Chaat Masala is an integral Pakistani spice mix and this homemade version of a Pakistani Chaat Masala Recipe has that iconic chatpata flavour, takes minutes to put together and is preservative free!
What is Chaat Masala
The word chat-pata - spicy, salty, smoky and a little sweet - is one of the iconic tastes of Pakistani cooking. As a friend wisely put it, it's our umami.
A Chaat Masala is a chatpata spice mix consisting of a variety of ingredients that combine to create that flavor profile. In general the category of ingredients are
- salty - table salt, kala namak (black salt, which is actually pink)
- spicy - chilli powder and/or flakes
- smoky - coriander powder, cumin seeds
- tangy - amchur powder, carom seeds
- sweet - sugar
The ubiquitous spice mix sold in stores has NINETEEN ingredients, two of which are preservatives.
Table of Contents
- What is Chaat Masala
- A Little Chaat Masala Backstory
- Reasons for Making Your Own Chaat Masala
- What do you use Chaat Masala in?
- Why Call it a Pakistani Chaat Masala Recipe
- How to make Chaat Masala
- Chaat Masala vs Garam Masala
A Little Chaat Masala Backstory
I will freely admit that making Chaat Masala isn't something that was high on my radar until last year when someone messaged me and asked if I had a recipe since the store bought one no longer tasted the same. I was still working through my old box, but the moment I got a new one I realized she was absolutely right.
The current versions sold in stores remind me of a medicine we used to eat in Pakistan when our tummies were upset. True story.
The other thing I learnt from this was that I clearly wasn't going through a spice box within six months or even a year, spices do have a shelf life. I checked the box and it turns out it was way expired.
Reasons for Making Your Own Chaat Masala
So here are my top 4 reasons for making your own Chaat Masala
1.) It tastes better
2.) It has no weird chemicals in it
3.) It takes 5 minutes to make
4.) You can make a smaller quantity - no more expired masala!
What do you use Chaat Masala in?
People often use it on their Murgh Cholay as well. It's also so yummy over pomegranate seeds (weird, but true).
Why Call it a Pakistani Chaat Masala Recipe
Now I say I am making a Pakistani Chaat Masala Recipe, because my Indian friends tell me that our Chaat Masala has a different flavor profile than theirs. By no means am I suggesting Chaat Masala is only a Pakistani thing.
Guys this one was a doozy to engineer. I wanted to keep the integral components of the masala intact, but keep the recipe manageable. Here is what I settled on
- Red Chilli Powder and Black Pepper - for spice
- Salt, Black Salt - for the right mix of savory
- Coriander Seeds and Cumin Seeds - roasted and ground for optimal smoky flavour
- Amchur (dried mango) powder for that tangy taste
- Carom Seeds for their distinctive flavour and aroma
- Sugar for balance
If I took any of these out I found myself really missing them.
How to make Chaat Masala
Easily. First we roast our cumin and coriander seeds over medium high heat to really bring out their flavour.
Then you combine all the ingredients in a mini food processor / spice grinder. Add your seeds last so they have time to cool and blitz away. Grind it as fine or as coarse as you like and that's it!
Chaat Masala vs Garam Masala
What's the difference you wonder?
Garam Masala is a smoky spice blend, with strong flavours and a mellow but insistent heat. Chaat Masala is a tangy mix with a spice and savoury quality that is undeniably assertive.
They are both must have spice mixes and fortunately also easy to make!
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Chaat Masala Recipe - Pakistani (Quick & Easy!)
- 2 tsp Coriander Seeds
- 3 tsp Cumin Seeds
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¾ tsp Kala Namak (Black Salt)
- 3 tsp Amchur Powder
- 1 ½ tsp Chilli Powder
- ½ tsp Pepper
- ¾ tsp Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
- ½ tsp Sugar
- Place a clean skillet on medium high heat, as soon as it's hot add the coriander and cumin seeds, moving them around frequently until they smell fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- While the seeds are cooling mix the remaining ingredients in a spice grinder or mini blender and then add the seeds.
- Grind to desired consistency. Store in an air tight container in a dark place (inside a cabinet)