Crispy Chaat masala tofu salad with tamarind chutney and yoghurt dip

29 May

Crispy Chaat masala tofu salad with tamarind chutney and yoghurt dip

Crispy Chaat masala tofu salad with tamarind chutney and yoghurt dip

I was 26, but came weeping childishly down the stairs of our new build home at that time, flaccid, tousled and seeking warmth and comfort and really, an escape. I discharged my strains in barely comprehensible trickles, “I don’t want to study any more I’m just too tired”.

I drooped into my husband’s embrace, “I don’t wanna do it, I don’t want to”. Working full time and taking three papers of my final post graduate exams was proving too much. My palms and arms were stained with the colours of inducing some sort of excitement through pens and my hair flopped in half greasy protest, threatening an invitation for pimples. I felt the cool of the house and it began to calm me, the heat escaped my forehead and cheeks and diffused some of the tension. I have this strange habit of keeping the fan heater close to me whilst I am studying you see, even when it isn’t that cold. Maybe it insulates me from external distraction.

I whimpered to my husband that I wanted to wear nice clothes, not these vests and tracksuit bottoms with thick cosy socks that are suited for hibernation. I told him that I wanted to socialize and have fun and go for dinner, not be tied to my books and notes. I told him that I did not want to fail…and the sound of fatigue escalated. He said all the right things, about it being temporary and that nothing worth having comes easily.

In the exam hall, my eyes were sore and head foggy. Emotional, depleted and almost without hope, I listened to my peers as they waited for the rest of the students to be seated. “I don’t even care anymore because I am so tired”, said one. “I just hope the stuff I want comes up”. All I wanted was a hot soak in the bath and cuddles. But you know what? I nailed that paper, because there is always room for a little bit more, if you want to find it.  

Crispy Chaat masala tofu salad with tamarind chutney and yoghurt dip

The reason I am telling you this story is because it is how I felt over the last week or so. I am very tired. Of course I am a bit older and wiser now, so I have more of a toolbox. I won’t lie, I did have a day or two of bubbling over but then, a lovely lady prompted me to find a little bit more. Lovely lady, I know you will read this. Thank you.

I thought about what it is that actually makes me happy. Not what I think I should achieve, work for or do. I took a social media break. I baked a cake in my new oven. I stopped talking to people that inspired doubt. I livened up my sense with chaat.

Chaat is a combination of ingredients and flavors that tantalizes the senses. It is a mix of cool, warm, crisp and soft. The chaat masala itself is peppery, pungent and spiky. There is no food better at livening up the senses. Chaat masala is readily available in supermarkets in the Indian section, or in Indian stores. The tamarind chutney is ready bought and offers sweet and sour tastes without the sharpness. I have mixed it with the yogurt to give cool tang. You have vegetarian salad with a bit of naughtiness here, go on…life is short.


200g Asparagus boiled or steamed until barely tender

150g radish, thinly sliced

250g firm tofu, cut into 3-4 cm cubes

8 heaped tablespoons of corn flour

2 tbsp. chaat masala

Oil for deep frying

4 dessert spoons of plain natural yoghurt

2 dessert spoons of tamarind chutney


  1. Heat the oil for frying and in the meantime, drain the tofu and envelop it between sheets of kitchen paper to drain off excess moisture
  2. Mix together the corn flour and Chaat masala.
  3. Gently roll the tofu in the corn flour to coat it and then drop them into the oil when it is hot enough and fry until the cubes are golden and crisp. Place them onto some kitchen paper to drain off any excess moisture.
  4. Make the dip by mixing together the tamarind chutney and yoghurt
  5. Assemble the salad and serve it whilst the tofu is still hot. You will feel your mouth tingle!


27 Responses to “Crispy Chaat masala tofu salad with tamarind chutney and yoghurt dip”

  1. simplyvegetarian777 May 29, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    I hope you feel better now after this tofu chaat break :). Sometimes, all the negativity and aggression gets burnt in that deep fryer and comes out the yummyness singing glories :).

  2. Shruti May 30, 2014 at 12:42 am #

    Thank you so much for this yummy salad !! My son wouldn’t have the radish any other way other than this… !!

    • Deena Kakaya May 30, 2014 at 8:35 am #

      Hi Shruti, I’m so glad you like the salad. Great that your son eats radish, mine won’t touch it x

  3. Deb May 30, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    The activity of cooking and creating always calms my worries and soothes my anxiety. Thank you for sharing the marvelous recipe!

  4. Elaine @ foodbod May 30, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Sometimes a break from the world and from certain people along with time in the kitchen puts the world right. Hope you’re okay xx

  5. kellie@foodtoglow May 30, 2014 at 7:04 am #

    Oh, how I empathise. When I was doing my Masters way back in Neolithic times – pre-Internet and with clunky computers – on the final draft my computer died, taking my 33,000 words with it. Somehow I found the strength to pick up my crumpled self and march down to the medical library and start again. And you know what? It was better.

    It sounds like you are made of strong stuff on the inside and you will weather the emotional storms that pop up through no fault of your own. Keep strong. Keep chaating (Lol). Lovely and comforting recipe for solace seekers and pleasure seekers alike.Sometimes a little deep-fried comfort is just what you need.

    • Deena Kakaya May 30, 2014 at 8:34 am #

      Oh my goodness I remember those pre Internet days! I first used email in my undergraduate fresher year at university. That you mustered it up and wrote that 33, 000 word thesis again says so much about you that does not surprise me but makes me smile.

      Thank you Kellie, for being so lovely and that you approve of this recipe. The tongue tingling sensations in this recipe lifted me 😉 xx

  6. duodishes May 30, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Stress and overwhelming events can really suck the wind out of you. You did just the thing by decompressing in the ways that work best for you. Cooking is one of those things for many.

  7. prachi agarwal May 30, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

    looks yummy can i take a bite………..

    • Deena Kakaya June 1, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      It is yummy Prachi! This recipe offers several bites 😉

  8. matchamochimoo May 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    Deena, I am so pleased that I always get surprise when I read your recipe, thank you!

  9. Anita Menon May 31, 2014 at 7:48 am #

    Only people who are focused and committed to do well in whatever endeavor they take on, feel frazzled and stressed. But then they do very well. Better than most.b
    i hope you enjoy your break with this awesome sounding tofu salad. I love chaat masala on literally everything!

    • Deena Kakaya June 1, 2014 at 7:41 am #

      Oh thank you Anita. I’m just trying to move forwards without measuring myself in the way I am always doing.

      I’m a sucker for chaat 😉 x

  10. Aneela Mirchandani June 1, 2014 at 3:34 am #

    Another creative combination! Where do you get your ideas Deena!

    • Deena Kakaya June 1, 2014 at 7:40 am #

      Hi Aneela, thank you so much, I’m
      Very flattered by your words. I let my taste buds and tummy guide me 😉

  11. Katie @ Whole Nourishment June 1, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    You are a great example for other young girls who need to see that it’s okay to experience the range of feelings but still be empowered and proactive enough to think about yourself, taking care of yourself and going after what truly makes you happy! The crispy and spiced tofu pairing with tamarind chutney sounds amazing, Deena!

    • Deena Kakaya June 1, 2014 at 7:39 am #

      Ah Katie, thank you so much. It’s been 8 years since that exam paper but the memory is still fresh. X

  12. Caroline Taylor June 1, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    I love the sound of this, that tofu looks great.

    • Deena Kakaya June 1, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

      It’s lovely to hear from you Caroline, and I’m so glad that you like the look of this. Thank you x


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