Summer vacations used to be long and most of them were usually spent at naani’s (maternal grandmother) house but as were stepped in to middle school, these vacations became shorter in span and later lesser in number. Reaching higher grades, the vacations were spent at home and most summer evenings were spent sitting in the courtyard of our house with birds chirping and light cool breeze providing some much needed respite from the heat. The neem tree in the adjoining house would host the parrots in the mornings and the koel in the evenings…oh those days and the joys of living in a small town. During those simple days, people usually preferred eating desi food. Such healthy foods they used to be! The snacks included a handful of roasted chickpeas or corn on cob roasted over a small pit fire. Snacks such as Paani Puri, Dahi Bhalle or Shakarkandi ki Chaat were very popular and we used to eat seasonal and local. A simple radish salad, during winters, with a sprinkle of Chaat Masala was much loved and so was thinly sliced cabbage, carrots and tomato salad with a dash of lemon and some salt and pepper sprinkled over it. Mom used to give a bowl of these salads to us before meals.
Looking back, I feel life was much more sorted then, than it is now. Our choices were few but we were so happy enjoying those simple pleasures of life. And why just happy, we were also much more healthy and strong than our kids at that age. The chickpea salad with potatoes was one such simple pleasure that we used to enjoy during summer evenings. The dressing was nothing fancy. The chaat/ salad was drizzled with some sweet and sour tamarind chutney and some chaat masala; a beautiful reminiscence of those simpler times 🙂
1 C Chickpeas (safed chana)
1 – 2 Green Chilies (adjust to taste)
¼ C finely chopped Onion
½ C finely diced Cucumber
Chaat Masala as required
Salt as required
Wash and soak the chickpeas (preferably) overnight in plenty of water. Pressure-cook it in two cups of water till it is done. (I cooked till two whistles escaped from the pressure cooker) Remove the chick peas from water. And keep aside.
Assemble the ingredients to prepare the chaat.
Add onions, cucumber and green chilies to the chickpeas. Mix everything together and drizzle the tamarind chutney over them. Mix again. Taste and add salt and chaat masala as required.
Serve in individual bowls or glasses.
Drizzle some more chutney over the individual serving and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Note: I added a little bit of coriander & mint chutney to the tamarind chutney.
Note: Feel free to add potatoes, tomatoes or any veggie of your choice to this salad.
Serves – 4
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