In the Southern regions of Asia, Chaat Masala has long been a popular way of seasoning food. The name itself translates as a reference to seasoned savory snacks. Chaat Masala has many different variations of recipes yet has a few staple spices. For instance, you can usually find asafetida, amchoor, and black salt that is also native to this region.
Chaat Masala is more than just these three spices, however, and for this recipe we also combine cumin, black pepper, ginger, fennel, cayenne, paprika, and a few others! Personally, I enjoy this variation the best because I love the heat that the cayenne provides as well as the savory, bitter, sour, and acidic elements that the other spices add. You will also notice when you make this that I include just a pinch of salt.
Salt really helps round out the general flavor of the blend as a whole, while also accentuating a few spices that could otherwise go unnoticed.
In addition to the extra ingredient, you will also see that this recipe requires toasting a few of the spices. There is no need to be intimidated if you have never toasting spices. The most important thing to remember when doing this is to not let the spices burn. When in doubt, pull them out! Even a light toast is better than nothing.
And while you could skip toasting them altogether, I highly recommend you do as the flavor is not near as impressive if you don’t do the toasting. Good luck!
- 4 teaspoons amchoor powder
- 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon black salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1/2 teaspoon ajwain seed
It is crucial in this recipe to toast any whole spices that are listed for Chaat Masala. This allows for certain essential oils of these spices to be released and the create an incredible flavor.
Do this by gathering your whole spices (in this case cumin seed, fennel, and ajwain).
Put a skillet on medium heat and allow to warm up.
When it is warm, place the spice in the skillet. Roll them around every 10 seconds or so for about 45 seconds to 1 minute so they do not burn. (It is important that the skillet is dry, YOU DO NOT NEED TO ADD OIL TO TOAST THESE SPICES).
Once the aromas are apparent and they have toasted for a minute or two, pour these spices in a bowl and allow them to cool for about 2 minutes. Next, place them in a spice grinder or mortar and grind.
Transfer to a small mixing bowl. Then add in the other spices and mix well.
Chaat Masala can be sprinkled over roasted chicken, savory baked goods, cooked vegetables, and even over fruit.