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Chaat Masala - Simple and authentic




Do you love the taste of Chaat Masala, but want a fresher, healthier alternative to mixing store-bought? This simple recipe has been years in the making, and it tastes just like store-bought (if not better)! And the best part about it, you only need 8 essential ingredients to make your own Chaat Masala!


It was my personal quest to create the distinctive taste of good Chaat Masala as I know it from India, using Indian spices that are readily available here in Germany. After umpteen attempts of testing and tweaking, I finally found the perfect ingredient ratio for me to make it taste just like store bought, but with fresher, lighter flavors. And as a bonus, no additives, preservatives or excess sodium are used!


What is Chaat Masala actually?

Chaat Masala is a spice powder made from ingredients like dried mango powder, dried pomegranate seeds and black salt. It is the essential ingredient in Indian street food like Chana Chaat, Fruit Chaat, Papdi Chaat and yes, anything else with the word "Chaat". Not only is it perfect for street snacks, but it can also be used to enhance anything with a hint of sour, spicy flavor. For example, Raita, Chana Masala and even Biryani.


And how does Chaat Masala taste?

Chaat Masala has a very distinct and easily recognizable flavor. I would describe it as a complex blend of tart, spicy, salty, tangy and sour with a hint of sweetness.


The 8 essential ingredients of Chaat Masala

Black Salt (Kala Namak) - Black salt is usually pink in color and is a sulfur-containing salt extracted from salt mines in the Himalayas. If you can't find it, substitute it with pink salt or sea salt.

Dry mango powder (Amchur) - A key ingredient. As the name suggests, it's made from dried, unripe mangoes and gives chaat masala its characteristic tartness.

Dried Pomegranate Seeds (Anardana) - For best results, I recommend using seeds instead of powder. The seeds are fresher and contribute to a better flavor.

Black Peppercorns - I almost made black peppercorns an essential ingredient, but red chili powder (an essential ingredient) gives a stronger "ka-pow" flavor, and I wanted to keep the ingredients to a minimum.

Sugar - I found that sugar give a good balance for the Black Peppercorns used. MDH Chaat Masala (the brand I compared my version to) also contains it.

Kashmiri Chili Powder - Kashmiri chili powder adds the essential spice / heat element that balances the tart flavors.

Roasted Cumin (Bhuna Jeera) - Roasting Cumin is important to preserve the distinct flavor.

Garam Masala - It adds more depth to the Chaat Masala.


What is the difference between Chaat Masala and Garam Masala?

Chaat masala and Garam masala are both Indian spice blends, but have two completely different flavour profiles. For example, a comparison in Mexican cooking might be Taco seasoning versus Tajin seasoning.


Garam masala typically contains spices that are not the focus of Chaat Masala, such as Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon and Coriander seeds. Likewise, black salt, dried mango powder, and dried pomegranate seeds are not typically found in Garam Masala


How can I store Chaat Masala?

Store the powder in a small, airtight spice jar or container. It will last 6-8 weeks before losing freshness. Since we don't use preservatives, it tends to get a little lumpy. Just shake or break up clumps as needed.


How can I use Chaat Masala?

Apart from using it in street food like Dahi Vada, Bhelpuri, Pani Puri etc, here are some everyday uses for Chaat masala:

  • Sprinkled on French fries.

  • Rubbed on corn on the cob with a little lime

  • As a spice for frying vegetables

  • Sprinkled on fruit

  • Salad dressing


Ingredients for 42 g

  • 4 tbsp (30 g) Cumi n seeds (Jeera)

  • 4 tbsp (30 g) dried green mango powder (Amchur)

  • 2 tbsp (16 g) dried pomegranate seeds (Anardana)

  • 2 ½ tsp (14 g) black salt powder (Kala Namak)

  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder

  • ½ tsp Black Peppercorns

  • 1 ½ tsp Cane Sugar

  • ½ tsp Garam masala

Instructions

Roast the Cumin seeds in a pan without oil on medium heat for about 1-2 minutes until the flavors develop and the seeds turn dark brown. Stir constantly so they do not burn.Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, put the remaining ingredients in the spice grinder or mortar. After cooling, add the roasted Cumin seeds.

Grind to a fine powder and shake the spice grinder or collect the powder in the mortar to distribute the powder evenly.

Transfer to an airtight container or screw-top jar.


Tips

  • The spice mixtures should be stored in a dark place to preserve the essential oils.

  • If Kashmiri Chili powder is not available, simply substitute with Smoked Paprika powder.

  • You can prepare Anardana yourself by drying the pomegranate seeds in the sun for a few days or in the oven for 1-2 hours at a low temperature setting such as 160 degrees (at top and bottom heat).





I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued. Feel free to give me feedback if you would like to share your cooking accomplishments or have a suggestion for improvement. I appreciate any kind feedback. Whether via the comment function, email, Facebook or Instagram (best tagged with #heutemalindisch and @heutemalindisch, then your cooking success can also inspire others)..

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