A baked crispy curly kale that is layered with mouth-watering Indian spices for a delicious Indian kale chaat. It is a great appetizer that also happens to be healthy!
A healthier recreation of Rasika's Palak Chaat
Rasika is an iconic restaurant that makes hip Indian aunties and Washington elites swoon. The palak (spinach) chaat is one of the signature appetizers you can’t leave Rasika without trying. Each spinach leaf is coated in a thin chickpea batter and flash fried to perfection.
I wanted to recreate this appetizer but make it more accessible to those who may not want to deal with the fuss of frying with hot oil! So I present to you my oven-baked crispy kale chaat, which is very much inspired by Rasika’s palak chaat, but is much healthier because it is baked instead of fried.
The curly kale, unlike the palak (spinach), easily crisps into kale chips in the oven and tastes quite similar to Rasika's dish. To achieve the Indian flavors, the leafy greens are seasoned with spices like black salt, cumin, and Kashmiri chili, which make it taste so delicious.
Once the kale is crisped, it is transformed into the Indian street food snack called chaat by layering in fresh veggies, a combo of a zesty yogurt and tangy tamarind sauces, and store-bought fried Indian chickpea snacks like boondi or sev which makes this a delicious appetizer.
What kale variety is best for kale chips?
The best varieties for kale chips are curly kale or lacinato (also known as dinosaur and tuscan) kale. The leaves of these varieties are hearty enough that they will crisp in the oven rather than steam. Avoid kale varieties like Chinese kale or baby kale as their leaves are too delicate to crisp in the oven.
In addition, in recipe testing, I found that fresh green kale that is sold by the stem is better for kale chips than kale leaves sold in a bag. Although the bagged kale will still work, the leaves are a bit too small for the ideal chip and often contain tough stems that are bitter and don't crisp, whereas the fresh kale gives you more control to tear the leaves larger and avoid the stems.
If you do choose to use bagged kale, make sure to go through the bag of kale and remove any tough stems that may be present. In addition, keep a watchful eye when the kale is in the oven because the bagged kale will likely crisp faster than the fresh kale since they are smaller in size.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is best to bake kale at a low temperature like 300F in the oven. I've tested crisping up the kale at various temperatures but a low temperature gives plenty of leeway so that the kale leaves don't burn.
Curly kale or lacinato kale (also known as dino kale and tuscan kale) is best for kale chips as they are studier varieties that crisp well in the oven.
Yes the kale can be baked and crisped 1-2 days ahead of time. If you go down this route, make sure the kale is completely cool before storing it and line your storage container with paper towels to absorb any moisture that may accumulate. Lastly, leave the crisped kale out at room temperature and do not refrigerate.
If the kale chips have gotten slightly soft in those days, you can pop it back into the oven at 300F for 3-5 minutes until they crisp back up.
Massage the kale with oil and properly space the kale in the oven. If you overcrowd the pan with kale, the kale will steam rather than crisp.
Indian Crispy Curly Kale Chaat Appetizer
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 2 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegetarian
A baked crispy curly kale that is layered with mouth-watering Indian spices for a delicious Indian Kale chaat. It is a great appetizer that also happens to be healthy!
- 8oz. Curly Kale or Lacinato Kale, stems removed washed and dried
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1.5 teaspoon Kashmiri Chili Powder or 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- ½ teaspoon black salt
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ cup (~60g) red onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup (~75g) roma tomatoes finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons tamarind date chutney
- ½ cup whole milk greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped (Optional)
- ¼ cup boondi or thin sev snacks (Optional)
Crisp up the Curly Kale
- Preheat the oven to 300F. Remove kale leaves from the tough stems and tear into large pieces. Pat kale with a paper towel to make sure leaves are completely dry. This is important because if the kale is wet it will steam rather than crisp in the oven.
- In a large bowl, add your kale and evenly drizzle 1 Tbs of olive oil to coat. Use your hands to massage the kale with oil to really infuse the kale with oil.
- Sprinkle Kashmiri chili powder, black salt, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, and cumin powder onto kale mixture and use your hands again to evenly coat all of the kale leaves in spices.
- In a large parchment-lined baking sheet, spread kale in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd. Bake on the center rack for 15 minutes and then rotate your pan. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes while keeping a close eye on your kale to make sure it doesn’t burn. You are looking for your kale to curl up at the edges and crisp but are not looking for it to brown which will impart a bitter taste to your kale.
- Remove kale from the oven and keep uncovered until completely cooled.
Make Yogurt Sauce
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, sugar, cumin powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cover and refrigerate.
- Pile your kale in a large serving bowl and evenly distribute red onions and tomatoes throughout. Drizzle yogurt sauce and tamarind chutney (loosening chutney with 1-2 Tbs of water if too thick to drizzle) over veggies. Garnish with cilantro and boondi. Serve and enjoy immediately!
- Curly and lacinato kale work best for this recipe. Avoid baby kale or Chinese kale for this recipe.
- Make sure to check on your kale periodically as different ovens run hotter/cooler than others.
- Pre-torn kale that is sold in bags tend to be smaller in size and may take less time in the oven to crisp
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 35
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: Indian Crispy Curly Kale Chaat Appetizer
Shri Repp says
Omg, so good. I love kale chips and this was such a fun way to turn them into a delicious side dish! The chili powder gave the kale a nice spicy kick and the yogurt sauce tamed it back down. Five out of five stars, will definitely be making it again. 💚
Shri Repp says
Yay! I'm so glad that you liked the kale chaat Karin 🙂
Hungryhouseindia review says
Wow, Kale Chaat is so tasty. I read your article and it's so easy I can make it. Indian Crispy Curly Kale Chaat Appetizer is awesome. Now, I can make it.