Irma R., a novice home cook, turns to F&W's Tina Ujlaki with her kitchen questions. This month, the subject is an Indian chef's fried-noodle snack: crunchy, tangy chat.


Dear Tina,

I'm completely enchanted by the chat, a version of the crunchy Indian noodle snack, at the Bread Bar at Tabla in Manhattan. The chef, Floyd Cardoz, gave me the recipe, but I got stuck right away on the ingredient list. What in the world is tamarind chutney? And chat masala? And sev? Where can I get them?
Gratefully yours, Irma


Dear Irma,

I also love that Indian mix of flavors and textures called chat! About the ingredients: Tamarind chutney is a sweet, tangy condiment made from the fruit of the tropical tamarind tree. The sticky pulp is strained to remove the seeds and stringy fibers, then sweetened and enhanced with ginger, chiles and other spices. Chat masala is a spicy seasoning blend that flavors a host of Indian snack foods and salads. It usually includes black salt, which provides smokiness, and amchoor (powdered dried green mango), for tang. Sev are mild, fragrant or fiery snacks made from broken fried chickpea-flour noodles.

All these ingredients are available at Kalustyan's in New York City (123 Lexington Ave; 212-685-3451 or If you want to learn more about Indian ingredients, check out my favorite resource, The Indian Grocery Store Demystified by Linda Bladholm.

Floyd was very generous to share his chat recipe with you; I know you'll also enjoy his recipe for curried cauliflower, so here it is. Best, Tina