Chaat Party Has Entered the Party Chat

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By Ketrin Agustine

It’s the sort of tangy, sweet, fiery and crunchy dish you want to assemble rather than cook after a busy day.

A white bowl holds a generous serving of colorful chaat party.
Christopher Simpson for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Good morning. We were out on the water last weekend, chasing striped bass in the Lower Bay south of the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge; along Midland Beach on Staten Island; at Sandy Hook and Romer Shoal in New Jersey; off Breezy Point, in Queens, then east along the Rockaway Peninsula to the beach club we call the Cabanas and finally back into Jamaica Bay.

This took a lot of gas, a lot of time and a toll on our bodies. There was rain and wind. So we laughed hard when the only good fishing we had came at the very end of the day, a few boat lengths from the marina, across from Four Sparrow Marsh near Mill Basin, Brooklyn. What a dumb sport!

For dinner that night, and for you this evening: a chaat party, essentially a no-recipe recipe that Priya Krishna adapted from one in the 2020 cookbook “Chaat,” by Maneet Chauhan and Jody Eddy. It is exactly the sort of tangy, sweet, fiery and crunchy meal you want to assemble rather than cook after a day spent doing something totally enjoyable, which is what those of us who have weekends off work ought to be doing on Sundays.

It also served as a kind of rehearsal for the celebration of Diwali, the Hindu celebration of lights, on Nov. 12. New York Times Cooking has loads of recipes for the holiday, including Naz Deravian’s new one for gulab jamun, a South Asian dessert of fried dough steeped in a fragrant rosewater, cardamom and saffron syrup, and Christina Morales’s adaptation of Palak Patel’s recipe for onion bhajiya, fried onion fritters. Can’t wait.

As for the rest of the week. …

David Tanis’s recipe for tofu Milanese is a fantastic riff on the Italian classic generally made with chicken, pork or veal. Serve with broccoli rabe sautéed in olive oil with lots of garlic and you may discover a favorite new weeknight meal.

If you have the time to caramelize a lot of onions, which you can do quite easily in a slow cooker while you’re at work or doing other things, you can have Ali Slagle’s fantastic French onion grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner. (If you’re pressed for time, try using kimchi in place of the onions. Seriously.)

Mark Bittman adapted this recipe for baked mustard-herb chicken legs almost 20 years ago from one by the San Francisco chef Gary Danko. It is, Mark said at the time, “a model of simplicity.” True statement, and delicious as well.

I’ve been deploying those small boxes of sweet cherry tomatoes for easy weeknight dinners for a while now, never more successfully than with Melissa Clark’s recipe for a cherry tomato Caesar salad. It’s a juicy meal on its own, but you could pair it with a small steak if you’re famished.

And then you can head into the weekend with Eric Kim’s new recipe for Buffalo salmon with celery slaw, which is really simple to make and delivers huge flavor when you’re done.

There are thousands and thousands more recipes waiting for you at New York Times Cooking. You need a subscription to read them. I’ve mentioned that before and here’s why: Subscriptions make this whole endeavor possible. Thank you for yours, if you have one. If you don’t, thank you for taking one out.

Operators are standing by, should you find yourself at odds with our technology. Just write and someone will get back to you. Or you can write to me in pique or pleasure: I can’t respond to every letter. There are many of them! But I read every one I receive.

Now, it’s nothing to do with chèvre or persimmons, but you may enjoy Silas House’s profile of the Appalachian singer-songwriter Tyler Childers in the Bitter Southerner.

Here’s Jonathan Coe on British humor, in the London Review of Books. Explains a lot.

In The New York Times, do read Michael Govan’s appreciation of the artist Robert Irwin, who died on Oct. 25 at age 95.

Finally, a deep cut for the hockey nerds: Nick Yetto on the history of the Zamboni machine, in Smithsonian Magazine. Enjoy your cooking this week. I’ll return on Friday.


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