Chaat Tostadas / Seven Spoons Cookbook

chaat tostadas from seven spoons cookbookWriting this blog has brought many amazing people into my life including Tara O’Brady, the author and photographer behind the food blog Seven Spoons and the new cookbook of the same name.  I think it was around the time that I launched Brooklyn Delhi, that I first got a message from Tara full of support and congratulations on embarking on the new endeavor.  Having been a huge fan of her work for some time, I was quite flattered to hear from her.  Tara’s stunning photography is equally matched with her writing that seems to always draw me in even if I’m just passing by her blog to see what’s new.  Similarly, her cookbook has that same magnetic quality to it, full of her favorite recipes inspired by her Indian heritage, Canadian upbringing and taste for international cuisines.

seven spoons cookbook by Tara O'Brady

Although we have not met in person as Tara’s home is in southern Ontario, we have struck up a friendship from afar.  When I was in the deepest throws of writing and recipe testing for my cookbook, I’d always feel a little less frazzled when I’d receive a note of encouragement from Tara.  And when her cookbook came out, I was ecstatic to get a copy from her in the mail. In return, I sent her a couple bottles of my achaar which she of course put to good use right away.  And so the easy back and forth goes, almost like pen pals.  I’m anxiously awaiting our first meeting in person this November when Tara’s book tour arrives in New York.  Until then, I have her beautiful book of recipes to cook from.

seven spoons cookbook by Tara O'Brady

Upon flipping through the cookbook, I zeroed in on Tara’s Chaat Tostadas immediately because papri chaat is one of my favorite Indian street foods and years back, I used to run a Mexican-Indian supper club called Masala Loca with my friend Sabra. We had served several varieties of chaat using golgappa or papri chips but never on tostadas – genius idea!  And I don’t know how you could go wrong really with chickpea curry, sprouts, yogurt, green apple herb chutney, tamarind chutney and sev (fried chickpea flour strands) on top of a fried corn tortilla, right?  Tara aptly describes the texture and flavor combination of chaat as ‘perfectly addicting.’

The thing I love about chaat is that there are a million ways to configure the dish and you never eat the same chaat twice.  In her header notes, Tara gives the idea of piling all of the chaat toppings into a baked potato if you so desire.  Taking a page from her improvisational style, I adapted Tara’s recipe for a New York heat wave, produce I received in my Crown Heights Farm Share and what I had in my fridge at the time.  I have left her recipe untouched below, but just added notes where I have subbed in ingredients I had on hand.

Since we were experiencing 90 degree temperatures in Brooklyn last week, I decided to opt for tostadas from the Piaxtla Tortilla Factory in Bushwick so I would not have to fry anything in my already steamy kitchen.  I have included Tara’s instructions for frying up corn tortillas for fresh tostadas below, which I will for sure give a try once things cool down here.

tostadas from bushwick tortilla factory in Brooklyn

Got a sweet white onion and some cherry and plum tomatoes from Sang Lee Farms in the farm share last week which I diced for garnish on the chaat.

onion and tomatoes from Sang Lee Farms

Ben and I have been on a rajma kick so used leftover kidney bean curry (without the spinach) in place of the chickpea curry. Rajma is the Indian equivalent of Mexican refried beans or chili and I often use it for filling in tacos or enchiladas.  I decided to sprout some mung beans at home because my corner bodega was out of sprouts.

Mung Beans and Kidney Bean Curry

You can soak the mung beans overnight and use them as is or wait another day and you have sprouts. I couldn’t wait so I used just the soaked beans the first day and then the sprouts the second day (yes we had chaat tostadas two days in a row!). Here’s how to sprout mung beans.  I love Tara’s idea of sprouts in this recipe, adds a great texture.

mung bean sprouts

For the chutneys I prepared Tara’s Fresh Green Chutney with green apple, cilantro and mint (recipe below) and used a few dabs of my tomato achaar from Brooklyn Delhi in place of tamarind chutney.  I had sev left over from my last Tangra dinner for the crunchy topping.

chaat tostada from Seven Spoons cookbook

We loved these so much and will definitely be making them again with Tara’s chickpea curry next time. Congratulations Tara on your first cookbook (hoping there will be more:). Am excited to cook more recipes out of Seven Spoons and to cheer you on when you arrive in New York!




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  • Dixya Bhattarai RD

    I have read Taras blog before it is absolutely delicious..and this is a fantastic idea because i love chaat and tostadas :)