Khatta (Boondi with Besan Amchur Masala)
Himachal Pradesh as the name suggests is nestled in the Himalayas. Pahadi is another name for everything that comes from Himachal Pradesh. Pahadi literally means 'of the mountain'. Chamba, Shimla, Kullu and Kinnaur are some of the well known districts of this state.
Though I have never been to Himachal Pradesh, it always reminds me of one of my good friends from school. She moved after high school and we lost touch over the years. Social media has reconnected us only a couple months ago. Hopefully we can get together someday.
While in middle school we had danced to a pahadi song during the Republic Day annual inter school competition that was held after all schools marched smartly through town. Here is a picture. I post it only to showcase the beautiful clothes but in case you wondered we took first place.
To the recipe of the day: Khatta translates to sour. This dish has a mildly sour taste that is very appealing. My daughter and I loved it, my husband not so much. The sourness is from amchur (mango peel) powder and goes very well with all the other flavors.
The recipe is very simple. You take a bunch of different flavors in powder form with besan as a base. You cook it all together in water to form a sauce and then add the boondis. As the sauce was cooking I did a taste test and could tell something was missing. After I added the boondis (fried besan drops) it was as if the missing piece of the flavor puzzle was complete. Amazing!
The flavor of this dish keeps developing for hours. It tasted so much better the next day. The first day I would say Khatta was more a condiment than a side especially with poli. The next day it could have been the primary side dish.
If as a child you liked to peel tamarind pods and nibble on the raw pulp or if you liked raw mango then you will love this dish.
You will need
3 tbsp. amchur powder
4 tbsp. besan
2 tbsp. coriander powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. turmeric powder
a few leaves cilantro
salt to taste
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp. asafetida
2/3 cup boondis (I got these from the Indian store)
If you do not have coriander powder, roast coriander seeds in a pan and grind them to powder when cool. Collect all the spices in the right measurement with the besan.
Heat oil in a pan and add the fenugreek seeds. When they start turning a darker color add the asafetida, all the other spices and besan. Roast them for a minute.
Add 5 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil stirring occasionally. Let it boil for at least 20 minutes and thickens a lot.
Add boondi to the mixture and let it continue to boil for another 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let it cool. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. The boondis absorb a lot of liquid.
Serve with rice or poli.