'Chaiwali' in Harlem serving up crunchy kale burgers

HARLEM (WABC) -- In Neighborhood Eats, the search for a perfect cup of tea resulted in a new restaurant in Harlem.

The owner of this restaurant wasn't in the food world before opening "Chaiwali", but she's immersed in it now with her very own restaurant that serves among other things, chai.

"Chaiwali" is located at 274 Lenox Avenue, just off of 124th Street in Harlem.

"I just was seeking first, a great cup of chai," said Anita Trehan, owner of Chaiwali.

When Trehan couldn't find the perfect cup of chai tea she opened a "Chaiwali" a place tea, food, and company in the heart of Harlem in an old brownstone. Two floors are devoted to the restaurant.

"We just followed our heart, it really was about making this place a temple for the food," Trehan said.

"It's quite lovely to sit here with a friend or whomever and have great food and enjoy it," a customer said.

"I like everything about it. The hospitality, it's excellent," another customer said.

The food is Indian inspired flatbread, smoked eggplant, vindaloo lamb chops, and okra fries.

There are strong flavors with some very healthy options, like avocado toast and the kale burger.

"It's really healthy, but sensual, you bite into it and you get layers of flavor," Trehan said.

Trehan starts with potatoes that she boils and smashes, and flavors with ginger, cumin, and turmeric. That's mixed with fresh, chopped kale and binded with a chickpea flour batter, with even more spiced like cilantro. The patties are deep fried and served on a bun made locally. It's unlike any burger around.

"It's brought something different to the neighborhood. It's a very healthy alternative to the choices here," a customer said.

Much of the food is inspired by Trehan's own family.

"I think there's something beautiful about that, designing a space around what nourishes your family to nourish other families," Trehan said. It's a very cosmopolitan group of people who live here. In the five months I've been here, I've learned as much from Harlem as I've learned from my food all these years. I chose Harlem and I'm so glad I did."

Chaiwali's Crunchy Kale Burger
For approximately six kale burgers

Smashed Potatoes
Boil three medium to large Yukon potatoes.
Peel & smash potatoes for a rough texture with a spatula. In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil, when hot sizzle half teaspoon each of whole cumin, fresh ground ginger, turmeric powder, red chili pepper flakes, a squeeze of lemon and salt to taste. Add potatoes and mix with the spice mixture thoroughly. Keep aside.

Chickpea Batter
One & half cups chickpea flour (gluten free and available online or at Indian grocery stores). Add half teaspoon each of turmeric powder, mango powder if available, chopped cilantro, fresh ground ginger & garlic, red pepper flakes, chaat masala spice mixture (Indian store or online), whole cumin and salt. Combine all the flour, spices and water to make a smooth batter of pancake consistency (mix well to remove lumps).

In a separate bowl combine two cups of chopped de-stemmed Kale, with some fresh cilantro. Mix the kale with the seasoned boiled smashed potatoes and the batter to form a patty. Form kale burger patties in your palm & deep fry.

Serve burger on a warm toasted Challah bun layered with chopped avocadoes seasoned with salt & lime, shredded lettuce greens, pickled onions & your favorite sauce. We serve it with our own house-made cilantro chutney drizzled over the burger patty.

For more information on the restaurant, please visit: http://www.chaiwali.com/ null
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