, the methods of steaming and fermentation. They gave birth to a unique dish called Kedli in South India which resulted in the formation of Idli.

  1. Sambar


Although Idli was created a long time back, Sambar came into the scene much later. It was in the 18th century that a dish called amti was created in the kitchen of the ruler Shahuji of Thanjavur. It was a very special dish as it contained kokum as one of its ingredients. One season, the kokum ran out of supply. Everyone was thinking what to do when an advisor of the court advised that tamarind pulp should be used instead of kokum to maintain sour taste. So, a dish was made which contained vegetables, tuvar dal, spices and the pulp of tamarind. The dish was served to Shahuji’s cousin Sambhaji. Everyone loved the dish and it was named Sambhar after the name of the guest Sambhaji.

Sambar Recipe

  1. Paneer


Most Indian dishes contain Paneer. The list of dishes is endless, starting from Shahi Paneer to Palak Paneer. But, it is known to few that Paneer was invented by accident. Once, the Mongols were on a trip on their horses. They were travelling with Mushkis(bags of raw-hyde) which contained milk. Due to the rennet of leather and the dessert heat made Paneer out of the milk. The Mongols found the Paneer to be very delicious. In the years that followed, this ingredient was brought to India and it was an instant hit.

Try these Paneer recipes:-

Shahi Paneer Recipe

Paneer Lababdar Recipe

Palak Paneer Recipe

  1. Samosa


One of the most famous snack in India today is samosa. But, do you know about its origins? It originated from Central Asia. According to legend, the traders from different parts of the world traveled to India using Central Asian trade routes. They could not carry heavy food so they cooked small triangles that were filled with mince. These were easy to make and carry and could be eaten anytime. When this dish came to India, it was a big hit and Samosa became a staple snack for kings and commoners alike.

Samosa Recipe


  1. Pav Bhaji


The origins of Pav Bhaji are in the city of Mumbai. A local vendor came up with this dish after realizing the problems of daily mill workers. The workers had a very short meal break. They had to do rigorous physical labor after these mini breaks. So, a light lunch was needed. So, the local vendor created a dish with leftovers of other dishes. The roti and rice was substituted with Pav. And the curries were converted into a spicy mixture called ‘bhaji’. The dish became very popular and is loved by all.

Pav Bhaji Recipe

  1. Vada Pav
Photo Courtesy: Raks Kitchen

Photo Courtesy: Raks Kitchen

Like Pav Bhaji, Vada Pav was also created in Bombay. The dish was created by Ashok Vaidya, who was a snack vendor outside Dadar station. Dadar is a major hub for commuters and a very important station. Vaidya, very innovatively came up with this recipe so that the commuters can eat on the go. The dish was served with fiery red chutney made up of peanuts, coconuts, garlic, chilli and tamarind. This was in 1971 and the dish is still very popular in Bombay and all over India

Vada Pav Recipe

  1. Kebabs


Kebabs are very popular in the Middle East and also loved by Indians. It was invented in the Medieval Era of Turkey. According to the legend the travelling soldiers wanted to save meat and that is why they cut small pieces of meat, grilled them and ate them with bread. The dish has become popular all over the world today.

Kebab Recipe

  1. Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori Chicken

The same restaurant that gave us Butter Chicken, gave us Tandoori Chicken. It was at Moti Mahal Delux, that the dish was invented by the Chef Kundan Lal Gujral. The chef always tried to experiment with dishes. He loved his tandoor and as an experiment, he took some chicken, applied spices and put it in tandoor. The resulting dish was so good that even Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (First Prime Minister of India) liked it. Later, the dish was prepared for many Indian dignitaries like Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, King of Nepal, Shah of Iran etc.

Tandoori Chicken Recipe