Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Chaat Corner

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.


Amelia said...

Gosh I am so envious of all the vegan and vegetarian restaurants near you! I'm currently in a smaller town which is nice in all but terrible for dining! Milwaukee and Madison are about an hour away so that's always an option, but hard when you have 14 hour workdays and booked up weekends. :(

I'll be in my contract 2 more years... after that, it's city living baby. Haha. :)

Amelia said...

Oh and also Bianca, did you ever pick a 7th winner for your contest?

Bianca said...

Hi Amelia! I'm so sorry that I forgot to post that on the blog, but we did. It was Natalie Higdon. I posted it on Facebook but neglected to add it here. Thanks for being such an awesome supporter of the campaign. I was rooting for you to win....but the drawings were all random. :-(

Sophie said...

ohh! So lucky! My friend made us Masala Dosa (she's from India) and it was so good!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I live in southern wisconsin and I haven't found any resturants around here with good veg choices.