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.
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 for papri chaat and panipuri, but can also simply be sprinkled over fruit or vegetables or used as a spice for snack foods, like Chex mix.
- 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 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, 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 spice aside as it is done.
In a high-powered blender or spice grinder, or using a mortar and pestle, combine all toasted spices along with dried mint, kala namak, salt, green mango powder, tamarind powder, black peppercorns, chili powder, and ginger powder. Grind to a fine powder. If using a spice grinder with a limited capacity, grind each ingredient in batches, then thoroughly combine in a small mixing bowl.
Store masala in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months. The masala's flavor is best the day after making, once the spices have had a chance to mingle.
High-powered blender, spice grinder, or mortar and pestle; sauté pan
Kashmiri red chili powder is mild and fruity. If you cannot find it and wish to substitute cayenne pepper, be sure to cut the amount used in the recipe by half.