Summer seems like the appropriate time to upload a post on Chaat Masala. A sprinkle of this salty, tangy, spicy, earthy, pungent, lip smacking spice mix peps up a fruit salad or garden salad. It’s a staple in almost all Indian street foods such as Dahi Vada or Paalak Patta Chaat. And why just street foods, it is a must in most Indian households. Indians relish it sprinkled on their snacks or adding it to their beverages such as a chilled glass of Lemonade. Add a dash to the fritters or French fries or corn on cob and you are good to go. Why not try it for yourself and find your own creative ways to enjoy it!
My family is sort of addicted to it. I often catch them licking pinches of it time and again. It is so potent that you just need a dash of it and so the literal meaning of chaat is ‘to lick’ and masala means spice in Hindi. It not just adds flavor to the food but also sort of fine tunes it when added to a finished curry, adding just the right tang. Add it to curries especially dry vegetable preparations (post cooking) and take the taste to the next level. I make it a point to add it to the potato bhaji or Bengal gram curry. It’s like adding a herb at the end of cooking, similar to a garnish, if I may say so.
Spike your Lemonade with a dash of Chaat MasalaThe key ingredients, in my view, are what make the Chaat Masala different from other spice mixes i.e. the combination of asafoetida, black salt or rock salt (Kaala Namak) and dry mango powder (Aamchur). Not many people like the taste of the pungent rock salt but it gives a unique tang and complexity when added to this spice mix along with the tart aamchur. Same goes for asafoetida. This spice is pretty strong one and when I add it to the spice mixes (just as I did for this Pineapple Jal Jeera), I usually lightly roast it to mellow down its flavors. It then blends beautifully in the spice mix. With the goodness of so many wonderful spices, this spice mix is a very good digestive and helps with stomach disorders.
The basic components of chaat masala are dry mango powder, rock salt, chili powder and asafoetida however there are many variations to this spice mix. The store brought ones have coriander seeds (साबुत धनिया) and cumin seeds (जीरा) besides fennel seeds (सौंफ) and carrom seeds (अजवायन). Make your own pick and I always believe just like clothes, food is a matter of personal taste and therefore feel free to play with the ingredients. There is no 'authentic recipe' as such...it’s about what suits and pleases our individual palates. This chaat masala is the way we like it...basic and simple.We, mother-daughter, had such fun shooting for this post that I have ended up uploading so many pics and had it been for her, there would have been even more!!
I used the following ratio of ingredients...
For a change, try sprinklig Chaat Masala to pep up your salad instead of a salad dressing3 tbsp Dry Mango Powder (आमचूर)2 tbsp Rock Salt (काला नमक)1 tsp Degi Mirch (देगी मिर्च पाउडर) or Paprika (adjust the heat)
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
½ tsp Regular Salt½ tsp Dried Mint leaves (crushed or powdered)¼ tsp Asafoetida (हींग)
Dry roast the cumin seeds in a pan. Turn off the heat and transfer them to a plate or bowl. In the same pan add the asafoetida and dry roast it for just a few seconds in the residual heat of the pan. Remove from heat and add it to the cumin seeds. Using a mortar and pestle grind the asafoetida and cumin seeds to powder. Add dry mango powder, rock salt, regular salt, mint powder and degi mirch and mix them well with a spoon.
Jazz up the fritters with Chaat Masala
Transfer to a jar and then close the lid tightly. Store at a cool place. The chaat masala will stay fresh for approximately one month.Note: Make small batches of Chaat Masala so that you are able to use it with in a month's time and enjoy the freshness and aroma of the spices.
Note: The color of the chaat masala will depend on the amount of chili powder used. Note: To learn about the spices used in this Chaat Masala, check out my post on Indian Spices Part I & Indian Spices Part II
I am surprised how I missed sharing this with you earlier...Yours truly was featured at Food Writers Friday. It was indeed an honor to be featured along with so many amazing bloggers. Thanks Helene!
The next post will most likely be uploaded by mid-May as I intend to take a short break and spend time with my family during my daughter's summer vacations. Happy Summer Holidays!!
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