Mango Chaat

It’s mango season!

Last week I bought a box of 12 Kesar mangoes for £10. So expensive! My mother will wait until boxes hit £5 but I’m too greedy and can barely contain myself walking from vendor to vendor on Ealing Road in Wembley.  I bought two boxes because we ate one in the car. This is the primary reason we keep a box of baby wipes in the glove compartment!

Now because it is early in the season, there were a few unripe mangoes in the box. No matter. I used them for this delicious snack of Mango Chaat.

Chaat is the Gujarati word for ‘lick’.  There are dozens of different versions but essential a chaat dish will be one which refers to something that leaves you licking your lips and fingers wanting more. The key ingredient in any chaat will be amchur which is dried mango powder.  It has a deep sour flavour which gives a light citrusy taste. It is now readily available online

It’s typical street food in Gujarat and popular at any time of day as a little pick me up. Each stall has their own variation and this one with mangoes is mine.  Feel free to experiment with whatever you have lying in the fridge that needs using up. Strawberries, raspberries and even sour Granny Smith apples work well.

Mango Chaat

You’ll need

  • 50g fresh tamarind pulp
  • 1 400g tin boiled new potatoes
  • 1 400g tin chickpeas
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • A few pieces of fresh coconut – try the supermarket snackpack section
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 barely ripe mango
  • Handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp amchur – dried mango powder – optional

To make it

  1. Put the fresh tamarind pulp into a cup with a few tablespoons of water and set aside for about 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes, chop them into small 1 cm cubes and then put them into a large mixing bowl and add the drained chickpeas.
  3. Coarsely chop the onion and add that in along with the chopped coriander.
  4. Chop the tomatoes in quarters and add them in.
  5. Chop the mango into cubes and add it in.
  6. Slice the coconut into 1 cm or so strips and add them in.
  7. The tamarind should now be soft and squishy. Strain it through a sieve to remove the stones and fleshy pith and then pour it into the bowl.
  8. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl together and then season to your taste with the salt and chilli.
  9. Spoon the mixture onto a plate and then sprinkle over some of the amchur if you have it.

This is also very nice with some Chevro (Bombay Mix) tossed through or sprinkled on top.

Wild Garlic Kichee

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, there was one food that I craved above everything else.  Kichee.  It makes no sense as to why I was craving this.  It’s simply a rice flour dumpling flavoured with cumin, black pepper and green chillies.  I think it was the sticky, comforting consistency that gave me so much satisfaction.

It’s not something I could make for myself at the time because the smell of green chillies would send me into a long coughing fit and give me nausea.  My  Aunt Sushila would see my car pull into my mother’s driveway and within 30 minutes she’d bring over a plate of steaming hot kichee for me.  Handy having her live just across the road!

It’s been a favourite ever since and I’ve never really experimented with the recipe until now.  I’m finding that black peppercorns aren’t settling well with me at the moment so I’ve been making kichee with just the green chillies and cumin. But last week I picked a very large bunch of wild garlic.  There is a place I fell upon by chance which seems to have remained hidden from other foragers and I got a little carried away with my picking. It works very well chopped into dhal but as I had an inkling for kichee yesterday I thought I’d try it out with that too.  It worked a treat!  There is a very nice, subtle wild garlic flavour but it’s the colour that most impressed me.  The dough was a vibrant green which wasn’t impacted by the steaming process.

The recipe is incredibly simple so these are a wonderful item in your Biting Biting repertoire.

Wild Garlic Kichee

You’ll need 

  • 50g wild garlic leaves plus flowers for decoration
  • 3 small green chillies – mine were about 2 inches long
  • 2 cups/480ml water
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1.5/2 tsp salt to your taste
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup/160g rice flour – must be the fine flour and not ground rice
  • red chilli flakes to garnish
  • olive oil for dipping

This recipe makes about 16

  1. First pound the green chillies and wild garlic leaves in a pestle and mortar and you get a nice paste with no lumps.
  2. Bring a pan of water to come to the boil.  You need a pan which has room for the rice flour to expand so use a large one.
  3. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to a simmer and then add the wild garlic and chilli paste, cumin seeds, salt and bicarbonate of soda and stir through so they are all evenly combined into the water.
  4. Add the rice flour and let it simply soak into the water for a few minutes.  Once it’s all absorbed stir the mixture with a wooden spoon on the very low heat to bash out any lumps. You’ll now have a soft dough with a mashed potato like consistency.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a flat plate or chopping board and leave to cool so it’s comfortable to handle.
  6. Divide the dough up into 16 portions.  I find the easiest way to do this is to roughly roll a sausage shape, divide it in two and then again and again til you have 16 portions.
  7. Take one portion and roll it into a ball.  You may find it’s easier and less sticky to work with if you lightly oil or water your hands.  You can knead it lightly in your hand to get rid of any more lumps.
  8. Once you have a ball, flatten it slightly into a disc and then pierce a hole in the middle. I do this by dipping the end of a wooden spoon in some oil and then using that to make the hole.
  9. Once you’ve done all the portions in this way, put them into a steamer for 15 minutes to cook.  Leave them to cool slightly once cooked and then serve with some red chilli flakes and olive oil for dipping.

Copyright 2 Urvashi Roe 2016 Kichee

Biting Biting – Wild Garlic Kichee with Red Chilli Flakes and Olive Oil for Dipping

More wild garlic recipe inspiration from blogs and websites I like..

Plain Old Rice

I know this is a bit of an obvious recipe but my husband simply cannot make good rice and in all my classes we have a big discussion on how to make the bestest, fluffiest rice!

So here is how I do it…

Some basics before you start.

1. Buy good quality Basmati Rice rather than sticky rice or wild rice.  It’s easier to cook and gives you lovely soft fluffy rice that shouldn’t stick together.

2. By all means use wild rice mixed with basmati rice for your meals but cook them separately as they are different types of rice and thus will cook at different times.

3. Wash the rice in cold water beforehand to get rid of the starch that makes it sticky.  Don’t handle it too much or you’ll break up the beautiful long grains.  Just pour some cold water in, stir it gently with your fingers or a fork and then pour the water out.  Do this 5 or 6 times and you’ll see the water getting lighter in colour as the starch is removed.

4. Soak the rice for at least half an hour and this will remove even more of the starch.

To make it

  • 1 bowl of rice
  • 3 bowls of water

It doesn’t matter what size bowl you use, as long as you use the same one for the rice and the water.  In general terms one fistful of rice is enough for one person.  This is what my mother taught me.

  1. Prepare the rice using the basic advice above.  If you don’t have time to leave the rice to soak, then at least wash it through 5 or 6 times to get rid of some of the starch.
  2. Put the rice and the water into a large saucepan and simply bring it to the boil.
  3. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and you should have rice that breaks easily and is soft but not soggy.  If you’ve followed the proportions above your rice should not have stuck to the bottom of the pan or run out of water.
  4. Pour the rice into colander and leave to drain for a few minutes.
  5. Spoon into your serving dish and serve steaming hot.

If you want to flavour the rice slightly you can add a few tablespoons of ghee and  some cumin seeds before spooning into your serving dish.  My favourite snack, which I ate amazing amounts of when pregnant, was steaming hot rice with ghee and a little salt!