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Chaat Masala

Chaat Masala
Chaat Masala

What is It?

Chaat Masala comes from the Hindi words roughly translating as 'lick' and 'spice mix' so this is a spice mix to make you make you lick your lips.

Chaat masala is common in street foods like bhel puri and golgappas, I'm writing about this now because I am going to write up my recipe for aloo chaat recipe, which is basically deep fried potatoes with spices including chaat masala - sort of the Indian equivalent of chips.

I suppose I could have included this in my garam masala page but I thought it is different enough to warrant a page of its own. There are of course many different recipes for the spice mix, but the main thing is that is should be sweet and sour, and slightly hot. To some it is a bit of an acquired taste, it has a pungent almost egg-like smell.

In India it is used pretty much as a condiment to give a tangy kick to snacks, soups, savouries and salads. It is also used on fruit and fruit salads although the mixture of spices may be slightly different using more amchoor and salt and less coriander and cumin. It can even be eaten on its own.

General Notes

Ingredients

I give proportions as multiples or fractions of a 'spoon'. It doesn't matter what size spoon as long as you keep roughly the same proportions; it could be a teaspoon or tablespoon, it could even be an ounce, gram, or multiples depending on the quantity you want to make. Don't make more than you are likely to use within about 6 months.

Most of the spices are whole spices unless otherwise noted. You can use ground spices if you wish but be aware that if you mix ground and whole you will be changing the proportions a little as the ground spices are more compact.

Some spices like chillis cannot be measured in spoonfuls - see individual notes.

Method

How long you roast the seeds for is a matter of taste, but don't overdo it or the seeds will burn and the resultant powder will taste burnt. Generally I just wait till just a hint of smoke starts to appear.

Some people like to sieve the powder after grinding, personally I like a bit of crunch to it - up to you.

Storage

Store all ground spices in a jar with a tight lid in a cool, dark place. Use within six months.

Basic Ingredients

3 spoons coriander seeds
2 spoons cumin seeds
1 spoons ajwain
1 spoon amchoor
Dried red chillies
2 spoons rock salt
½ spoon black peppercorns
1 spoon dry ginger powder
Asafetida

Notes on Ingredients

See General Notes

Chillis. If you are using tablespoons then about 2 dried red chillies is ok for me, you may like it a bit hotter or a bit milder. If you have dried crushed chillies then this would be about 2 teaspoons

Rock salt. Traditionally you should use black salt (kala namak) Rock salt is much easier to find and nearly as good

Asafetida. A good pinch if you are using tablespoons should be enough

Basic Method

The following spices need to be roasted:

Coriander seeds
Cumin seeds
Ajwain seeds
Dried chillies
Peppercorns

These should really be roasted separately as they need different times to roast. See notes on roasting spices.

Allow the spices to cool then put these with all the other ingredients into a grinder and grind to a fine powder.

Notes on Method

See General Notes

Options

Other spices that can be used are:

Dried Mint Leaves
Fenugreek seeds
Green Cardamoms
Cloves
Mace Powder

The fenugreek and cloves should be roasted.





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