Zingy, tangy, slightly-hot chaat masala is the perfect seasoning. It gets its distinctive flavor from the black salt used to make it. Though often used as a spice in cooking, chaat masala is mostly used as a garnish on salads, chaats (a generic name for savory Indian snacks), drinks like Indian lemonade, meals like curries and daals, etc. This recipe for chaat masala makes just under 1 cup of the masala, so multiply the ingredients if you need more.
Make sure to use your homemade chaat masala up within 2 to 3 months of making it, as the ingredients will lose their potency if stored too long. Store your masala in a glass container, in a cool, dry place. Do not store it with other spices as the ingredients in chaat masala (especially the black salt) are highly aromatic and the other spices will take on its aroma. This is a basic recipe but when you've made it a few times and as you become familiar with the ingredients and how they taste with each other, you can also experiment with other combinations of the spices (increasing some and decreasing others) to make your own custom blend!
- 3 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons saunf / fennel seeds
- 4 tablespoons raw mango / amchur powder
- 3 tablespoons powdered black salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper (freshly ground)
- 1/4 teaspoon hing / asafetida powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon dried, powdered mint
- 1 1/2 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 until 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, remove them from the griddle 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 until you get a fine, smooth powder. The chaat masala is now ready to be used.
- Sprinkle chaat masala on almost any green salad for an added kick.
- 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 to 3 minutes and serve. Enjoy!