Crispy Kale Chaat

February 17, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by Shri Repp
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

There is one restaurant for which my family would make the trek from the suburbs of Northern Virginia through the sea of cars on I-66 to get to “the city”. It is the restaurant for which my mom could actually convince my dad to not wear sneakers with his slacks. It is the restaurant at which folks in the Indian community would brag proudly about dining. It is the restaurant where you were fully convinced that there was a powerful politician at the neighboring table after eavesdropping on snippets of their conversations.

This restaurant that makes hip Indian aunties and Washington elites swoon is none other than the iconic Rasika. As you are guided to your seat, you can’t but help but feel the energy of the city as you eye the proper politicians negotiating or the chilled-out cliques of cool city folks having a drink. Though the vibe at each table varies, you can’t help but notice that everyone is deep in conversation around a vibrant green tempura-ed mound of spinach. The palak (spinach) chaat is one of the signature appetizers you can’t leave Rasika without trying. Each spinach leaf is coated in a thin chickpea batter and flash fried to perfection, drizzled with tangy tamarind date chutney and sweet yogurt sauce, and garnished with fresh finely chopped red onions and tomatoes.

I wanted to recreate this recipe but make it more accessible to those who may not want to deal with the fuss of frying with hot oil! So I present to you my crispy kale chaat which is very much inspired by Rasika’s palak chaat. The kale is massaged with oil and spices and baked low and slow in the oven until it curls and crisps. This kale can be eaten on its own as a healthy chip alternative, but what I like to do is transform it into a chaat by layering in fresh veggies, a combo of a zesty yogurt and tangy tamarind sauce, and store-bought fried Indian chickpea snacks like boondi or sev to add extra crunch!

I deeply miss the fanfare of getting dolled up to eat at a restaurant “in the city”. But for now, I live in “the other Washington”, and the speed of take out has still not advanced to be able to deliver across the country. However, I find comfort in flipping through the pages of the Rasika cookbook and ear marking the next recipe to recreate that brings back memories from this restaurant. —Shri Repp

What You'll Need
  • Kale Chaat
  • 8 ounces Kale - stems removed, washed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Red Onion - finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Roma Tomatoes - finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons Tamarind-Date Chutney
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro - finely chopped (Optional)
  • 1/4 cup Boondi or Thin Sev (Optional)
  • Yogurt Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Remove kale leaves from the tough stems and tear into large pieces. Pat kale with a paper towel to make sure leaves are completely dry. This is important because if the kale is wet it will steam rather than crisp in the oven.
  2. In a large bowl, add your kale and evenly drizzle 1 Tbs of olive oil to coat. Use your hands to massage the kale with oil to really infuse the kale with oil.
  3. Sprinkle Kashmiri chili powder, black salt, kosher salt, and cumin powder onto kale mixture and use your hands again to evenly coat all kale leaves in spices.
  4. In a large parchment-lined baking sheet, spread kale in a single layer making sure not to overcrowd. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes and then rotate your pan. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes while keeping a close eye on your kale to make sure it doesn’t burn. You are looking for your kale to curl up at the edges and crisp but are not looking for it to brown which will impart a bitter taste to your kale.
  5. Remove kale from the oven and keep uncovered until completely cooled.
  6. Mix yogurt sauce ingredients to create yogurt sauce. Cover and refrigerate.
  7. Assemble chaat by piling kale in a large serving bowl and evenly distributing red onions and tomatoes throughout. Drizzle yogurt sauce and tamarind chutney (loosening chutney with 1-2 Tbs of water if too thick to drizzle) over veggies. Garnish with cilantro and boondi. Serve and enjoy immediately!

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