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Bhalla Papri Chaat with saunth chutney.jpg
Alternative namesSaat (Sylhet)
Place of originIndia
Region or stateOdisha, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh

Chaat or chāt (lit.'lick, tasting, delicacy') is a family of savoury snacks that originated in India, typically served as an hors d'oeuvre or at roadside tracks from stalls or food carts across South Asia in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.[1][2] With its origins in Uttar Pradesh, India,[3] chaat has become immensely popular in the rest of South Asia and the Caribbean.


The word derives from Hindi cāṭ चाट (tasting, a delicacy), from cāṭnā चाटना (to lick, as in licking ones fingers while eating), from Prakrit caṭṭei चट्टेइ (to devour with relish, eat noisily).[4]


Alu tikki served with hari (mint and cilantro  chutney), saunth chutneys, and dahi (yogurt)
Alu tikki served with hari (mint and cilantro chutney), saunth chutneys, and dahi (yogurt)

The chaat variants are all based on fried dough, with various other ingredients. The original chaat is a mixture of potato pieces, crisp fried bread dahi vada or dahi bhalla, gram or chickpeas and tangy-salty spices, with sour Indian chili and saunth (dried ginger and tamarind sauce), fresh green coriander leaves and yogurt for garnish, but other popular variants included alu tikkis or samosa (garnished with onion, potatoes, coriander, peas, hot spices and a dash of curd), bhel puri, dahi puri, panipuri, dahi vada, papri chaat, and sev puri.

There are common elements among these variants including dahi (yogurt); chopped onions and coriander; sev (thin dried yellow salty noodles); and chaat masala, typically consisting of amchoor (dried mango powder), cumin, kala namak (Himalayan black rock salt), coriander, dried ginger, salt, black pepper, and red pepper. The ingredients are combined and served on a small metal plate or a banana leaf, dried and formed into a bowl.


Some scholars trace origins of chaats such as Dahi Vada (Dahi Bare) to ancient periods. A recipe for dahi wada (as kshiravata) is mentioned in Manasollasa, a 12th-century Sanskrit encyclopedia compiled by Someshvara III, who ruled from present-day Karnataka.[5][6] According to food historian K.T Achaya, descriptions of dahi vada also appear in literature from 500 B.C.[7] According to culinary anthropologist Kurush Dalal, the Chaat originated in northern India (now Uttar Pradesh) in the late 17th century during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. He further added that the royal doctors had asked the people of Mughal capital Delhi to consume spicy and fried snacks as well as dahi as a countermeasure to the alkaline water of Yamuna river of the city so the Chaat was invented.[8]

Most chaats originated in some parts of Uttar Pradesh in India,[9] but they are now eaten all across South Asia and neighboring countries. Some are results of cultural syncretism - for instance, pav bhaji (bread/bun with cooked and mashed vegetables) originated in Mumbai[10][11] but reflects a Portuguese influence[citation needed], in the form of a bun, and bhel puri and sevpuri, which originated in Mumbai, Maharashtra.[12]


In cities where chaat is popular, there are popular chaathouses or dhabas, such as Mumbai's Chowpatty Beach. The chaat specialities vary from city to city. Chaat from Delhi (from where it originated in its current form), Lucknow,[13] Prayagraj, Kolhapur, Kanpur, Varanasi, Pune, Agra, Meerut, Kolkata, Sowcarpet, Bengaluru, and Mathura are famous throughout India.

Types of chaat

Alu chaat
Alu chaat
Delhi chaat with saunth chutney
Delhi chaat with saunth chutney
Alu chaat vendor, Connaught Place, New Delhi
Alu chaat vendor, Connaught Place, New Delhi
A plate of Masala puri made by street vendors in the chaat stalls near Bangalore
A plate of Masala puri made by street vendors in the chaat stalls near Bangalore
Basket Chaat
Basket Chaat
Katori Chaat
Katori Chaat

See also


  1. ^ Thumma, Sanjay. "Chaat Recipes". Hyderabad, India: Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
  2. ^ "The Chaat Business". (in Bengali). Archived from the original on 29 November 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2012.
  3. ^ "10 Best Recipes From Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi/ Agra / Mathura )". NDTV. 25 October 2013. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  4. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. Chaat. Mar. 2005 Online edition. Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  5. ^ K.T. Achaya (2003). The Story of Our Food. Universities Press. p. 85. ISBN 978-81-7371-293-7.
  6. ^ Vishal, Anoothi. "Chaat Masala: Gourmet Indian street food". The Economic Times. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  7. ^ Krishna, Priya (17 August 2020). "Chaat Is More Than the Sum of Its Many Flavors". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  8. ^ Ramadurai, Charukesi (3 June 2020). "Pani Puri: India's favourite street food... at home?". BBC Travel. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  9. ^ "10 Best Recipes From Uttar Pradesh (Varanasi/ Agra / Mathura )". NDTV. 25 October 2013. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  10. ^ Patrao, Michael. "Taking pride in our very own pav". Deccan Herald. The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  11. ^ Patel, Aakar (4 August 2011). "What Mumbaikars owe to the American Civil War: 'pav bhaji'". Live Mint. HT Media Limited. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  12. ^ "CHOICE TABLES; Wide World of Food in the Capital". The New York Times. 27 November 1994. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  13. ^ Mehrotra, Akash (27 February 2015). "Lucknow Food Trail: 10 Lucknowi delicacies and best eateries to savour them". DNA.
  14. ^ Moghul, Sobiya N. (25 October 2013). "Beetroot and potato chaat recipe". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 15 November 2013. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  15. ^ D.Nath, Subha. "Dhaka chaat" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 November 2017. Retrieved 9 November 2017.
  16. ^ Saravanan, S.P. (28 October 2015). "Salem's own evening Snack". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Watch: Viral Video of a Famous Street Food Disapproved by the Internet; Here's Why".