I've always had a special place in my heart for Indian food. It was my first taste of authentic Indian cuisine that helped me go vegetarian in the ninth grade. But it wasn't until a few years ago that I discovered Indian street food or chaat.
I've always been a snacky girl, so it makes sense that I'd be happier stuffing my face with small plates of dosa, vada, and samosa rather than heavy meals of curry and rice. A couple of South Indian restaurants in Memphis have special chaat menus, but recently, my friend Leslie (who wishes she was Indian) introduced me to a place that only sells snacks. Inside the India Bazaar grocery store is Chaat Corner. It's like a concession stand for Indian snack food!
We took a late afternoon lunch a few weeks back, and here's what ordered to share. We just had to get the obligatory Samosas — mashed potato- and pea-stuffed fried dumplings with chutney and tamarind sauce:
And even though I was certain we were ordering too much food and would leave stuffed (we did), Leslie insisted that we split this crispy Masala Dosa — a large crepe-like pancake stuffed with spiced potatoes and served with sambar soup and coconut chutney:
I've had plenty of samosas and dosas in my day, and these were both top-notch. In fact, the samosas were probably some of my favorite ever.
Leslie also introduced me to something new — Pani Puri (crispy round pillows stuffed with chickpeas, onions, and some other stuff that I did not recognize but tasted delicious). The pani puri is served with a tangy tamarind sauce that you pour in the little hole before you eat each bite. So much fun to eat!
Chaat Corner had quite a few more dishes that I'll be trying next time — Vada (spicy lentil dumplings), Bhelpuri (one of my fave snacks made with crispy sev noodles, veggies, puffed rice, and tamarind sauce), and Samosa Chaat (samosa broken into pieces and mixed with chutney).
Chaat Corner is located inside India Bazaar at 3810 Hacks Cross. Call 901-368-0068.