Friday, August 12, 2011

SBDP or Sev Batata Dahi Puri - anytime delight!

Chaat is that Indian delight which can awaken your senses any time of the day, month or the year, whether its sweltering heat outside or a snowy blizzard. It has several taste elements such as hot, sour, sweet, salty and is probably an acquired taste. I remember eating bhel and pani puri even as a kid, with eyes and nose streaming but still enjoying the experience. It's always been something of a forbidden delight, since it is readily available by the roadside, is very tempting and a complete cleanliness/hygeine disaster. Chaat is made up of a myraid of simple ingredients that are mixed together in various proportions, by hand!!

With an iron will to overcome aching tummies and infections, my mom took over making this stuff at home a long time ago. And over the years, we have added to our chaat repertiore. The SBDP is a popular name mostly in western Maharashtra, and is called Sev puri or dahi puri elsewhere in the country, depending on how many things are added. Sev is fried chickpea flour noodles, available anywhere, Batata or potato is your typical boiled spud, Dahi is of course yogurt, and Puris are small deep fried hollow - puris. All these are readily available in India of course, and in any Indian grocery store in the US.

There are a lot of small ingredients that make up this whole dish. You absolutely need Chat masala ( black salt giving the unique flavor here), unless you make your own. Everest, MDH, Badshash are some of the popular brands. I would stay away from Shan here.

You will need an optional or highly recommended green chutney, which is mostly cilantro/coriander with chili, and gives color and heat.

The Date-tamarind chutney will add a sweet and sour component and is an essential ingredient. Its easy to make this from scratch and store it in a jar in your fridge, or you can safely go with Deep brand Tamarind-date chutney. Several other brands like Swad etc. also offer this. Deep frozen foods also has a coriander/cilantro chutney that you can buy and use here.

Once you have all your stuff lined up assembly line style, its easy to put this together. Unless you are up to speed here, I recommend only plating 3-4 at a time so that they don't go too soft and lose their crunch. The detailed method is as follows. I have tried to post step by step photos as much as possible.

Ingredients -

Ready made round puris - 25-50 or more

3-4 boiled medium potatoes

Sev - thin and plain salted only

plain yogurt - 1 lb

sugar, cayenne, chat masala to taste

Garnish -

1 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

Tamarind-date chutney -

1/2 cup dry tamarind

1 cup chopped dates

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

salt to taste

sugar/brown sugar if needed

Greeen chutney -

1 bunch cilantro

1/2 deseeded jalapeno or serrano

salt to taste

pinch of sugar

1/2 lime or lemon squeezed

Method -

1) Boil and mash potatoes. Add a dash of cayenne and salt to season them per choice. Keep this aside.

2) For the yogurt mix - Make this beforehand, as this will taste better when very cold. Take a container, at least the 1 lb one of your favourite low fat PLAIN yogurt. The fat free ones are very sour and the full fat can be too heavy taking away from the taste, so I recommend low fat for this. Add salt to taste, and enough sugar - yes, plain white sugar- to make it sweet. Whisk this or beat it with a fork to make a smooth mixture and set aside. Please do not use a stick blender etc.

Refrigerate this!

3) For the green chutney - Blend cilantro, chili, salt, sugar and lemon juice in a blender or a food processor until you have a fine paste. This need not be very liquid. You will need very little of this anyway.

4) For the Tamarind - date chutney -

4.1) Soak the tamarind for some time in hot water. Remove all seeds and other fibre type matter.

4.2) Soak the dates in warm water.

4.3) After the above two are soft enough to brave your blender, blend them together and transfer to a small stock pot.

4.4) Add the salt, cumin, cayenne and bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly syrupy or until it coats the back of a spoon. Taste it and add some jaggery/brown sugar/sugar per your taste. This should taste sweetish but still have the tang of tamarind.

Alternate crude method -

This is my latest favourite. Dump all ingredients in a pot. Add enough water to cover it. Bring to a boil and let simmer. Add more water if needed. Eventually the dates dissolve and everything comes together. Then just strain it and your chutney is ready!

You can store this chutney in a jar/container and keep it in a fridge for a week or two, or even better, Freeze it.

Note -- Please take care that this cold at the time of assembling the main dish. If you have just made it, add some ice cubes to bring down the temperature, or pop in the freezer for a few minutes.

5) Have your sev ready in a bowl or container. This is the easiest thing, you just have to pour it out of a packet :).

6) Now to assemble the whole thing -

If you have those fancy ketchup/mustard type bottles with spouts, you can now fill 3 of these with green chutney, tamarind chutney and yogurt each. I used an old fashioned spoon. Its OK to be sloppy here!

6.1) Take 3-4 puris in a small plate. Pierce them with your thumb to break Only the top part. You might destroy a few before you 'get it'.

6.2) Add a little - 1 tsp - of potato mixture to each puri.

6.3) Add some sev.

6.4) Add some green chutney - a dab - or a sprinkle of cayenne.

6.5) Add some tamarind chutney.

6.6) Ladle in the yogurt mixture until the 'puri' is full.

6.7) Now sprinkle more sev, yogourt, green/tamarind chutneys over the top.

6.8) Garnish with chopped onion and cilantro.

6.9) Sprinkle loads of chaat masala and cayenne if you want more heat.

7) Hand this over, unselfishly, to the first person in line drooling over it and start making another batch. Await your turn patiently until you get to taste some.

Sev puri or Dahi sev puri or SBDP or SPDP - anything you call it, is a great pick-me-up that is sure to bring a smile to your lips. This can easily be assembled by using maximum store bought ingredients.

If you are someone who has never ventured into the 'chaat' arena of Indian cuisine, I urge you to try this simple wonder. Bon Appetit!


Anonymous said...

I've never made chaat before. Only tasted it 2 years ago and have loved it ever since. Not a huge fan of restaurant chaats, so thank you for sharing these step by step recipe :)

KamalKitchen said...

Thanks for your simply must try this at home..maybe with all store bought stuff initially..but its worth the effort!!