Spicy Corn Chaat With Tomato Chutney

In India, “chaat” is a word describing a category of food that hits almost every component that makes something crave-able—sweet, sour, tangy, spicy, and crunchy. Chaat is commonly a snack but is satisfying enough to take the place of lunch or dinner. This well-known street food can be served hot or cold and is typically sold roadside or from food carts. Chaat is incredibly popular not only in India, but in South Asia, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. This is my modern, slightly Americanized, spicy corn chaat with a flavorful tomato chutney and it is completely addictive.

How chaat got its name is somewhat unclear. Some say the word “chaat” originated from its literal meaning “to lick“. It was so delicious that people licked their fingers (and the bowl) made of peepal leaves, called “donas”, in which it is often served. Others think it originated from the term “chatpati” (meaning tangy). However, both of these are merely speculation.

corn chaat

Essential Chaat Elements

Some say there are over 500 different kinds of chaat, each with proper methods for how to actually eat them. But at its core, one thing with all chaat dishes remains the same: each chaat is a combination of a five essential elements, all of which contribute to creating an addictive blending of flavors and textures:

  • Base: This is usually a carb
  • Sauces: Commonly, cilantro-mint chutney and tamarind chutney
  • Crunch: Often spicy fried potato or chickpeas
  • Vegetables: Frequently, onions and tomatoes
  • Umami: Almost all chaat includes a chaat masala

corn chaat

Summer is corn season and although this is not a traditional chaat, it’s a flavorful fusion of Indian and Mexican elements I think you’ll adore. This easy-to-make spicy corn chaat makes a fantastic accompaniment to almost any warm-weather meal you can think up.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

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