Fruit chaat is the Pakistani Indian version of a fruit salad. It’s made with seasonal fruits, sugar, orange juice, and chaat masala for a hint of spice. In Pakistan, fruit chaat is an essential Ramadan recipe and is served during Iftar. Read on ahead for my fruit chaat recipe, including tips on what fruit to include, as well as variations on the traditional fruit chaat.
What is fruit chaat?
Think of fruit chaat as the Pakistani and Indian version of a fruit salad. Seasonal fruits are diced and mixed with sugar, orange juice and chaat masala. It’s a super refreshing sweet, tangy and spicy fruit salad. In Pakistan, fruit chaat is usually eaten for Iftar during the month of Ramadan. Traditional iftar items such as pakoras and samosas can be quite heavy as they are deep fried, so fruit chaat acts as a refreshing side and palate cleanser. Fruits are also healthy and provide much needed nutrition.
What fruits can I add in chaat?
The beauty of fruit chaat is that pretty much any fruit can be used to make it. However, it is best made with seasonal fruit, which is why a winter fruit chaat will have a different assortment of ingredients versus a summer fruit chaat. The choice of the fruit used in a fruit chaat depends on the variety of fruits available in your country, as well as personal preference. Traditionally in Pakistan, commonly used fruits are bananas, apples, guavas and grapes. Depending on availability other fruit such as oranges, mangoes, peaches, nectarines, pomegranates, strawberries, kiwifruit, blueberries are also added.
Fruit chaat can be made with just 1 - 2 fruits, or 4 - 6 fruits, all depends on personal preference and what is available. My personal favorite fruit for fruit chaat is guava, and when guavas were in season, my fruit chaat would literally be a guava fruit chaat. However, guavas are super expensive in Australia so now my fruit chaat is a combination of fruit available in season here.
What fruit to avoid in fruit chaat?
Though some people do add them, I don’t like adding melon to my fruit chaat. This includes watermelon as well as cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and rockmelon. The reason being that these fruits are high in water content and can make the fruit chaat too watery, plus their texture is on the soft fibrous side which doesn’t complement the other fruits.
How to make Pakistani fruit chaat?
- Start off with dicing your fruit. It’s best to dice by hand. Avoid using a food processor as that can turn your fruit into fruit mince, which is not the texture you are going for. Cut all fruit roughly the same size. Apples, pears and any other fruit that can oxidize should be sprinkled with lemon juice to stop them from browning. If using bananas, it’s best to add them a few minutes before serving because they can turn soft and mushy.
- Season: Add sugar, chaat masala and orange juice. The quantity of sugar used may need to be adjusted depending on the fruits used. Instead of sugar, honey can also be used. If oranges are in season, use fresh orange juice. Otherwise, bottled orange juice can be used. Or you can dissolve Tang (powdered orange juice) in water and use that. Tang is what I used to use in Pakistan because Ramadan was in the summers, and fresh oranges were not available.
- Let the chaat sit: Mix the fruits and spices together, and then let them sit for about 10 minutes, and then serve. This lets the flavors blend together and creates a delicious fruit juice that tastes absolutely delicious.
What is chaat masala, and are there any substitutes for it?
Chaat masala is a spicy and tangy spice mix made using an assortment of spices. It is used in both Indian and Pakistani recipes, mostly in street food style chaat recipes such as chana chaat (spicy chickpea salad) or aloo chana chaat (potato and chickpea salad). It is also used as a type of seasoning salt and sprinkled over fruits and vegetables. Chaat masala can be made at home or it can be purchased from the supermarket – Shan and National are brands that I'd recommend.
If you don’t have chaat masala you can substitute with salt, black pepper and lemon juice. Or if you have black salt (kala namak) you can use that.
Fruit chaat – variations:
I prefer my fruit chaat simple – just fruits, spices and orange juice. However, there are different variations on fruit chaat that are common such as:
- Creamy fruit chaat: Condensed milk and cream are added in this fruit chaat version, along with dried fruits and nuts. It is quite rich and more of a dessert style recipe.
- Chickpeas: I am not a fan, but some people like to add boiled chickpeas (chole) to their fruit chaat.
- Canned fruit / fruit cocktail: In addition to fresh fruit, canned fruit such as pineapple or canned fruit cocktail are also added to fruit chaat. Canned fruit can taste quite nice, but be careful because they are on the sweet side.
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Some other snack recipes that you can try for Ramadan (and otherwise) are:
- Paneer Tikka Sandwich
- Potato and Chicken Croquettes
- Daal and Aloo Bun Kebab
- Keema Samosa
- Chicken Box Patties
Fruit Chaat Recipe | Sweet and Spicy Fruit Salad | Pakistani Fruit Chaat
Fruits (see note 1 for other fruits that can be used)
- 1 small apple cored and diced
- 1 kiwifruit peeled and diced
- ½ cup seedless grapes cut lengthwise or cut into quarters (depending on the size of the grapes)
- 1 peach or nectarine peeled, cored and diced
- 1 pear cored and diced
- 1 mandarin or small orange peeled
- Lemon juice optional - to prevent fruit from oxidizing
- 2 tablespoons sugar adjust to personal preference
- 1 ½ - 2 teaspoons chaat masala adjust to personal preference
- ¼ - ½ cup orange juice see note 2
- Cut around the mandarin (or orange) to remove the peel as well as the white pith. Cut into segments, and then small dice. Cut the mandarin / orange the same size as the other fruit. Remove any seeds.
- Place the cut mandarin / orange in a medium sized bowl. Add the rest of the fruit.
- Add sugar, chaat masala and orange juice.
- Stir, and mix well to combine. Taste, and adjust seasonings. Depending on the combination of fruits used, the sugar and chaat masala quantity may need to be adjusted.
- The fruit chaat can be served immediately, but if you let it sit for 10 minutes in the fridge the flavors meld together, and it creates a delicious fruit juice in the bottom of the bowl.
- Leftover fruit chaat can be kept in the fridge for upto 2 days. However, the fruit chaat can get soft and discolored, depending on the fruits used. Fruit chaat made from firm fruit such as apples and pears lasts longer, but if bananas are used then it gets mushy and soft quickly.
- Almost any kind of fruit can be used in a fruit chaat. Fruit chaat can also be made with just 1 - 2 fruits, or 4 - 6 fruits. Choice depends on seasonal availability and personal preference. Common options include bananas (use sliced), apples, guavas and grapes. Other options include oranges, grapefruit, mangoes, peaches, nectarines, pomegranates, strawberries, kiwifruit, and blueberries. Peel, and seed the fruit as required. Make sure to add lemon juice to prevent fruit from oxidizing, and add bananas right before serving the fruit chaat.
- If oranges are in season, use fresh orange juice. Otherwise, bottled orange juice can be used. Or you can dissolve Tang (powdered orange juice) in water and use that.