Home World Cuisine Making Aloo Chaat Can Be Easy With Tater Tots

Making Aloo Chaat Can Be Easy With Tater Tots

by 9999biz.com
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Chaat was one of the highlights of my weekends growing up. On the few nights when none of us had plans, my mom would boil, peel, mash, and shape potatoes into medium-spheres to make aloo chaat. Or she’d fry up murukkus from scratch with a brass crank we brought back from India. Just before assembling the chaat into its serving platter, she’d brew piping hot chai, and we’d sit around having a Desi-style weekend high tea. It was the best way to spend a languid, lazy Sunday afternoon.

While I often find myself craving that version from my childhood, and there are countless ways to make chaat dating back to the 16th century, an updated version utilizes a glorious frozen food: tater tots. Yes, there are many ways to make potato chaat. But my favorite way is to use a five-dollar bag of frozen tater tots. The biggest reason for using these as an ingredient in chaat is to save effort.

For traditional chaat, you’re often peeling, dicing, then boiling potatoes until they’re soft. For some versions, like the one my mom used to make, you boil potatoes, peel them, mash them, form them into balls, and fry them. By using tater tots, you’re skipping all of those steps. You just pop them in your oven or air fryer and crisp them up a little longer than the package instructions tell you to. If you’re like me, and have bottled chutneys at the ready, you’re even closer to having this snack when the craving calls. It can be as simple as frying up some tots, adding sauces, and topping them with some onions, sev, and cilantro or mint. It takes care of a daunting task that often stops me from making chaat from scratch.

The next reason to use tots is for flavor. Because tots are essentially grated potatoes that have been shaped, formed, and frozen into little nuggets, the crevices and surface area are basically made to soak up flavors. If you’ve never seasoned your own tots, this is your sign. Tossing them in a ghee-bloomed spice mix is going to give them that extra flavor and dimension. Seasoning them yourself also gives a visual appeal because you can see all the turmeric and chaat masala speckles. But be careful, seasoned tots might disappear before you assemble your chaat because they taste so good on their own.

Once your tots are cooked and seasoned, take a plate or serving platter and spoon yogurt sauce on the bottom as the base. This will help keep the tots from going soggy too quickly because the rest of the goods get spread on top. Drizzle over your mint chutney and tamarind chutney. You can make them from scratch, but it’s also perfectly fine to use store-bought versions to make your chaat dreams a little more attainable. Sprinkle some pomegranate arils, hand-torn mint and cilantro, chopped red onion, and crunchy sev.

I love chaat because of the way it mixes opposites together—fiery mint chutney with tangy sweet tamarind chutney, hot potatoes with cooling yogurt, crunchy sev and pillowy potatoes. Tater tots add to that mix of texture and increase structural integrity. By starting with crispy, crunchy tots, you’re able to layer on the chutneys, yogurt sauce, and toppings without having to worry about the potatoes going soft too quickly. That makes it easy to serve this in a large format for March Madness games, your next movie night, or for dinner. The tots can keep their crisp for a good 20 minutes or so without going soggy.

If you’re still not convinced, my final argument for using these frozen spuds is: tater tot chaat is fun to say. Say it 10 times fast, and you’ll start singing (and craving) it.

Tater Tot Chaat in a platter topped with fresh mint cilantro and pomegranate seeds.

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