This funky, salty, spicy, and sour spice blend is all you need to transform anything into a chaat (a type of street snack popular throughout South Asia). It works great in traditional chaat recipes, such as papri chaat and pani puri, but also simply sprinkled over fruit or vegetables or used as a spice for snack foods like Chex mix.
Why It Works
- Toasting the spices individually draws out the perfect aroma and flavor from each.
- Tamarind powder and green mango powder together add layers of mouth-puckering complexity.
- Kala namak (Himalayan black salt) provides the masala with its classic funky aroma.
- Yield:Makes about 1 cup of spice mix
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:10 minutes
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (12g) cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon (5g) coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (4g) fennel seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (3g) ajwain seeds
- 1 tablespoon (3g) dried mint
- 1 tablespoon (13g) kala namak powder
- 1 teaspoon (5g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same by weight
- 3 tablespoons (18g) green mango powder
- 4 1/2 teaspoons (16g) tamarind powder
- 1 teaspoon (2g) whole black peppercorns
- 5 teaspoons (12g) Kashmiri red chili powder (see note)
- 1 teaspoon (2g) ginger powder
In a dry sauté pan over medium heat and working with one spice at a time, toast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and ajwain until just warm and fragrant, taking care not to burn the seeds. Set each aside as it is done.
In a blender, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle, combine all the toasted spices along with the dried mint, kala namak, salt, green mango powder, tamarind powder, black peppercorns, chili powder, and ginger powder, and grind to a fine powder. If using a spice grinder with a limited capacity, grind all the ingredients in batches, then thoroughly combine in a small mixing bowl.
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months. The masala's flavor is best the next day, after the spices get a chance to mingle.