Chaat Masala

19 Sep

Chaat Masala

I recently had the pleasure of dining at Rasika, a very popular DC Indian restaurant, and trying their famous palak chaat. This dish is an amazing medley of textures and flavors, with crispy spinach playing off a sour-sweet chutney and sweetened yogurt, and I knew almost immediately that I had to try my best to recreate it. I’ve dedicated this week to a series of posts on recreating all the pieces of Rasika’s palak chaat. This post is the first in a series of three. See post 2: Date Tamarind Chutney and post 3: Palak Chaat.

Chaat masala is a classic Indian spice mix with some unusual ingredients. Along with the more familiar coriander and cumin, black salt features prominently in the mix, adding an interesting mineral taste, while amchur, a powder made from dried unripe mangoes, imparts a tartness. The resulting mix is sour, spicy, and very flavorful. It is great on nuts or fried chickpeas, mixed into yogurt, on a salad, or over fresh fruit.


Chaat Masala (adapted from Vegeyum)
Yield: 1/2 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ajwain seeds (optional)
  • 1 – 2 whole red dried (or fresh) hot peppers*
  • 1/2 – 1 inch stick cinnamon, broken up
  • a pinch asafoetida powder
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp mango powder (amchur)
  • 1/2 Tbsp black salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • a pinch ground cloves

*If using fresh peppers, slit them a few times so that air can escape.

Method:

  1. Heat a small pan over medium heat, then, one at a time, dry roast 1 Tbsp cumin seeds, 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, 1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns, 1 tsp cardamom seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp ajwain seeds, 1 – 2 whole red dried (or fresh) chillies, 1/2 – 1 inch stick cinnamon broken up, and a pinch asafoetida powder. Each should take about a minute (only roast the asafoetida powder for 30 seconds); you will know a spice is done when it becomes fragrant. I simply move each spice to my mortar and pestle as I finish roasting it (you can, of course, use a spice grinder if you prefer).
  2. Add 1 Tbsp garam masala, 1 Tbsp mango powder (amchur), 1/2 Tbsp black salt, 1/2 Tbsp sea salt, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp powdered nutmeg, 1/2 tsp powdered ginger, and a pinch powdered cloves to the roasted spices.
  3. Grind the spices together until they form a uniform powder. Store in a jar; this masala will keep well for a year although its strength will decline over time.

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Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Thai Red Curry Paste | sel et sucre - October 17, 2011

    [...] Dry roast 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp coriander seeds and 2 tsp cumin seeds (for my dry roasting technique, see my post on chaat masala). [...]

  2. Sri Lankan Curry Powder | sel et sucre - October 31, 2011

    [...] 1/2 tsp black peppercorns, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (for my dry roasting technique, see my post on chaat masala). For this curry powder, you want a really roasted flavor so you should push these spices just a [...]

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