Palak Chaat

23 Sep

Palak Chaat

I recently had the pleasure of dining at Rasika, a very popular DC Indian restaurant, and trying their famous palak chaat. This dish is an amazing medley of textures and flavors, with crispy spinach playing off a sour-sweet chutney and sweetened yogurt, and I knew almost immediately that I had to try my best to recreate it. I’ve dedicated this week to a series of posts on recreating all the pieces of Rasika’s palak chaat. This post is the third in a series of three. See post 1: Chaat Masala and post 2: Date Tamarind Chutney.

Creating the perfect crispy spinach was the difficult piece of this recipe. Going off of all the information I could glean from my dining experience and some internet research, I first tried frying the spinach with a light coating of gram flour, baking soda, and salt. This was a disaster; the batter kept burning in the oil, and the spinach was either not crispy enough or crumbled apart unpleasantly when eaten. After some experimentation with oven temperature, I found that not only was it much easier to bake the spinach, but it yielded much better results.


This recipe makes approximately four appetizer-sized servings (or potentially two full meals), but the flavors are truly addictive so you may very well want to double the recipe. When I prepared this, I included some chickpeas (you can see them peaking out from under the spinach in the photo), and diced avocado or dates would also be welcome additions.

Palak Chaat
Yield: 4 appetizer servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup gram flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt*
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • chaat masala, to taste**
  • date tamarind chutney, to taste**
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced

*Greek yogurt adds an extra richness to the dish; you can substitute regular yogurt, but I’d recommend straining it (let it sit in a cheesecloth-lined strainer for about half an hour) to get closer to the consistency of Greek yogurt.
**You’ll probably want about a tsp of chaat masala and 2 Tbsp of date tamarind chutney per serving, but as the flavors of your masala and chutney may vary, make sure to taste and adjust.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine 1/4 cup gram flour and 1/2 tsp kosher salt, then sprinkle the mixture over 1 lb baby spinach.
  3. Spread the spinach out on a baking sheet, making sure that there is no overlap – you will need to use multiple sheets and/or do multiple batches. Bake for 5 minutes or until crisp.
  4. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and 1/2 tsp sugar. Set aside.
  5. Set out chaat masala, date tamarind chutney, 1/2 red onion, diced, 1 large tomato, diced, and 1/4 cup cilantro, minced. For each serving, start with some crispy spinach and build with the yogurt mixture and these accompaniments.

Related Posts:

3 Responses to “Palak Chaat”

  1. Coco January 26, 2013 at 2:10 am #

    They use chickpea flour. I asked the waiter, that’s why your spinach keeps burning.

    • Claire January 26, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      Gram flour is just another name for chickpea flour :)

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