Chaat masala is a spice mixture that is popular in North India. I used it years ago before I met my wonderful South Indian husband who had minimal exposure to it. My North Indian friends used it often to flavor simple garnishes and enhance a meal. The other day I though it would be a good idea to try something new and expand my spice blend repertoire.

 

The term “chaat masala” translates from Hindi to English as “licking spice.” It is most often used to energize the flavor of chaat, a popular dish made with chickpeas, yogurt, potatoes and tomatoes, sold by vendors on the streets of North India, hence its name. The key ingredients are amchoor powder (from dried green mangoes), Indian black salt (with its pungent flavor), red chile powder and cumin that, when ground together, create a salty and sour taste. Various spice combinations are added to each recipe for chaat masala to give it the signature flavor of the chef. Chaat masala is usually added to a dish just before it is served.


How do you make chaat masala?

Making chaat masala at home is one of the easiest things to do. Simply dry roast the spices, then grind everything together. My recipe for chaat masala has a few more ingredients but I think you will find it lives up to the name “licking spice.”

 

Ann’s Chaat Masala Recipe

 

1/4 cup coriander seeds

Chaat Masala is used in a variety of dishes for its tasty tang.

Chaat Masala is used in a variety of dishes for its tasty tang.

3 Tbs cumin seeds

1 Tbs ajwain seeds

1 tsp black peppercorns

6-7 dried red chiles

1 1/2 Tbs dried mango powder

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp asafetida

1 1/2 Tbs black salt

1 tsp salt

 

1. One at a time, dry roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ajwain seeds and peppercorns in a skillet over medium-low heat for a few minutes, just until the aroma rises and they begin to brown. Let them cool.

 

2. Remove the stems from the dried red chiles and break them into pieces. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together. Grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
 

Tips: 

– Store in an airtight container.

– Indian black salt must be used to get the correct flavor.

 

How can I use chaat masala?

I like to sprinkle a bit of chaat masala on salads, marinated onions, raita, roasted meats and Tikka Chicken. With a bit of lime, it is a tasty accompaniment to fresh fruit. Also, it is heavenly on roasted peanuts and cashews. Believe it or not, I like it sprinkled on crackers and potato chips. People even add a pinch to buttermilk or sprinkle it on dosas, omelets and fried snacks. Since it is a simple spice mix to use, the uses are unlimited. Once you taste it you will find your own uses for it.
 

Where can I buy chaat masala?

You can buy chaat masala at any Indian grocery store. Making it at home yields a fresher spice mix. Using my recipe has a livelier and zippier taste with a more dynamic taste dimension. I prefer to make my own because I like to experiment with different spice combinations and it is an extremely easy mix to make. 

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

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