Beetroot and cream cheese tikki, fennel chutney
Beetroot and cream cheese tikki, fennel chutney

Chaat’s modern makeover

Here’s how restaurants are playing around with street foods to treat the chaat-deprived people of Delhi
By Prerna Gauba | Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 24, 2020 08:51 PM IST

Delhiites know the importance of chaat. Be it bhel, golgappas or samosas, the burst of flavour is unmatched. However, owing to sanitisation issues, when many have been forced to abandon chaat corners, here’s how restaurants and cafes are trying to do justice to the original chaat experience.

“Street food is ordered much more frequently than the restaurant cuisines. So, it is essential to have it as a part of our menu. Our cafe is all about revamping regional Indian dishes,” says chef Saurabh Udinia of Farzi Cafe.

From pav bhaji fondue to tandoori momos and beetroot and cream cheese tikki served with fennel dip, restaurants offer an international fusion in every delicacy. However, chefs say they don’t want to compromise on the essence of chaat, and so play with the flavours in a limited manner. “With more and more young patrons hitting our restaurants, it has sort of become mandatory to include the dishes in our menu that stir nostalgia and bring back fond memories. We add a twist to the fillings of our cutlets and samosas. We have also introduced some tandoori chaats as well,” says Kanishk Tuteja of Nukkad Cafe & Bar.

Keeping the flavours simple, chef Mahabir of Made in Punjab also likes to experiment with chaat. He says, “One thing I always keep in mind while making chaat is that people don’t want to play much with the taste. So, we create unique chaat, where the essence of taste remains the same. One of our most loved chaat is golmaal samosa chaat that has crispy potato stuffed in dough. It is deep fried and topped with yogurt and in-house chutneys.”

Furthermore, some restaurants play with the chaat’s look and technique. “When we serve the same street dishes in our way, with a little twist in flavours and with modern cooking techniques to give it a new feel, it amazes everyone. Our street snack is different to look at. We make food more interesting, but when you bite into it, you realise it’s a snack that you have always loved since your childhood,” says chef Anas Qureshi of Molecule Space Bar.

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