This is a very famous street-side snack that originates in Uttar Pradesh but is popular all over India, especially in the North.
Here, a can of chickpeas is put to fabulous use with hot buttery potatoes, a flourish of shallots, and a smoldering slick of tamarind. Classically, it’s finished with a handful of crunchy savory chickpea noodles called "sev."
Notes: Tamarind paste and sev are nearly always found in the Asian section of big supermarkets. If there’s no sev, a little Bombay mix works a treat. Because tamarind paste varies from brand to brand, add it gradually until it tastes just right to you.
This recipe is from Fresh India, my new book coming out in Spring 2017. —Meera Sodha
Prepare the date and tamarind chutney first. Blend the dates together with the tamarind paste and a pinch of salt and just under 1/2 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 15 minutes, until they are tender and a knife can slip through them easily. Drain, tip out onto a plate, and crush them 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, chili, and 2/3 teaspoon of salt. Stir, then add the potatoes. Leave the potatoes to crisp and char for around 5 minutes, to heat through. Toss together and throw in the chickpeas, shallots, and lemon juice. Then add the date and tamarind chutney. Stir to mix and take off the heat.
Serve warm in individual plates or bowls with a couple of dollops of yogurt, a scattering of cilantro, and sev.