Lehja's Princess of Kashmir cocktail (Photo by Chenla Ou)
“Once you have a chaat, you should say, ‘Wow, that’s delicious, I love it.’ If all those things don’t come to your mind, it’s not a chaat,” Sunny Baweja says of India’s thoughtfully spiced snacks. The Lehja co-owner and chef creates his own chaat spice blends in the kitchen of his restaurant in Short Pump Town Center, and even shakes one particular confetti of dried mango powder, Himalayan rock salt, pink salt, roasted cumin powder and dried pomegranate-seed powder into a cocktail. Paired with pomegranate- infused vodka, lime and apple — all flavors embraced in the bucolic region of Kashmir — this chaat blend strikes a balance with the drink’s sweet and fruity tones by peppering the cocktail with savory and salty notes.
MAKE IT AT HOME
Princess of Kashmir
By Sunny Baweja of Lehhja
2 ounces of Pearl Pomegranate Vodka
2 lime wedges
2 Granny Smith apple slices, diced small
2 ounces of soda water
2 ounces of ginger ale
1/2 ounce of chaat spices (find chaat masala blends at West End’s Laxmi Palace)
In a shallow plate or bowl, marinate the apples in a splash of soda water with a pinch of Himalayan salt and dried mango powder, respectively, about 30 minutes. Add these components to a shaker and muddle the apples. Squeeze in the fresh lime juice, then add ice cubes, the chaat, vodka and ginger ale. Shake well, then pour over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with an apple slice or a lime wedge and enjoy.
Find more spiced drinks around town, check out the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Richmond magazine's Dine.