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6 Underrated Desi Chakna Recipes For Last-Minute Bar Bites

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For the truly desi soul, a rock glass containing an excellent Singleton and some ice would be incomplete without a bowl of masala peanuts sitting at the bar, waiting to be munched on. Chakna, as bar bites are commonly known among the desi liquor aficionados, is basically anything that is sweet and spicy, with a hint of tang that tingles your taste buds. These bar bites are tiny little munchies and include peanuts, fried chickpeas, fried or roasted masala papad and even good old sev. Chakna is also a delightful accompaniment for a glass of slightly sweet cocktails as the spiciness of the dish undercuts the syrupy qualities of the drink for a harmonious blend of flavour.

While masala peanuts full of the flavours of chilli powder, lime juice and chaat masala are a very popular bar bite, several other snacks pair just as well with booze. And for those evenings when you forget to make elaborate snacks, there are some last-minute alternatives you can serve which are just as mouthwatering.

Read on below to know more about some of the underrated chakna varieties that you can serve your guests the next time you find yourself in a hosting fix and need some impromptu ideas:

Soya Sticks Chaat

Just like chickpeas, you can turn soya sticks into the core ingredient for your chakna-making needs and make snazzy soya sticks chaat. Follow the recipe for making masala peanuts or chickpeas salad but replace these with soya sticks. Add only a proportionate amount of lime juice to the dish otherwise the sticks might become too soggy, too quickly.

Mango Salsa And Nachos

When guests arrive at your doorstep on short notice, you can serve nachos and salsa as the perfect chakna. Put a desi twist on the salsa recipe and instead of sliced tomatoes and guac, offer a serving of mango salsa or a simple but utterly delicious homemade mango pickle. In a large bowl, put out all sorts of different nacho flavours for a delightfully fun combination of foods.

mango salsa nachos

Quick Bruschetta 

Make a quick bruschetta out of toast and whatever veggies are available in the fridge to produce a crispy bar bite. Or, you can simply top some toasted baguette slices with cheese, tomatoes, basil and vinegar for a chewy, crunchy snack. Bruschettas are thoroughly underrated as a bar bite alternative but they are so comforting and full of bready heaven that they really pair well with several vodka and tequila-infused cocktails.

Baked Avocado Fries

Forget avocado and toast and embrace the crunchy goodness of baked avocado fries, ideal to munch on while you sip quality beer. You can make this simple dish by coating avocados in breadcrumbs and cheese and pop them in the oven or an air fryer, lathering them in oil. Drop the finished fries onto a plate and serve with sour cream or any other sour and tangy dip.

Cajun Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are always favoured as a bar bite but one underrated hack is to mix and match several flavourings to always come up with something new. Add cajun seasoning to the pan while roasting chickpeas for a quick and easy fix to your chakna needs. Roasted chickpeas can be prepared even when you are short on time. Simply pop them in the oven with your chosen seasoning and let the convection do its trick while you organise your bar.

roasted chickpeas

Masala Makhana

Fox nuts or makhana are a popular snack that can really pair well with your cocktail snack needs. You can either go for the store-bought flavoured makhana packets or jars or simply roast some makhana at home and season it with chilli and cumin powder for a tangy-and-spicy twist. Makhana have been celebrated as a very healthy snack option but they are also crispy and crunchy delights that make for perfect munching.