THEME: #168 CHAAT PARTY FOR DIWALI
With Diwali, the Festival of Lights, comes not only the poojas and visits to the temples but also party time. Years ago our Diwali was marked with what we back then called ‘jaman’ meaning a meal. Diwali jaman was always at our place and it would be the traditional Gujarati fare with Gur na ladwa, 1 green vegetable, 1 sabji with a gravy and potato sabji, with two farsans like kachori, samosa, arvi na paan or dhokra. And not forgetting the dal, rice, pickles, papad, salad. Though that was a lot of hard work trying to feed around 20 -25 people, we all would look forward to this auspicious day.
Nowadays gone are the traditional jamans at my home and its been replaced by night dinners or parties. After Diwali festivities are over, that’s when I invite friends and family to my home. That means they usually want me to make something different. It can be Italian, Mexican, Chinese, South Indian or a variety of chaats.
I find making chaats for Diwali parties especially as starters just sets the right tone for a successful party. If the tongue is not tantalized at the beginning of a party, then the mood tends to fizzle out. Some may say that the music is the most important, but lets face it people, khana achha nahi hua(if the food is not good) then the party is dead. When parties are not the sit down at the table affair then its best to have a variety of chaats as people can walk around, stand around etc and enjoy food. Making chaats may seem like a lot of work but there are lots of things that can be prepared or bought ahead. Chutneys can be frozen, make or buy sev, papdis, puris, boondis etc. I’ve even boiled chickpeas and sprouted moong a day ahead and kept it in the fridge. Pani for the pani puri is definitely made a few days ahead as that gives the spices to sort of do their job to make a lip smacking pani. On the day of the party only things like potatoes are boiled or bhallas are made, all depending on what you’ve planned to make. And hey things like chutneys, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, moong are all common for most of the chaats.
I’m so glad that Vidya who blogs at MasalaChilli suggested that we make chaat for Diwali party. It can be normal, mini whichever way we wanted to make it. By the way please take some time to visit Vidya’s blog for traditional regional dishes.
This theme has given me the opportunity to do ‘a trail run’ of the chaat I had in mind- Chinese Bhel. I’ve not tasted this bhel in India but I hear its pretty famous as street food in Mumbai. However, on several occasions I’ve tasted it in Mombasa, at parties. It is quite different from the normal chaats that we know of.
Chinese bhel has got the crunch, the chatpata taste and the ‘I want some more’ factor which is common for all chaats. The usual Chinese Bhel is made using fried noodles, cabbage and carrot. I’ve used different vegetables to make it more interesting and its a great way to add a variety too. For the party feel, I served it glasses, but feel free to serve it in small bowls or normal sized bowls.
Lets make this coming Diwali not only pollution free.. smoke wise but also make a conscious effort not to use plastic plates, glasses, forks, spoons, knives, straws, etc. Say NO to fireworks and plastic this Diwali.
So lets get right to the recipe and feel free to add your choice of vegetables. Hubby suggested that I should make more sauce, (the one added to the stir fry) to keep on the side as some people may want the bhel a bit more wet. I also would suggest that leave some fried noodles on the side so that if anyone wants more crunch in their bhel they can add them.
4 small servings or 2 big ones
1½ cups fried noodles
2 tbsp chickpea flour (besan, chana flour)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp sesame seed oil
1 cup peeled and grated carrot
1 cup grated broccoli
½ cup cooked sweet corn
½ cup bean sprouts
½ red pepper, finely chopped
½ cup spring onion – green part, chopped
¼ cup white part of spring onion, chopped
2 – 3 tsp schezwan sauce
2 – 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper powder
2-3 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2-3 tbsp pomegranate arils (dadam)
2 – 3 tbsp roasted peanuts,chopped
oil for deep frying
- First boil the noodles as per the instruction on the packet.
- Drain out the water and let the noodles cool down completely.
- Heat oil for deep frying in a pan or karai over medium heat.
- Sprinkle the chickpea flour over the noodles and mix gently with your hands so that the noodles get coated with the flour.
- When the oil is hot fry the noodles in small batches till it becomes crispy.
- Put the fried noodles on a kitchen towel so that it absorbs the extra oil.
- Mix tomato ketchup, water, schezwan sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
- Heat both oils in a wide pan or wok over high heat.
- Add the grated carrot, broccoli, bean sprouts, red pepper, white part of the spring onions and corn.
- Stir fry the vegetables on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Add the roasted peanuts, the green part of the spring onion and the sauce mixture.
- Mix well.
- crush the noodles slightly and add to the vegetable mixture.
- Mix well. Spoon it into serving bowls and garnish with chopped coriander and pomegranate seeds.
- Serve with schezwan sauce on the side.
- Generally shredded cabbage is used but I decided to use broccoli.
- Use vegetables of your choice.
- Adjust the amount of schezwan sauce according to your taste.
- The fried noodles tend to stay a bit crispy for a long time, however its best to mix the noodles into the vegetables just 5-10 minutes before serving.
- Stir fry the vegetables ahead but do not add the sauce till required.
- Don’t reduce the amount of oil used. Its the oil that helps to retain the colour of the vegetables.
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