Holding the gold-rimmed glass of Champagne, I turned my eyes once again to a quiet corner of the party hall. There was this grumpy person, who sat on a chair, immersing herself into her smartphone for quite sometime. She was in her own world, perhaps enjoying solitude in a lively party full of fifty-odd people. In striking contrast, there was this lady in red, well-dressed and cheerful, who came forward, interacted with people out there and made new friends. She was the perfect conversation-starter: someone who added life to the whole ambiance.
Similarly, there are starters in food, which are just apt to coax your tastebuds to life. These starters are like the woman in red: they add sparkle to any party with their brightness. Such starters, whether food or people, are always the apple of everyone’s eye. Such is my Mutton and Corn Paapdi Chaat: a great starter for any party, whose components can be easily made ahead and refrigerated. On the day of the party, one needs to just assemble the elements together to create a perfect appetizer.
Recently, while I was speaking to the legendary Marco Pierre White during his visit in Mumbai, I was intrigued when he said that the sauce plays a vital role in any dish. I have experienced it myself in several occasions earlier, when I had made a good dish, but that average sauce just ruined it. After that, I made sure that each time I pay extra attention to my sauces and gravies, as these are the soul of the dish: well, just like the lady in red in the Champagne party?
What’s not to love about my Mutton and Corn Paapdi Chaat? It has a fresh, inviting look and tastes superb. It is easy to grab and eat, too! That’s why I call it the perfect party appetizer. When I am the host, I make sure I make these in plenty, as these get over in no time! The recipe of these tasty little gems can serve 10–12 people easily.
Mutton and Corn Paapdi Chaat
- ½ kg Boiled sweet corn
- 1/2 kg Mutton mince
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 3 Medium-sized finely chopped onions
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Cumin powder
- 1 tbsp Coriander powder
- 1 tbsp Garam masala powder
- 1.5 tbsp Tamarind sauce
- 3 tbsp Oil
- 1.5 tsp Ginger paste
- 2 Green chillies (pounded)
- 1 tbsp Black pepper powder
- 1.5 tbsp Garlic (minced)
- 30 Store-bought “Paapdi” shells
- Chaat Masala for garnishing
Ingredients for the sauce:
- 5 tbsp Sugar
- Water just enough to submerge the sugar
- 2 tbsp Chopped green chillies (hot variety)
- 2.5 tbsp Tamarind paste
- 2 tbsp Finely chopped onions
- Handful salted pistachios
- Reserve a handful of boiled sweetcorn for garnishing. Using a food processor, blitz the rest of the drained and boiled sweetcorn coarsely.
- Heat oil. Add garlic and briefly sauté for a few seconds. Add the onions along with the salt and sauté until the onions are almost mushy and browned.
- Add the minced corn, turmeric powder, coriander and cumin powders and sauté until the mixture is almost dry. Now add the minced mutton and sauté for 30 min on a medium flame. Add the tamarind sauce, garam masala powder and black pepper powder now.
- Continue sautéing on a high flame, until the mixture is on the drier side, but not completely dry. This will take around 10 min.
- You can make this mixture the previous day and refrigerate. Just before the party, warm the mixture. Scoop out a small portion of this using a teaspoon. Either flatten it on a Paapdi (store-bought) or make a quenelle like I did. Sprinkle some chaat masala on each.
- For the sauce, heat the sugar-water mixture on a medium flame, until boiling. Add the rest of the ingredients for the sauce (except the pistachios) and simmer, sautéing continuously, until the mixture is thick. Add the pistachios and stir. Switch off the flame.
- Use this sauce generously over each Paapdi Chaat quenelle, ensuring that there is atleast one pistachio on each.
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