I love Masalas. Wait, I may need to rephrase that-I am obsessed with Masalas and this obsession with masalas is not a recent acquired phenomenon.
While some folks may identify themselves as numismatist (coin-collectors), philatelist (stamp-collectors) or would be known for their love for collecting antiques, I love collecting spices (haven’t figured out a name yet. Let me know if you know of a word for folks like me)
Every time I venture out on my food trips, I often end up procuring local spices and spice blends that are part of the regional cuisine. These blends are my prized possession and for next few weeks following my trip I often end up making several dishes belonging to the regional cuisine. Tracing back to identify the cause of this obsession, several vivid images flash through my thoughts, images of my mother meticulously preparing our household annual Masala stock. Being a working woman she just had a weekend in which she would accommodate this ‘masala-making exercise’. I remember taking part in that annual activity with much excitement. My early exposure to spices created a lasting impression on my young mind and it has stayed on with me till now.
The second reason that comes to my mind is the fact that Maharashtra has a rich legacy of spice blends. Every region of Maharashtra which comprises of Konkan, Marathwada, Vidharba, Khandesh boasts of their own native spice blends- a local specialty. These are their heirloom spice blends that is part of their culinary traditions since generations. It’s hard to find a Marathi household which doesn’t stock its spice blends that would last months or sometimes a year.
Every time I pick up a regional cookbook, one of the first recipes I look at is of the regional masalas. Before I could even think of venturing into other recipes I often make and use the spice blends into my daily cooking. This exercise gives me a fair bit of idea about the spiciness, aroma, bitterness and other flavors of the masala and the exact quantity of these masalas that I must use in my dishes. So it should not come as a surprise to you dear readers, if you happen to come across a dedicated category on this blog and on my YouTube channel for the spice blends.
Given that premise, when I decided to put some Chaat recipes for next few weeks, as a precursor to those recipes, I have to put Chaat Masala recipe. I agree Chaat Masala is one of those commonly available ingredient that you can find a super market shelf stacked neatly with Chaat Masala from tens of different manufacturers. In fact, I would buy it myself until few months ago. Now, I have decided to make every ingredient (that can be made at home) in my own kitchen- this ensures the freshness of the masalas, its taste and aroma stays throughout its usage, something that I have found lacking in store bought Masalas.
Before we have a look in detail about the recipe of Chaat Masala, let’s have a peek into some fun-facts/fiction related to Chaat Masala. In Hindi, ‘chaat’ means ‘to lick’ – I guess this explains why it is called “Chaat Masala”. While the origin of Chaat is disputable, the story of its origin goes like this- Apparently chaat was created in the kitchen of Shah Jahan, whose hakim advised him to eat foods that were light but spicy. The Mughal kitchen went into overdrive and concocted the chaat (read the article here)
Chaat masala is a magic spice that not only zests up your preparation but can also make your bland food taste delicious. A spice blend that you would want to have handy in your pantry.
Now, let’s check the recipe. If you have any queries, suggestions regarding this post or the video feel free to tell us in the comment section below.
Serves: 100 gms
- 5 tsp Cumin Seeds
- 2½ tsp Fennel Seeds
- 3 tsp Whole Coriander Seeds
- 5 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
- 2½ tsp Sea Salt (can be replaced with Table Salt)
- ¼ tsp Asafoetida Powder
- 10 Black Cardamom
- 2½ tsp Carom Seeds
- 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
- 2½ tsp Black Salt
- 5 tbsp Dry Mango Powder
- We will roast whole spices in a Pan one-by-one. All spices must be roasted at low-medium heat. Lightly roast the spices until a pleasant aroma begins to emanate from the Pan
- Roast Peppercorns, Coriander Seeds, Carom Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Black Cardamom.
- Finally lightly roast Sea Salt to get rid of moisture. Roasting the spices enhances the shelf life of Chaat Masala.
- Allow the roasted spices to come down to room temperature
- After the spices have come down to room temperature, transfer it to a grinder jar. Add Asafoetida Powder, Red Chili Powder, Black Salt and Dry Mango Powder. Grind into a fine powder
- Pass the Masala through a sieve. Fine Chaat Masala Powder is ready. You can reuse the masala on sieve, either by grinding it again, or use it in chutneys or gravy.
- If stored in an air-tight container in a dry place, it remains best for use for almost a year. We have used Chaat Masala in many of our Recipes-Paneer Pakoda, Masala Papad and Fruits Chaats. You can even use it in your everyday gravy or Pulao.
Click to watch recipe video