The flavors in this incredibly popular Indian street-side snack will dance in your mouth. Buttery potatoes wrap around the chickpeas in an open embrace. They’re followed by a flourish of shallots, a smouldering slick of date and tamarind chutney, and the crunch of sev. Beats a bag of potato chips any day. Although tamarind and sev (chickpea noodles) might seem hard to find, they are nearly always available in the Asian section of big supermarkets. Look for thin or “nylon” sev—but if you can’t find any, a little Bombay mix works a treat.
NOTE: As tamarind paste varies from brand to brand, add it gradually until it tastes good to you.
½ cup dates, pitted
3 teaspoons tamarind paste
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1½ pounds baby potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, roughly ground
1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 Indian green chile, finely chopped
1 x 14-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
1 banana shallot or other large shallot, finely diced
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
a handful of thin sev (chickpea noodles)
Prepare the date and tamarind chutney first. Blend the dates together with the tamarind paste, a pinch of salt, and ½ cup of water, then leave to one side.
Mix the yogurt with a couple of tablespoons of water until you can drizzle it using a spoon, then leave to one side.
Wash and boil the potatoes for around 15 minutes, until tender and a knife can slip through them easily. Drain, transfer to a plate, and crush slightly with a fork or the bottom of a sturdy cup.
Put the butter into a wide-bottomed frying pan over a medium heat. When melted, add the ground cumin seeds, black pepper, ginger, green chile, and ¾ teaspoon of salt. Stir, then add the potatoes. Leave the potatoes to crisp and char for around 5 minutes, then throw in the chickpeas, shallot, and lemon juice. Leave to heat through for a few minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of date and tamarind chutney, stir to mix, and take off the heat.
To serve, divide the mixture between four shallow bowls, spoon over the yogurt, dot over the remaining chutney, and top with the cilantro and sev.