Nung bagong salta ko dito sa Dubai, lagi ko nakikita mga Indians nakapila sa labas ng restaurants na parang may hinihintay. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, “sa Pinas Mega Lotto lang may pilang ganto. Ano kaya yon?”. Nakita ko yung mga maliliit na crispy balls. Parang malaking squid balls pero ampaw ang style… hangin lang loob. So lalo ako nacurious… gusto ko try kaya lang natatakot ako. Fast forward after 2 years, I gained friends of different nationalities. An Indian friend was willing to give me an introduction to Indian cuisine. They call those crispy bubbles… CHAAT.
What is Chaat?
Chaat is an Indian snack typically served in the roadside or food stalls. They have various types of chaat but what I have always been curious with are those crispy balls I see in Karama. I was wondering, is that like fish ball or kwek-kwek? I had never had the courage to order because I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what the names are, so how can I google them as well? Yeah, I was scared to ask/try as I have always thought Indian food as spicy.
One coldish night in Dubai, I got the courage to try Chaat. With the help of my friend and the very attentive servers of Rangoli I had my first chaat. I am so excited because finally I get to try those crispy balls!
So I had 2 chaats. First was Pani Puri, pani means water and puri are those crispy balls. Second is Sev Puri. Sev is those small yellow crispies(mukhang pagkain ng ibon)and the puri used for Sev Puri is flat like a small Wonder Boy. My friend always tells the servers tikkha cum which means medium spicy. That’s what I like about Indian restaurants, they are considerate of their guest. They will prepare the dish according to your level of spiciness tolerance. As a Filipino, my spicy tolerance is not as high as Indians. If I were from Bicol then I can tolerate it, but I am from Metro Manila. Sooo yeah… loser on spicy food .
Pani Puri was served differently since this is my first it was served at our table and we have to prepare it ourselves or as what hipsters call it, “deconstructed” pani puri. (I will post my experience on Pani Puri eating it on the side streets soon). I like it, the sweetness and spiciness are at war you won’t know if its spicy or sweet. I like it that way… complicated #hugot . Sev Puri was also good. I like it better than Pani Puri. There are more flavors and textures in Sev Puri. The crispiness of the sev and puri, tanginess of the onion, sweet sour taste of the tomato, and unique blend of spices of the chutney. One downside of these two chaats though, you cannot eat it on a first date, because you have to eat the pani whole, shove it in your mouth. So expect it to be messy. Unless you find messy, sexy… then puri is life for you. Lol All in all I like the experience and I will definitely be back.
Other chaats I have tried are dhokla and ragda pattice.