My memories of the food I ate growing up are distinct. And while many of them come straight from my mother’s kitchen, a handful of my favorite food moments are from the Indian restaurants and grocery stores that my family has been frequenting since before I was born.
After spending an hour in the car driving from one end of Houston to the other while on the quest to go to the only grocery stores my parents knew would carry the ingredients they needed for their Indian dishes – think spices galore, vegetables you most definitely wouldn’t find at the neighborhood grocery, kesar mangos, and kulfis – my brother and I would be on the brink of a hangry meltdown. Hey, whether you’re eight or twenty five, after spending hours going from store to store with your parents, you’re in dire need of sustenance. In exchange for our patience (or as close to it as we could get), the four of us would make our way to Raja Sweets, where my parents would order a selection of sweets for us to bring home while simultaneously ordering our craving of the day.
While those days are few and far between now that I don’t live in Houston, those times that I am back home are made complete by treating myself to the samosa chaat from that same restaurant when I am back.
There’s something so amazingly perfect about the funky, savory, sweet combo that comes from samosa chaat. The party of textures takes the whole plate to the next level with the crisp edges of the deep fried samosa, the chew of the potatoes, and creaminess of the yogurt and chutney’s.
You better believe I’d run all my mother’s errands for hours in exchange for sitting in that restaurant corner and dripping chutney everywhere.
Sadly, not only do I live a thousand miles from that restaurant’s samosa chaat, fried samosas and sugar-laden chutney’s are also not a part of my everyday meal plan. So when the craving for that ultra-savory dish hits, I’ve devised a “healthier” version that gets me through my next trip back home.
So let’s get back to basics – samosa chaat is essentially just a plate that uses a fresh samosa as the base, and then the whole thing gets topped with all the good things like chutney, fresh herbs, ginger, yogurt, and chaat masala.
Chaat masala is one spice blend that I really do think you should add to your cabinet – here’s all the ways I’ve used chaat masala, and even if you’re not using the spice blend in a recipe, I’m obsessed with sprinkling it over fresh fruits for a sweet and savory combo, and even using it on avocado toast. Everything But the Bagel seasoning is totally second place to chaat masala for me when it comes to my avocado toast game.
So instead of eating a whole samosa, I used sweet potato fries as my base to fill that potato void and get a little of the crispiness that you would get from a crusty samosa but without the deep fryer. You could use regular potato fries, baked fries, deep fried fries, pre-packaged from the freezer aisle fries, you name it! The rest is a blank canvas that is totally up to you to customize! I like creating a spread on a sheet tray or flat serving dish and piling everything up like nachos, letting everyone get a little messy and share the whole thing.
It’s quick and easy, and even if you don’t add all the frills, once you add chaat masala onto your fries, you may never go back.
- 2 - 3 large sweet potatoes, cut into French fry strips about 1/3 inch wide and 3-4 inches long
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp of chaat masala depending on your flavor preferences
- for topping :: yogurt, mint, cilantro, red onions, tamarind chutney, tomatoes, jalapeños, lime for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, add the cut sweet potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Toss until evenly coated and then arrange into an even layer on the lined sheet tray.
- Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until baked and the fries have taken on some color, flipping halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for about 2 minutes, then sprinkle on the chaat masala. Toss the fries in the spice until even coated.
- To serve, place the coated fries on a serving dish and top with ingredients of choice. Enjoy!