Chaats are Indian appetizers and snacks, found widely all throughout India at casual restaurants, street stands, and parties. Outside India, chaats can be a little harder to find, although in places with a large Indian community, restaurants, which specialize in chaat, are common. Both in India and overseas, many people are fond of chaat, which is nearly like fast food in India. Chaat is generally tasty, easy to eat using the hands, and incredibly different with choices for everyone from devout to vegan Hindus.
Chaat means ‘to taste’ in Hindi, and most of it are small dishes. People can create chaat by combining numbers of dishes or just one for a snack. Chaat took advantage of the variety of spices available in India ranging from spiced crisp breads called puris to a very spicy parathas or stuffed bread which may be filled with almost anything.
Like most Indian cuisine, chaat is varied dish. Most Indian region has their own specialties of chaat, which is very hard to find in other Indian places and some are limited to specific districts within Indian provinces and cities. A typical chaat-stand serves its dish on banana leaves or disposable plates, some are placed in a paper wrap for convenience coupled with loads of napkins to customers.
Deep-fry is the most common method of preparation of most chaat dishes, such as samosas and parokas, and they may be savory and sweet. Designed as finger food, eating chaat can be a messy and noisy experience. Many chaats are made stuffed in bread, while others go with side bread that is used to scoop up the chaat. Wide variety of dipping sauces like spicy ground chili dips or yogurt raita are served with chaat, along with various garnishes and relishes.
A classic chaat stand in India may focus in only one or two items that are prepared fresh to order. Bigger establishments like sit-down eateries may have different chaats to offer, along with traditional drinks of India such as lassi. Chaat can also be home made, either as a separate meal of mixed chaats or in the shape of appetizers for a bigger Indian meal.