This palak chaat is the most popular dish at Rasika in Washington, DC. An ultra-thin chickpea flour batter coats the spinach leaves so they fry up with a wonderfully delicate crispiness akin to Japanese tempura. Dusted with deggi mirch (an Indian chili powder), black salt, and toasted cumin powder, then garnished with chopped red onion, tomato, and cilantro, and accompanied by both tangy tamarind and creamy yogurt sauces, this is a beautifully complex dish bursting with different textures, temperatures, and flavors.
Although the recipe isn’t difficult, it pays to be organized. You can make the sauces and ready the garnishes up to a full day ahead, then be sure to lay everything out before you start cooking, since each step happens quickly. You’ll fry the spinach in four separate batches, so weigh out four equal piles before you start. You should also use a kitchen thermometer and make sure you let the oil get hot enough before you fry each new batch of spinach, or you’ll get soggy leaves instead of a great crisp. If you leave off the yogurt, you have a wonderful vegan snack or appetizer. And you can fry the spinach up to one hour before serving, although you should wait to assemble it with the garnishes until the last minute.
Check out these other Rasika recipes: their Steamed Sea Bass in Banana Leaf with Coconut-Mint Chutney recipe and their Indian Spiced Sautéed Mushrooms and Green Onions recipe.
Make the tamarind sauce:
Make the batter:
Make the spinach chaat: