Is papri chaat really healthy?

Who doesn’t love chaat? All those gorgeous chutneys and crunchy things cascading over boiled chickpeas and potatoes!

Sahar Aman August 19, 2016
Who doesn’t love chaat? All those gorgeous chutneys and crunchy things cascading over boiled chickpeas and potatoes! Of course once you add all those sugary chutneys, deep fried papris, sev and everything else to a humble bowl of chickpeas and potatoes you aren’t exactly left with something that’s healthy. Maybe that’s not the point, maybe chaat isn’t supposed to be healthy. What if it can be though? Enter my Mexican tortilla papri chaat.

So why a Mexican tortilla papri chaat?

I loved the idea of these flavours and this spin on a popular desi dish. I think it’s because growing up quesada’s and nachos were on the menu for Iftar during Ramazan and the flavours of Mexican cuisine lend themselves to desi taste buds. Who can forget their first bite of fajita pizza somewhere along Boat Basin in Karachi?

There are so many Mexican dishes that are light, fresh and healthy when they are made authentically and don’t involve a deep fryer or a helping of churros! Nachos aren’t the worst thing I eat! I love making them at home with Neal’s Organic Tortilla Chips and their salsa alongside a big bowl of traditional guacamole. It’s so easy to make healthy tacos as well.

A few months ago, my husband and I were finishing off some corn chips and salsa. A lot of the chips were broken up so we dumped them into the salsa and I added a dollop of Greek yoghurt to it and we ate it with a spoon like the classy couple that we are. I think that was when the first version of the Mexican papri chaat was born. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with creating this recipe.

This dish has protein, fibre and fresh veggies! It’s also easily customised. You don’t have to use black beans, try pinto or red kidney beans as well and let me know how it goes! I chose to my bake tortillas for my papris but you could easily use some good quality corn chips and feel free to use a regular green chilli if that’s what you have instead of jalapeño. The only thing you absolutely cannot substitute in this recipe is the salsa verde, which serves as a flavourful chutney. It really elevates this chaat. If like me, you don’t make yours from scratch, make sure you look for a good quality salsa verde without sugar! I used my homemade chaat masala.


This dish has protein, fibre and fresh veggies! It’s also easily customised.Photo: Sahar Aman

The papris

Corn tortillas or gluten free tortillas – 2-3* or 2 cups tortilla chips

The chaat

Black beans**– 2 cups

Greek yoghurt (lactose free if necessary) – ¾ cup

Spices – ¼ tsp salt, ¼tsp cayenne, ¼tsp paprika or ¾ tsp of my homemade chaat masala (please try to use a homemade version, my recipe is really easy!)

Coconut sugar (or brown sugar), divided  – 2 tsp

Red onion – ½ cup, finely chopped

Cherry tomatoes – a handful or one small sized tomato, finely chopped

Cilantro – 1/3 cup finely chopped

Jalapeño or green chilli – ½ tsp, finely chopped

Lemon or lime juice – a squeeze

Salsa verde – lots and lots

Chaat masala – to taste

Himalayan pink salt – to taste


The papris

1. If baking your own papris, preheat oven to 375F.

2. Roughly tear up the corn tortillas in to pieces and place them on a baking sheet. I used teff tortillas and baked them for 10 minutes until they were completely crunched up and then tossed them in my homemade chaat masala.

3. Set aside and allow to cool.

The chaat

I loved the idea of these flavours and this spin on a popular desi dish.Photo: Sahar Aman

1. Mix the beans with the yoghurt, spices and one teaspoon of coconut sugar.

2. Toss the chopped red onion, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and jalapeño together with the squeeze of lemon or lime juice and remaining coconut sugar.

3. To assemble the chaat, put the bean and yoghurt mix in a serving dish. Top with the papris and then spoon 6-8 tablespoons of salsa verde on top of the papris. Top this with the red onion and tomato mixture and finish with a final flourish of chaat masala and some pink salt.


1. *This depends on how big they are, if they are small use three.

2.**I used black beans but feel free to use pinto or kidney.

 This post originally appeared here. 
Sahar Aman The author is the editor-in-chief of an online travel magazine, Days to Come. She tweets as @sahar_aman ( Follow her on Instagram: sahar_aman (
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Zahra Akbar Khan | 3 years ago | Reply | Recommend This is an amazing recipe. Thanks.
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