Sunday, 27 April 2014

CHAAT MASALA (HOT & TANGY SPICE MIX)


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 Masala
The 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 dressing
3 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 Salt
½ 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!! 

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again! 

45 comments:

  1. ur daughter must have had so much of fun doing the shoot with her mother... :) awesome pics... :) congrats on ur achievement dear, u deserve it!!!

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  2. Wow!!! My mouth is watered as i read this post..!! I love to lick th chaat masala every now and then... me and my father in law ( he too loves this tangy taste) keep on trying new n newer brands for the perfect taste.!! Am going to make this one now and will have his appreciation for free :)
    Thnx a ton !!! :)

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  3. Love those fritters! Lovely clicks!

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  4. Amazing clicks,loved the post

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  5. So I tackled Garam Masala only a few years ago, and I would love to give up boxed chaat masala (Shan, to be exact lol) and make my own homemade mix. I had no idea that Rock Salt was an ingredient! I'll be sure to give this a try as soon as I'm done with the boxed kind.

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  6. Hmm.. sounds good with anything.

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  7. this look really good, great combination.

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  8. Lovely to see the pictures. The mango powder seem not available over here. The masala is really versatile, into this and that for the flavors.

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  9. Wonderful pics! Couldn't help drooling :)

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  10. lovely clicks taruna. this is one spice blend which is a must at home.

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  11. Exquisita rcombinación me gusta mucho una buena propuesta frita,abrazos

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  12. You have taken such beautiful photos. I bet you both had fun! I do like chaat masala but find that I don't use it much (possibly because I'm Australian!). However, I do like it sprinkled on pakoras and have seen many people put in on fruit! (which I found really weird!)

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  13. I know where to come if am planning to make this spice powder at home, btw your model did a wonderful job..

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  14. Really love this post. Sometimes the simplest ingredient is taken for granted. Love the clicks and love how you have shown the different uses for it. Awesome job!!

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  15. Looking at all the delicious recipes you have used the masala; I am so tempted to make it ASAP. Book marking the recipe Taruna

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  16. Congrats Taruna!!! Isn't that fun to shoot with kids? I always buy chaat Masala :(. Now I know that I can rely on your recipe to make some :)

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  17. Omg i was searching for good chat masala and i got it here at the same time..lovely clicks n im sure this is going to a very good recipe.

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  18. Congrats dear....lovely clicks.. chaat masala looks so flavorful

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  19. Is it your doughter in the pics! Love them? I did not know I oculd use chat masal to jazz my lemonade up. Sounds cool! Have a nice holidays :)

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  20. It sounds wonderful! I love the addition of mango powder, unfortunately I'm not sure if I can find it here...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  21. Chatmasala goes with everything. I haven't made any chat masala from scratch sure going to try your recipe. Your model done a wonderful job.

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  22. Amazing pics and what a great spice mix, love the flavors. Goes well with the drink from the last post. I think this would be a great change for the rim of a bloody mary ;-)

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  23. Talk about getting my mouth salivating... I need some of this chaat in my life. :)

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  24. This mix looks fantastic, I would love to use it soon :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  25. Wow I can only imagine the flavor this adds to dishes. I've never tried this before but can't wait to make it. There's one ingredient I'll have to seek out but the rest I'm good for. Thanks for sharing.

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  26. I like how you plan for all your posts...a homemade Chaat masala...could not have asked for more to beat the heat this summer. Love the extra punch this humble chaat masala gives to any Indian dish.Have a great day, hugs.

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  27. Such an interesting mix...love the flavors in it...I am sure that this mix gives a nice kick.
    Hope you are having a great week :D

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  28. This is definitely a mix to kick things up!

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  29. It' sound good sprinkle on everything,I love all spices ingredients in it, and WOW for beautiful Shot, such a gorgeous pictures, sure you two are having fun :)

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  30. Sounds wonderful, but am thinking I can't find the ingredients easily.

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  31. Doesn't this sound good! I'll have to test the heat but I'm eager to give it a try.

    Have a wonderful break!

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  32. Great masala! I love the idea of using this with fritters. Or maybe as part of the mix in the breading for fried chicken. ;-) Really nice -- thanks.

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  33. I love chaat masala and I also like kala namak :)
    Chaat masala really is versatile and good on so many things. Btw, are those mirchi stuffed with imli bhajias? Yum!.

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  34. Congrats on being featured in Food Writers Friday! And thanks for posting this chaat masala - I don't think I would hae ever used it with lemonade - what a wonderful idea!

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  35. I love how many varied uses there are for this one spice mix!

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  36. I learnt something new today. I know Masala but Chaat is ‘to lick’? Makes me real thirsty right now!

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  37. Thanks foe the recipe and congrats on being featured! That's every blogger dream...

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  38. Congratulations on the feature! I really enjoy looking at all of your beautiful pictures. This spice mix looks fantastic. I bet I would love it on some corn on the cob!

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  39. What a lovely spice blend! Not sure if I'm familiar with everything you put in it, but it looks like the combined flavors creates an awesome blend that can be used on just about anything! Great post!

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  40. I have never prepared home made Chaat Masala and yours looks wonderful.
    Love the combination of gorgeous spices and the fantastic versatility of this spice mix.
    Congrats for being featured, a well deserved honor!

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  41. Congratulations on the feature! Wonderful clicks and a great recipe to keep… I love to have chaat masala added to almost everything….

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  42. I love Chaat masala and a homemade option is so good, specially when I'm always runnign out of it but have all the other ingrdients with which I can make it myself :) Lovely pics as always and your daughter is a good model ;-)

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  43. My friend used to deliver chaat masala when she makes it and I loved it so much. Congrats on the feature on FWF! :)

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  44. Congrats on the feature! Great clicks. Home made masalas are always the best one.

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