This refreshing salad has all the flavors—sweet, tangy, salty, and spicy—and is perfect for any time of the year. For me, it’s a particularly special treat for iftar, the nourishing meal Muslims enjoy during Ramadan to break the fast at sunset.
Enjoy this beautiful salad made with pantry-friendly canned chickpeas, pomegranate arils, fork-tender potatoes, and your favorite herbs (think cilantro! mint!). Toss it with a sweet and sour dressing made with lime juice and a little brown sugar.
This dish is my version of the humble chana—it means “chickpea” in Urdu—chaat I grew up eating in Lahore, Pakistan. Chaat is a street food found in parts of South Asia, like Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. It describes a crunchy, sweet, tangy, and spicy snack eaten with lots of different sauces, from salted yogurt to sweet and sour tamarind or a fiery green chutney.
Tamarind chutney is a sour sauce often served on chana chaat. To balance out the sour tamarind, sweet dates are often added. It’s a flavor combination I love, so I created a similar tangy and sweet taste combo for this recipe using lime and brown sugar. Believe me, you’re going to love the medley of flavors and colors!
The Best Potatoes to Use
Choose a waxy potato that holds its shape when boiled, such as red, fingerling, or Yukon gold potatoes. Yukon golds aren’t a true waxy potato, but it holds its shape without becoming mealy when cooked. Steer clear of starchy potatoes like russets—they will fall apart as they boiled.
As you dice your potatoes, drop them into a pot of cold water to inhibit discoloration. Make sure that they are uniform in size, so they cook evenly. Start the potatoes in cold water and bring them up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. They will be fork tender in no time! And remember, salt the water to make the flavors sing.
How to De-Seed a Pomegranate
I bet you’re looking at that pomegranate and thinking, how do I easily extract those garnet jewels? Well, I am here to help you! There are few ways to extract the sweet, juicy plump arils.
- Use a paring knife to cut off the crown of the pomegranate. Make 4 to 6 vertical superficial cuts down the side of the pomegranate. Use your fingers to pry open the sections. Extract the arils from the peel and the membranes.
- Truth be told, the above method can stain your fingers. So, is there another way? Yes! Fill a large bowl with water, quarter the pomegranate, and submerge it in water. Carefully pull apart the skin and free the arils from the membrane, working under the water the whole time. Drain the arils into a colander. Your fingers won’t be stained!
Chiffo-What the Mint? Chiffonade!
Chiffonade means to cut the herbs into pretty thin ribbons. It is super simple: Stack the mint leaves and roll them tightly lengthwise like a cigar. Start at one end and thinly slice them into ribbons. Now you have beautiful strands of mint to adorn your salad.
Remember to keep a few mint leaves whole—it will make your dish POP.
Make This Recipe Your Own
- Not in the mood for chickpeas? Use cranberry beans, navy beans, or just go digging in your pantry for a canned bean.
- Feel free to add baby gem lettuce or peppery arugula to make this a full-on green salad.
- Though the molasses in the brown sugar makes this dressing extra special, it’s OK if you don’t have any brown sugar. Use granulated sugar instead.
- This is a versatile salad because you can use all kinds of herbs, like the ones you love the most. Instead of cilantro and mint, use dill, purple basil, sorrel, or tarragon.
Prep It in Advance
Did someone say this can be prepped in advance? Yes, I did! Prep all the ingredients, including the dressing, in advance and store them in separate containers in the fridge.
Potatoes tend to discolor easily, so boil them beforehand, and refrigerate them for up to one day. Uncooked potatoes should be submerged in water and can also be refrigerated for up to one day. Chiffonade the mint right before you serve it, otherwise it will discolor.
Colorful Salads for Life
Chana Chaat (Jeweled Salad)
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, (from about 2 juicy limes)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups drained, canned chickpeas
1 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup shallots, finely diced
1/4 cup cilantro stems, finely chopped (reserve leaves for other use)
4 fresh mint leaves chiffonade, plus a few left whole for garnish
Cook the potatoes:
In a large saucepan, add the potatoes, 1 tablespoon salt, and enough cold water to cover them by at least an inch. Set it over medium-high heat, uncovered, and bring it to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
Drain the potatoes into a colander set in the sink. Transfer them into a large bowl and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, make the dressing:
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, olive oil, lime juice, brown sugar, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Set the dressing aside.
Assemble the chana chaat:
To the cooled potatoes, add the chickpeas, pomegranate, shallots, and cilantro. Gently mix to combine. Pour in the dressing and gently toss to evenly coat.
Transfer the chana chaat onto a serving dish and garnish with both the thinly sliced and whole mint leaves.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. The mint will wilt and lose its flavor over time.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 14g||18%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||9%|
|Total Carbohydrate 50g||18%|
|Dietary Fiber 8g||27%|
|Total Sugars 20g|
|Vitamin C 26mg||130%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|