Tangy, sour, and not to mention strong, chaat masala is one seasoning powder that packs a punch of taste and flavor. It owes its unique flavor to the black salt that is one of its main ingredients.
Even though it is used to make various curries and dishes, it is also popularly used as a seasoning powder in various chaats like masala chat, salads, and Indian drinks.
What Is Chaat Masala?
Chaat masala is a flavorful mix of tangy, sour, and hot spices that add instant flavor to any dish it is added to. The spice is used commonly in Pakistani and Indian foods.
What makes this masala stand out from the rest of the masala brigade? Well, the strong flavors of mango powder, black salt, and asafoetida give the chaat masala its distinctive flavor and taste.
Interesting History Of Chaat Masala
So how did this unique blend of spices make its way into our world and then ultimately into our kitchens? Legend has it that it was formulated by the Mughul emperor Shah Jahan's chefs during the 17th century. As fate would have it, the Emperor fell ill and had to eat lighter and smaller meals. His cooks devised the famous 'chaat,' consisting of spicy, tangy Indian snacks known as papdi chaat and bhel puri.
Accompanying these dishes was the magical chaat masala seasoning that was sprinkled onto these snacks to increase their flavor. Fast forward to now, this age-old masala is now used as a star ingredient in various curries, drinks, and snacks throughout South East Asia.
According to some, it was introduced as a garam masala substitute.
What Does Chaat Masala Contain?
So what are the magic ingredients that blend to form this lip-smacking spice powder? Chat masala contains a variety of spices ranging from coriander, mango powder, and cumin. It also has black salt, asafoetida, black pepper, and chili powder.
Just like any other spice blend, there are no hard and fast rules regarding which spices should be added or not. Its recipes vary from one maker to another. However, every recipe's final product has a strong, distinctive flavor due to the black salt and mango powder that is added.
How To Make Chaat Masala At Home?
Did you know you can make your own chaat masala at home by using simple ingredients lying around in your kitchen? Without wasting any time, let's dig into the chaat masala recipe:
Chat masala ingredients:
- Ajwain seeds/ carom seeds: 1 ½ teaspoon
- Cumin seeds: 3 tablespoons
- Dried mint powder: 1 teaspoon
- Coriander seeds: 1 tablespoon
- Ginger powder: 1 ½ teaspoon
- Fennel seeds: 1 ½ teaspoon
- Asafoetida powder: ¼ teaspoon
- Dried mango powder/ amchoor powder: 4 tablespoons
- Freshly ground black pepper: 1 ½ teaspoon.
- Black salt powder: 3 tablespoons
- Start by gathering the ingredients according to their required quantity.
- Now you need to dry roast some of the ingredients. Take a flat pan and place it over a medium flame. Once it's hot, put the fennel seeds, cumin, and coriander on it.
- Dry roast these seeds till they start giving their aromas and turn darker in color. Keep stirring so the seeds don't burn.
- Once roasted, remove the seeds from the pan and place them on a plate, so they cool down.
- Once they are cooled, toss them with the other ingredients into a dry and clean food processor. Grind everything till you achieve a smooth, fine powder.
- Transfer the contents into a clean and dry glass container with a tight seal and place it in a dark and cool place. Viola! Your homemade chaat masala is ready.
Once you are done with your chaat masala recipe, make sure you use it within three months as many of the ingredients will end up losing their potency if kept for a longer time.
When you make this recipe a few times, you will get an idea about the ingredients' intensity, and you can adjust them according to your preference.
Chaat Masala Health Benefits:
The ingredients used to make chaat masala are loaded with nutrients that have several health benefits.
Let's look at them in detail:
- Vitamins: The ingredients used to make chaat masala are loaded with essential vitamins. The dry chili peppers and cumin are loaded with vitamin A whereas asafoetida has niacin and riboflavin. Coriander seeds deliver a sufficient amount of Vitamin C.
- Minerals: Cumin, mango powder, and asafoetida are star ingredients of chaat masala, and they are loaded with calcium and iron. Cumin also contains magnesium.
- Antioxidants: Asafoetida contains ferulic acid, which is an antioxidant. Ginger also includes many types of essential oils, such as gingerol.
- Diabetes: Studies prove that cumin is an effective diabetes treatment. Some of the chemical components of cumin help to reduce high blood sugar.
- Digestion: Black peppercorns, coriander, and ginger are famous for helping with digestion. They also aid in reducing bloating.
High blood pressure: Coriander seeds are known to be effective in lowering blood pressure.
Different Uses Of Chaat Masala:
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to incorporating chaat masala while cooking. You can use it to add flavor to Indian snacks like bhel puri, masala chat, and papdi chaat. You can also sprinkle it on salads to give them a burst of flavor.
If you want to use it with fruits, there is a different blend called fruit chaat masala. It has less intense flavors of ginger and cumin and a higher concentration of asafoetida and chili powder. Apart from these, chaat masala powder can be used for a variety of dishes, including curries.
If you like to eat flavorful food, Chaat masala is a pantry-must.
Chaat masala is a top Indian/Pakistani spice that has made its mark in the rest of the world owing to its strong flavor and taste. Whether you are making a curry or about to eat a yummy papdi chaat, simply sprinkle a little chat masala for that perfect smack of flavor.