The lowly hotdog has gotten an upgrade. The brainchild of Pervaiz Shallwani, journalist, trained chef and food writer, Chaat Dogs elevate the BBQ experience for foodies with an adventurous palate who are lovers of Desi-American fusion. The hot dogs pack a spicy punch, come on a ghee-toasted bun and are topped with chaat, a South Asian street food snack.
“[Chaat Dogs are] a mashup of my whole life, in one,” Shallwani says. “I am what you call an American Desi. I have parts of my Pakistani heritage and my Chicago upbringing. Hot dogs are a huge thing in Chicago, something my father fell in love with when he came here. Chaat was very different for me, it was something my parents ate, but I didn’t eat. I don’t remember eating it until my late teens.”
Chaat encompasses various savory snacks sold on the streets of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It often includes some kind of fried dough with seasonings that provide spicy, tangy or salty flavors.
Shallwani first had the idea to make a chaat dog at a hot dog cook-off in 2017 at a friend’s birthday celebration.
“I entered the hot dog cookoff and for ours, we teamed up to make a bhel puri hot dog. [Bhel puri] is a kind of chaat. It has potato and bhel puri mix. My wife made a tamarind chutney [for the hot dogs] and we also had green chutney on it — it was a huge hit. We ended up winning,” he says, “It was always in the back of my mind. This spring, we started making them again for friends and family and the reaction has been fabulous. So we thought, ‘Let’s do an event.’”
On Saturday, Nov. 5, Shallwani will be hosting his first Chaat Dogs event in Brooklyn from 12 to 3 p.m. at Endless Life Brewing, which will provide custom beer and a nonalcoholic seltzer to pair with the dogs. Anarchy in a Jar will provide a special sampling of its hot sauces.
Three kinds of Chaat Dogs will be offered. One finished with aloo chaat (potato, onion, garlic, green chutney, tamarind, plum chutney and more) and others with roasted corn and poblano peppers and raw apples.
“Hopefully, this is the beginning of a larger part of exploring not just mine but other people’s assimilation into American cooking. Whether it’s dishes that your grandma created or your parents, sisters or cousins created, [I hope people can begin] taking stuff from back home and from here and making it their own. That’s American cuisine,” Shallwani says.
The event is limited to 50 tickets (there were just 12 left at time of publishing) so learn more and reserve yours here ($33.69). Vegetarian dogs will be available with advance notice.