Kachalu Chaat is no less than a delicacy in our family.No formal lunch/dinner is complete without Kachalu chaat. We may have an array of vegetables spread on the dining table but it is still incomplete without Kachalu, Dahi Bhalla, Hari Chutney and Meethi chutney. Especially during festivals, these are must to be there in the refrigerator. And since its shelf life is long, easily up to 15 days in the refrigerator, thus it is available most of the time.
Spicy, tangy Kachalu chaat is a delicacy of Old Delhi. Unlike other Chaat, this has only and only Kachalu with lots of spices. The Kachalu Chaat, I am sharing with you is more of an accompaniment. It is eaten along with Chaat items or with veggies. You can have it in your meals or with Dahi Bhalla or with Kalmi Vada or Papdi Chaat or Raj Kachori. It adds a zing to the food.
In our family, everybody is Kachalu fan, except my sons as they don’t like spicy food. In weddings, during the festive season, you will find this in most of the families especially if they belonged to Old Delhi.
My mom, Lakshmi Gupta, is super famous for her Kachalu. Though a simple recipe yet the taste, colour and flavour of Kachalu made by her are unmatched. This is also because of the fact that she makes them wholeheartedly and painstakingly. Yes, when I say painstakingly, I mean it and you will agree with me later after going through the recipe.
I follow her recipe only and make Kachalu exactly like hers. But before seeing the recipe, a few points are worth noting.
First is that though you need boiled Kachalu for this recipe but they should be firm and not overdone. To avoid getting too soft my mom boils them in a vessel instead of the pressure cooker. Boil water in a vessel, add Kachalu and let them boil. It takes almost half an hour. Once done, take out from the water and let them cool. However, I have started roasting these in air fryer and they come out perfect.
Next important step is cutting the Kachalu. If you want, typical ‘halwai’ style Kachalu then you need to cut these into thin slices. If the Kachalu is over-boiled then thin slices are not possible. So, take care that they are just firm.
Last but not the least, Kachalu, though belong to the potato family only but are entirely different. They are also different from Ratalu. Ratalu is longish whereas Kachalu is round in shape. Your veggies vendor may say that they are the same thing but actually, it is not. So, please buy Kachalu only, as shown in the pic below.
Now, let’s see the recipe of Kachalu Chaat…
500 g Kachalu
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Rock Salt
1 tablepoon Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder (Degi Lal Mirch)
2 tablepoon Dried Mango Powder (Amchoor)
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper Powder
1 teaspoon Roasted Cumin Powder
2 Black Cardamom, Coarsely Crushed
1 teaspoon Green Chillies, Chopped Finely
1 teaspoon Ginger Julienne
1/4 teaspoon Nausadar (Optional)
Pinch of Asafoetida (Optional)
- Boil Kachalu either in boiling water or roast in air fryer/Otg. It takes 30 minutes in air fryer. For roasting them in air fryer, simply put washed kachalu in the air fryer basket at the highest temperature. Run it for 30 minutes. Insert a knife to check if they are done. If the knife goes easily this means that the kachalu are boiled.
- Mix dried mango powder, red chilli powder with roughly 2 cups of water and keep it aside.
- When slightly cool, peel off the skin and cut into thin slices.
- Now, add all the spices, green chillies, ginger julienne, lemon juice and the dried mango powder plus red chilli powder water.
- Toss with light hands using a spatula.
- You will see a lot of water at this stage but don’t worry, cover it and keep it for few hours. By then, Kachalu will absorb most of the water and you will have yummy spicy Kachalu Chaat.
- Remains good for upto a week in the refrigerator. Always keep them covered to avoid drying up.
- Serving ideas: With lunch/dinner, With Bhalla Papdi Chaat, With Matthi.
- Do not try to toss this Chaat before adding spiced water else you may end up smashing the thin kachalu slices.
- Avoid adding plain water.
- Adjust spices as per your liking.
- Use Kashmiri red chilli powder only as these are less spicy with more of colour.
- I use Nausadar but since it is not easily available you can skip this also.
- This Chaat tastes best the next day as spices are fully absorbed by then.
Make these 2 days ahead to enjoy the real flavour.
So, if you have a taste for spicy food then do try it out. Of course, you can reduce the chilli powder as per your liking. I would love to have your comments and feedback as you know your feedback fuels my enthusiasm to post more good content. If you post your creation’s pic on Instagram then remember to tag me #samirasrecipediary. Also, like my FB page to know about my latest recipes.