Chaat masala (Hindi चाट मसाला, Urdu چاٹ مصالہ; also spelled chat masala) is a spice powder mix or masala used in culinary traditions of the Indian Subcontinent, primarily in Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisine. It typically consists of amchoor (mango powder), cumin, coriander, dried ginger, Indian black salt (kala namak), black pepper, asafoetida (hing) and chilli powder. The ingredients are combined and served on a small metal plate, polystyrene plate or a banana leaf, dried and formed into a bowl, at chaat carts, especially in India, Bangladesh and Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan.
Chaat masala has both a sweet and a sour taste. It is used to flavour fast foods of Pakistan and India like bhelpuri, golgappa, aaloo chaat and Dahi puri. It is a spice that can be added to foods and drinks.
Fruit Chaat Masala
Chaat masala is also sprinkled on fruits, fruit, egg toasts and regular salads in Pakistan and northern India. Some spice brands market an alternate spice mix called Fruit Chaat Masala. The Fruit Chaat Masala tastes less of cumin, coriander and ginger, but more of chilli pepper, black salt, amchoor and asafoetida. Street vendors usually mix their own chaat masala, which is sprinkled on the chopped up fruit or fresh vegetables (such as raw daikon in Pakistan) unless the customer asks for it not to be added. Sometimes black salt with chilli powder alone is used.
In Pakistan it is often purchased in large amounts, where it is available in prepackaged form, before the Islamic month of Ramadan as different types of Chaat (especially Fruit Chaat) are prepared at sunset which is the time for the opening of the fast.
- 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds
- 4 tablespoons amchoor (mango powder)
- 3 tablespoons black salt, powdered
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, freshly ground
- ¼ teaspoon asafoetida
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 1½ teaspoons ajwain (carom seeds)
- Set up a flat griddle on medium heat. When hot, put the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds on it.
- Dry roast these ingredients till the seeds begin to turn a little darker and start to give off their aromas. Stir often while roasting, to prevent the seeds from burning.
- When the seeds have roasted, take them off from the pan and spread on a plate to cool.
- When cool, mix the seeds with all the other ingredients in a clean, dry, coffee grinder or food processor and grind till you get a fine, smooth powder. The Chaat Masala is now ready to be used.
- Sprinkle Chaat Masala on almost any green salad for added zing!
- Add a pinch of Chaat Masala to lemonade and stir to give it an instant lift.
- Indian vegetarian dishes taste particularly good with a small garnish of Chaat Masala. After the dish is cooked and you have turned off the heat, sprinkle a few pinches of Chaat Masala over the top of the dish and cover immediately. Let sit for 2-3 minutes and serve.