In India, people love chaat. Papdi chaat, sev puri, dahi bhalla and more - we are spoilt with options to choose from. Crispy papdi or spongy bhalla with khatti-meethi chutney, dahi and masalas drizzled on the top, chaat defines indulgence. In fact, it won't be an exaggeration to say that chaat very well defines the food culture of India. But, we find many people, especially fitness enthusiasts, staying away from this yummy delicacy. Wonder why? It's majorly to avoid the calories and excess oil used to fry the papdis and vadas. What if we say, chaat is actually not as unhealthy as you think?! That's right. A nutritionist recently took to Instagram to bust the myth that chaat is bad for your health.
Is Chaat Good Or Bad For Your Health?
Nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi, in one of his latest posts (on Instagram), explained that people don't need to completely cut out on any food group. "I see a lot of people who have not eaten chaat in years. They cut out the whole group thinking it is bad for their health," he begins the post.
Bhuvan Rastogi then went on to say that any food you eat from outside will have some amount of calorie - be it naan or any gravy with cream and cashew paste. That doesn't mean you "cut out any food group whatsoever". He further adds, "This is just to remind you that you can have chaat if you love it, without compromising your fitness goals and without any guilt whatsoever."
Nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi then went on to decode the health impact of some of our favourite chaats from across India. Let's take a look.
How Chaat Impacts Our Health - Expert Explains:
1. Dahi Bhalla:
A popular North Indian dish, it is spongy vada with chutney and dahi drizzled on the top. Dahi bhalla is referred to as doi bora in Bengal and dahi vada in the South. The expert explains that the bhalla (or vada) is made of lentil. It is fried and then soaked in water to reduce the oil content. "Plus dahi is high in protein. This is even healthier than a plate of dal and roti," he adds. Click here for dahi bhalla recipe.
2. Papdi Chaat:
This crunchy delight is loved by one and all. Papdi chaat includes fried maida roti, some soaked chana or bhalla and dahi, which is high in protein. "Not the worst, right? Isn't that just roti and dahi with tadka for oil? Here, you get more dahi as well," Bhuvan Rastogi states. Click here for papdi chaat recipe.
3. Besan/Moong Cheela:
By now, we all know that cheela is considered one of the healthiest breakfast foods in India. Made with protein-packed besan or green moong, this dish loads you up with essential nutrients and keeps you full for long. Click here for besan cheela recipe. Click here for moong dal cheela recipe.
4. Matar Kulcha:
Chatpata matar mixture with fluffy kulcha makes for a wholesome meal any time of the day. But several people eliminate it from their diet due to the use of maida (to make kulcha). The nutritionist explains, "Kulcha is maida-based, but matar is a legume." All you need to do is just have the right amount of matar in the dish and reduce the amount of kulcha. "This is literally zero-oil food," he adds. Click here for the recipe.
5. Gol Gappa/ Phuchka/ Paani Puri:
The ultimate street food of India, it is all about flavourful goodness. But people often avoid it for excess calories. "People are most afraid of this. It's nothing but high antioxidant water (diluted pudina chutney) with some fried atta (1 poori)," he adds. Know to make it with these amazing recipes.
6. Ragda Pattice:
It is one of the most popular street foods of Maharashtra. It is spicy, wholesome and adds burst of flavours to your palate. According to Bhuvan Rastogi, "This is just potato with chhole and dahi. Just like less roti and more daal and dahi, all good and balanced." Click here for the recipe.
Now that you know all about Indian chaats, we say, enjoy them whenever you feel like, without any guilt. But always remember moderation is the key!
About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.