Call it a salad or a chaat. It is a popular street food in north of India. Street vendors selling pepped up shakarkand or sweet potatoes, paired with star fruit is a common sight during autumn and all through winters. Their chaat has a sprinkle of chaat masala, red chili powder, salt and a generous dash of lemon. Sweet potatoes, as their name suggests, are sweeter than potatoes and therefore require something tangy and spicy to pep them up and what better way than to have them with a sweet, sour and spicy tamarind chutney. Sweet potatoes have the goodness of antioxidants, they are rich in dietary fibres and help with constipation. They have carotenoids which help in producing Vitamin A. They are good for diabetics and help those with respiratory problems. This humble root has many health benefits and deserves to be included more in our diets.
My Mom used to serve this chaat almost every weekend as soon as the sweet potatoes used to hit the markets. It was our evening snack – it is tasty, healthy and keeps the appetite gratified till it is time for dinner. Though I am not too fond of sweet potatoes but this is one way that I love to devour them. More over there is not much work to do to make this chaat. For the tamarind chutney you can either make fresh chutney or you can procure a ready-made pack of tamarind chutney. Or use tamarind paste, add the required ingredients, give a boil or two, strain it and the chutney is ready. Personally, I prefer making the chutney from scratch because it tastes way better than the store brought one. I decreased the amount of palm jaggery to my recipe for the Tamarind Chutney to adjust the sourness and make it sweet and sour. Another way to add sourness is to add the lemon juice just as the street vendors do it. As I said earlier, they add star fruit to perhaps balance the sweetness of sweet potatoes. The idea is to strike a balance of flavors. I have seen people adding apples, cucumbers, carrots, onion, etc to it. Play along with what you would like to add and enjoy 🙂
This is what you need:
½ kg sweet potatoes
1 medium bowl tamarind chutney (not thin in consistency, since the moisture from sweet potatoes will loosen it)
Chili Powder (as per taste)
1 tbsp Chaat Masala
Rocket Salt (Sendha Namak) or regular Salt to taste
2 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander
Boil the sweet potatoes till they firm yet cooked. (if cooking in pressure cooker, cook till one whistle escapes and then immediately open the pressure cooker and drain hot water and add cold water to stop the process of cooking any further)
Once they are cool enough to handle, peel them and cut them into bite size pieces.
Sprinkle them with salt and chillies (I do this quite generously!) You can also add chaat masala along with salt and chillies if you wish.
Adjust the amount of chutney by gradually pouring some amount over the sweet potatoes and if required add more.
Give them a good mix and keep them aside for 2 minutes and then serve. This way the tamarind gets well assimilate with the sweet potatoes and coats well.
Note: Feel free to add fruits of your choice along with green chilies to the sweet potatoes.
Serves – 4
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