Remember when your mom told you that you were going to miss home-cooked Indian food and you laughed away that concern? Well, I'm not laughing anymore because I'm craving some healthy Indian food.

Chaat: the most classic and satisfying Indian food option in my opinion. It's shared both informally with street vendors tossing together all the ingredients in a matter of seconds and more formally as high-end appetizers for weddings or other large celebrations.

The best part is that it comes in a variety of forms, aloo tikki chaat and dahi puri chaat being two of my favorites. The first type contains a fried potato (aloo) patty with, of course, a deluge of delicious Indian spices. The patties are then covered with a savory garbanzo bean curry and a layer of yogurt. Lastly, it's topped with a sweet tamarind sauce and a saltier cilantro and mint chutney. Dahi puri chaat consists of mini puffed crackers that are stuffed with potatoes or beans, yogurt, the two chutneys, and onions and cilantro to garnish.

Don't tell me your mouth isn't watering right now.

The only problem with chaat is that it usually contains a fried ingredient. Of course, I love to indulge once in a while--especially if my mom's cooking--but I want chaat all the time, so I needed to find a healthier option. And I found it, so now I want to make sure that everyone else has an opportunity to try guilt-free chaat! Healthy indian food right from your apartment.

Here's how:

Healthy "Aloo" Tiki Chaat

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:30 mins
  • Servings:4
  • Medium


  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 boxes vegetable patties your choice
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 chopped red onion
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Paprika
  • optional Ginger powder
  • optional Garam masala
Anuva Mittal

First, some notes about the ingredients. It doesn't matter what type of vegetable patties you use. However, make sure not to use vegetable burgers--they have a strong taste of their own. You want the patties to be of a neutral taste because you want most of your flavor to come from your beans and chutney. Trader Joe's has the cauliflower and broccoli patties I used, and they also have carrot and potato patties if you want to be more authentic to the chaat recipe.

Next, it doesn't matter whether you use full fat or non-fat yogurt or Greek or regular. It is just important that your yogurt is plain. Flavored yogurt won't be compatible with the rest of the ingredients, giving you an odd sweet taste.

Lastly, though chaat traditionally comes with two chutneys, a sweet tamarind one and a savory cilantro one, I could not figure out a proper healthy substitute for the tamarind one. But trust me, the dish has plenty of flavor without it--try it out for yourself!

Onto the recipe!

First, add your chopped onion to a large saucepan (you want it to fit the can of chickpeas that we will add later). You can use a teaspoon of oil, cooking spray, or just plain old water to saute them. Keep stirring them over medium heat for about 5 minutes until they start turning translucent and slightly brown. 

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Then add your drained and washed garbanzo beans. 

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Now it's time to add all the spices. Starting at the top and going clockwise, we have paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, ginger powder, garam masala, turmeric, and cinnamon in the middle. I included garam masala and ginger powder as optional ingredients, as those aren't as commonly used and found in most people's pantries. Garam masala (translating to hot spice) is a special Indian spice that is made up of multiple different spices that is very characteristic of Indian food. However, the other ingredients suffice to create those mouth-watering Indian flavors. Also, if you don't have turmeric in your pantry, that's definitely something I recommend investing in--it's good for so many dishes other than Indian food. I also don't include measurements for the spices because I believe that there's no such thing as too much spice--add how much ever you feel is right!

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Add a little bit more oil or water to your pan if it seems like everything is drying up and give it a good mix. Stir on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.

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Next, add about two tablespoons of tomato paste directly to the pan and give it a mix. Add some more water if you feel that your pan is drying up again. Cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Add a pinch of salt to taste as you mix in the tomato paste.

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Voila! Here are your cooked garbanzo beans, or chole, as they are called in India. Completely healthy Indian food!

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Next, we'll cook the vegetables patties. You can put your garbanzo beans in a bowl and use the same pan. The vegetables patties won't need any spices or flavoring. Add your oil, cooking spray, or water to the pan and let the patties brown for 10-15 minutes, flipping accordingly. 

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While these are cooking, you can work on your cilantro chutney. Add your cilantro, spinach, half a lime's worth of juice, and a pinch of salt to a blender. Add water to thin and get the chutney to your desired consistency. It's that simple.

For the yogurt, add the two cups to a bowl with about two tablespoons of water. Beat the yogurt and water with a spoon so that the yogurt becomes thinner and smoother. This will make it easier to spread across your patties when you assemble your meal.

And that's all the prep! Now it's time to assemble. Take two patties and lay them on a plate. Cover them with about a 1/2 cup worth of yogurt. 

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Spread about half a cup of your cooked garbanzo across your two patties. Top with a tablespoon of your cilantro chutney, and don't forget to garnish with extra chopped cilantro and onion.

Anuva Mittal

Here's the perfect healthy Indian food recipe to beat and satisfy your cravings. "Aloo" tikki chaat minus the guilt but still with all the flavor. I sent my mom a picture of this, and she approved, so if that doesn't convince you to make this, I don't know what else will.