Chaat Masala – A Lovely Sour Secret To Have In The Store Cupboard

By David Hugonin

Chaat Masala is a tangy, very fragrant and fresh tasting blend of spices used all the time in Indian cooking. The principal ingredients are a mixture of dry roasted cumin seeds, black salt, asafoetida, dried mango powder (Amchoor), ginger, dry roasted coriander seeds, black pepper, mint, and ever delightfully special cardamom.

This spice blend is used in chaat recipes. Chaats refer to an array of snacks sold on side walks in carts and shops. It is often mixed with yoghurt to create a tangy chutney to accompany snacks.

Because of its tangy taste this powder when sprinkled on fresh cut fruits like apples and pear provides for an interesting twist. In Pakistan and India, it is thrown on fruits you buy ready to eat from roadside stalls before you have a chance to say yes or no – its is so seldom that anyone refuses.

Recipe for Lahori Channa Chaat ( Chick Pea Salad with a twist)

250 grams boiled chick peas
2 big boiled potatoes peeled and chopped
1-3 green chillies finely chopped
20 grams of finely chopped fresh ginger
1 – 2 medium onions chopped
The juice of one fresh lemon or lime
1 teaspoon of jaggery or fine sugar
A handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 medium tomatoes chopped
Sea Salt to taste
Chaat Masala to taste – start with about 1 dessert spoon, and add more if you want it spicier.

Mix and refrigerate for 2 – 3 hours. Serve cold. This is another one of my favourites – delicious but apt to promote wind!.

Try mixing some cut fruit as in a fruit salad and sprinkling Chaat Masala powder over it – its quite odd but absolutely delicious and somehow fruitier! A bit like the theory of cracked black pepper over fresh strawberries I think.

Chaat Masala Powder works really well with banana – Slit a banana into two halves lengthwise. Sprinkle chaat masala on the cut side of one half. Seal the bananas back and cut them into 2″ inch pieces. Insert a tooth pick to enable handling the banana pieces easily.

Chicken and Fish can be dry rubbed with Chaat Masala powder before grilling or frying to add a crisp fragrant and spicy crust.

Lastly mixing some of the powder with yoghurt as previously mentioned makes a delicious little chutney but it doesn’t keep wellso eat it all up and make fresh

Chaat Masala – a souring agent, a quick light tangy chutney, a meat rub and a salad ingredient – sheer yumminess

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