Aloo Tikki Chat at the India Curry and Kebab House in Ottawa
I very much enjoy visiting the India Curry and Kebab House in Ottawa’s Byward Market as I have always been served terrific meals there. I have to say, though, that I was taken a little off-guard by the Aloo Tikki Chat you see pictured above as it was considerably different from my expectations after reading the name and the description in the menu. Happily, it turned out to be truly excellent, and one of the best appetizer dishes I have ever been serve in an Indian restaurant.
The word ‘tikki’ in Indian cuisine generally refers to a cutlet of sorts and, since ‘aloo’ means potato, a ‘chaat’ (or snack) involving ‘Aloo Tikki’, basically means a fried patty of spiced potato. At the Curry Kebab House, they described their Aloo Tikki Chat on the menu as patties ‘topped with tamarind sauce and chick peas’. This was, in fact, what I got, but it was also a good deal more.
It is not possible to see the patties in this dish, so you will just have to trust me that they were there. I was rather expecting a visible fried patty with a sprinkling of chick peas and a drizzle of sauce. As it was, my potato was smothered in not just tamarind sauce, but also coconut cream and mint chutney.
This all may sound like a bit of overkill, perhaps, but, in fact, the three worked very nicely together and offered a sweet and sour counterpoint to the spice. In addition to chickpeas, there were also chopped Tomato, Onion and Coriander leaf, and, the effect was as satisfying to the eye as it was to the palate.
The potato patty was quite nicely spiced and, though the blend was fairly complex, I could only specifically identify chili and cumin. The chili was added with a fairly light hand, and the overall heat was not much more than the typical hot-wings you would find in a tavern.
The best part of the patty, though, was the texture. I had been expecting something a bit like the sort of potato patty you can find for breakfast in a supermarket freezer. The ones here may have initially been like that (crisp outside and tender in), but the effect of the heavy sauce changed it entirely. There was still a semi-crispness to the outer surface but the inside was transformed into something that was delightfully chewy. Overall, in taste, texture, and visual appeal, this whole dish was a surprise, and a very delightful one at that.