Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Taj Mahal Imports~ Indian Chaat

Taj Mahal Imports is one of my favorite  places in Texas! After all of Mike's stories, it probably doesn't surprise you that Taj Mahal Imports just so happens to be a grocery store with a chaat (Indian Street Food) stand inside. The chaat is composed of multiple flavors and textures that is exciting to the taste buds.  If you are not a fan of spices, mint, cilantro, or tamarind; chaat might not be for you. 
A few weeks after Mike and I moved to Texas, there was a "Ethnic Market Tour" put on by some of my co-workers.  Taj Mahal Imports was on that list; and from that day on, I was hooked on Indian chaat. So hooked that Mike and I would drive to Richardson, TX (~30 minute drive from our house) once every two weeks. 
Bel Puri-The best way to describe bel puri is that it's a mixture of puffed rice, garbanzo beans, deep-fried noodles, cilantro, chopped onions, mixed with a sweet and spicy tamarind sauce.  I'm not doing this dish justice with my description, those are just the ingredients and flavors that I recognized.  I think the chaat stand changes up the recipe because sometimes there are pomegranate seeds or diced tomatoes in this dish. 
Dahi Puri-fried puffed puri (deep-fried flour-based puff) shells filled with a gravy and diced potatoes.  It is topped with a warm garbanzo bean gravy, yogurt, sev, cilantro, chopped tomatoes, onions, a tamarind sauce, and a mint chutney. 
Aloo Tikki-A fried potato patty covered with a warm garbanzo bean filled gravy, and topped with a tamarind sauce, mint chutney, yogurt, and sev (deep-fried noodle pieces).  This is Mike's and my favorite chaat.  It's warm and hits the spot almost like a hearty soup or stew. 

My initial plan was try all the items on the chaat menu, but every time Mike and I went back, we kept ordering the same items.  At $3.50 a plate, this is a great bargain for a quick snack or lunch.  Just do not forget to bring/buy water or a mango lassi (mango yogurt drink) to calm the heat from all the spices. 
A couple of months ago, a smoothie and ice cream shop opened up in Taj Mahal Imports right next to the chaat stand.  We only tried the falooda (an interesting concoction of ice cream, jello, chopped nuts, fruit, vermicelli, and cream), but all those smoothies and snacks look scrumptious. 

Taj Mahal Imports
26 Richardson Heights Ctr Ste C
Richardson, TX 75080
(972) 644-1329


Razzie said...

you should try making Bhel Puri at home! I do it all the time, though its very much my own version, but all the same tastes! Just buy the puffed rice, the puri crisps, and sev. Crush up the puri and add sev and rice puffs. Then I seed a cucumber and chop it along with red onion and tomato, maybe cilantro if I have some. Then mix roughly equal parts tamarind-date chutney and coriander chutney and add some water to thin a little and then stir it all up, it is so delicious. I use SWAD coriander and DEEP tamarind-Date. DEEP also makes a Chutney Mix that is meant for Bhel Puri that looks just like the tamarind date, but I haven't tried it....yay chaat! so delicious....hope all is well!

Mike said...

Sounds great! I think Lauren will definitely try it. She made her own version of Aloo Tiki and it was really good. She didn't fry the potatoes so it was healthier, but it still tasted really good. Scratch that.......Lauren just told me that it wasn't Aloo Tiki....I guess I'll just call it Lauren Chat.

Anonymous said...

The food sounds interesting and exciting. Next time we're in Texas we want to go there.