Tart, tangy and a bit of spicy, this easy and best chaat masala recipe can add more flavor to chaats and used in so many more ways.
- Easy to make in 10 minutes
- Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free option
Chaat masala powder is a popular Indian spice blend that tastes tangy and tart with a small hint of spice. It’s primarily used for making chaats such as samosa chaat, which are a popular street food especially in Northern India.
There are many kinds of chaats which use it along with chutneys and a blend of other ingredients such as puffed rice, garbanzo beans, potatoes etc. (dependent on the type of chaat).
I love to use this spice blend for many other purposes which I’ve outlined below.
So, you are looking to create a good chaat masala with a balance of tang, saltiness and a bit of spice. It has a unique taste that is hard to replicate for many Indian dishes.
The good news is that most of the ingredients are common Indian spices that you likely have on hand if you often cook Indian cuisine.
Black salt (kala namak): this is KEY ingredient, any chaat masala recipe that doesn’t include black salt is not a true recipe. I have to warn you, it has a strong sulfuric smell that may surprise you! But its distinctive flavor is irreplaceable.
Dry green mango powder (amchur): This spice is made from unripe green mangoes. It provides a tart taste to the blend.
Black peppercorns: This provides the touch of heat. In a pinch you could substitute black pepper powder.
Cumin seeds: Provides the “grounding” flavor of the spice. Whole cumin seeds are dry roasted and then ground to make a ground cumin seed powder (jeera powder). You can substitute roasted cumin seed powder that is ready made.
Salt (table salt, “regular salt): Helps to balance out the strong taste of black salt.
Asafoetida (hing, asafetida): A little goes a long way. This spice provides an umami and delicious flavor. If you’d like to make it gluten-free, skip this spice.
Note: All of these spices can very easily be found in Indian grocery stores or online. Whole spices can be replaced with ground spices if you are in a pinch.
It is fun to make your own custom blend. The one tweak I like to make during summer is to dry fresh mint leaves to make dried mint powder which I add to make my own blend. It adds delicious fresh notes to the blend.
Other ideas include adding ground coriander seeds, red chilies, citric acid, pomegranate powder (anardana) to make your own homemade masala.
Amchur (dry mango powder) provides a similar taste to anardana (pomegranate powder) so I think it is duplicative to use both but you can def use it as a substitute or add some based on your preference.
I’d say the top flavor notes you need are the tang/umami of black salt and tart of amchoor (dry mango powder). You also need the grounding of flavor from cumin seeds. So, those are essential ingredients. You can then play around with the proportions to get the balance you like to make a homemade chaat masala recipe.
- Dry roast black peppercorns on medium heat for 2 minutes. Mix in between. Set aside.
- Dry roast cumin seeds 1-2 minutes. Mix in between. Set aside.
- Use a spice grinder or coffee grinder to grind black peppercorns and cumin seeds.
- Add in powdered spices and mix well.
How to use homemade chaat masala
Make chaats! the main reason this spice mixture is used in Indian households is for chaat recipes. Chaats are a VERY popular Indian street food.
Sprinkle over fruits to make fruit chaat: I personally love to sprinkle it on tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits and watermelons. It gives a sweet and tangy delicious taste. Finishing spice for a fruit salad to give the sweetness of fruits a tangy flavor.
Sprinkle on savory snacks
On some hot, buttery popcorn: Try out a new popcorn seasoning, start with a little and test it out yourself.
Sprinkle on french fries or potato chips: Just try it!
Substitute for sandwich masala: Sprinkle a bit when making a veggie, cheese sandwich. Usually like to use sandwich masala which has a little more depth of flavor, but it makes a good substitute.
Add to Raita: If you want to change up the flavor of your raita, just add some masala for a yummy tang.
Add to salads or salad dressing: Either use a bit of the masala along with black pepper and olive oil or add to a salad dressing.
Use in drinks
Add to lemonade: For a spin on nimbu pani (lemon water)
Use to make jaljeera
Add ¼ tsp to orange juice
Nachos: For those that are a little bit more adventurous, sprinkle a bit on your cheese nachos along with lime
best substitute for chaat masala
A good substitute for chaat masala is one that will add the zing of the spice blend so use a mix of black salt, cumin powder, salt, black pepper and lemon juice or lime juice. This is the best bet as it will will give you the balance of sour, saltiness, tart, hint of spice with cumin powder as the “grounding” spice.
Another option, using ground spices would be cumin or coriander powder, red chili powder, mango powder (amchoor powder), salt and black salt or citric acid.
It is important to note it is hard to replicate the complex flavor, but if you can’t get to the grocery store these will be suitable replacements when you are in a pinch to get a similar flavor!
Chaat masala vs Garam Masala
Chaat masala is not the same as garam masala, so garam masala is not a good substitute for chat masala. They are completely different flavor profiles using different spices.
While chaat masala is a blend of spices that gives tart, tangy and sour flavors, a garam masala blend is made of earthy warming spices. Each blend of spices is made from different ingredients.
You do not need the warmth of the spices provided by a spice blend such as garam masala.
There are not many common ingredients between the two.
My garam masala substitute recipe shows the type of commonly used ingredients for a garam masala recipe.
Storing the spice
You can store the powder in an airtight container and keep it in a dry place.
Buying Chaat Masala
It is very easily found in Indian supermarkets everywhere. Just peek down at the spice powders aisle. There are many used in Indian cooking!
6 Ingredient, Authentic DIY Chaat Masala Recipe
- 1 pan
- 1 spice grinder or coffee grinder
- ¼ cup cumin seeds 30g, can substitute roasted cumin powder
- 2 tbsp black salt 28g
- 2 tbsp dry mango powder (amchur) 18g
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns 18g, can substitute black pepper powder
- 1 tsp salt 6g
- ½ tsp asafetida (hing)
- Dry roast black peppercorns on medium heat for 2minutes. Mix in between. Set aside.
- Dry roast cumin seeds 1-2 minutes. Mix in between.Set aside.
- Use a spice grinder or coffee grinder to grindblack peppercorns and cumin seeds.
- Add in powdered spices and mix well.