Learn how to make authentic chaat masala at home. This spicy and tangy spice blend is used across Pakistan and India to add flavour to so many dishes – chaats, fruits, beverages, salads and more. This recipe is quick, easy and requires a handful of ingredients.
I love chaat masala and I use it throughout the year. It’s excellent in the hot summer months added to a refreshing limo pani (Pakistani lemonade), sprinkled over fruit such as guavas, mangoes, watermelons and of course falsay.
It’s a must have with all types of chaat - chana chaat, or dahi baray, or even sprinkled on top of a salad such as kachumber. And of course, fruit chaat in Ramadan! I make a big batch of homemade chaat masala every Ramadan because of how much I use it throughout the month.
Why This Recipe Works
- No preservatives - Store-bought chaat masala often contains extra ingredients to extend its shelf life. Making the spice blend from scratch means no additives or preservatives.
- It’s customizable - Adjust the ratios of the spices to your liking. Make it more tangy, or increase the spice level. Even change the ingredients to your liking.
- It’s quick - With this recipe, you will have homemade chaat masala ready in less than 10 minutes. Once prepped, the masala can be stored in an air-tight container for 3 months, and longer in the freezer.
- Great for gifting – your friends and family would be delighted to get a bottle of homemade chaat masala.
Making authentic chaat masala at home requires a handful of ingredients, all of which are easily available at your local Pakistani / Indian store, or also online.
- Cumin seeds – need to be dry roasted to bring out their earthy flavour.
- Coriander seeds – dry roasting is necessary to bring out their distinct earthy and tangy flavour profile.
- Black peppercorns – Best to use whole peppercorns, and again dry roast them to bring out their flavour more.
- Dried mango powder – Known as amchur in Hindi / Urdu. This spice is made from dried unripe green mangoes known as kairi / keri and is used to add a distinctive tart flavour to chaat masala. Available at Indian and Pakistani grocery stores.
- Black salt – Also known as Himalayan Black Salt, and “kala namak” in Hindi / Urdu. Pink or reddish-grey in colour, this is a type of volcanic rock salt mined from the Himalayas. It has a distinct sulfuric smell, which has resulted in it being used in vegan cooking to mimic the smell & flavour of eggs. Available at Indian and Pakistani grocery stores, or at speciality grocery stores specializing in vegan ingredients.
- Red chili powder – added for heat.
If you don’t have any of the other ingredients above, you can substitute with another ingredient of the same flavour profile. So substitute black salt with Himalayan pink salt, or regular salt.
See the recipe card below for quantities.
It takes less than 10 minutes to make chaat masala at home - make a big batch to use for the next few months or to give out as gifts to friends and family.
Dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorn till fragrant. Keep using a spoon to stir the seeds as they can burn easily. Remove from the pan, and allow to cool separately.
Add the cooled spices to a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. Shake the spice grinder in between so the spices are evenly ground. You can also use a mortar and pestle to grind by hand – this will result in a coarse and chunkier chaat masala.
Place the roasted and ground spices in a bowl, and then add the other ingredients.
Store the prepared chaat masala in an airtight container.
If you don’t have chaat masala, you can substitute with another ingredient of the same flavour profile depending on the recipe.
For snack items such as different types of chaat or pakoras, you can add roasted and ground cumin seeds (bhuna zeera - add link). You can also add more tamarind chutney.
For recipes that need a hint of tang, you can substitute with dried mango powder, black salt, or dried pomegranate powder (anardana). Or add lemon juice or lime juice.
Tajin seasoning is often sprinkled over fruit or added in drinks such as lemonade by the Indian and Pakistani diaspora to mimic the tangy spicy notes of chaat masala.
Every household has their own blend of chaat masala – some are tangier and sweeter, more suited to sprinkling over fruits and added in fruit chaat. Some spice blends are more savory and less tangy, suited to adding in different types of chaat. There is a special kind of dahi bara chaat masala that is available in the supermarket.
The recipe that I have shared is an all-purpose style chaat masala. To vary this recipe, you can adjust the spice ratios to make it spicier or tangier. You can also change the flavor profile by using other ingredients such as citric acid or dried pomegranate seeds for a tangy flavor. You can also add other earthy spices such as black cardamom seeds, fennel seeds, Kashmiri lal mirch powder.
Chaat masala can be kept in an air-tight container for upto 3 - 4 months easily. Even longer, though there might be a minor deterioration in flavor. Keep in a cool, dry place away from moisture. To store for a longer duration, keep in the freezer and take out portions at a time.
How to use Chaat Masala
Chaat masala is a versatile spice blend that can be used in a variety of ways to add a tangy and spicy kick to different dishes.
- In chaats: Chaat masala is an essential ingredient in Pakistani and Indian street foods, known as chaats. It is sprinkled on dishes such as chana chaat, aloo chana chaat, and dahi baray. It can also be sprinkled on snacks such as samosas, pakoras and masala French Fries. It is also a key ingredient in fruit chaat, a Pakistani / Indian style fruit salad that is hugely popular in the month of Ramadan.
- On fruits: Sprinkle chaat masala on top of fruits such as mangoes, watermelon, guavas. My favorite combo has to be on top of falsay.
- On vegetables and in salads: Chaat masala is great sprinkled on top of raw vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, cucumbers and radishes. It can also be added in kachumber or raita for a spicy, tangy kick.
- On roasted nuts: Chaat masala can be sprinkled on top of roasted nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts to give them a spicy, tangy kick.
- On popcorn: Chaat masala can be sprinkled on top of popcorn to give it a unique and delicious flavor. Think masala popcorn!
- In drinks: Chaat masala can be added to drinks such as limu pani (Pakistani lemonade) or shikanjabeen to add a spicy and tangy twist.
Chaat masala on its own cannot be used to lose weight. However, it can aid you in your weight loss journey by adding flavor and spice to food items that you might not normally eat. Chaat masala is delicious sprinkled on top of tomatoes and cucumbers making for a refreshing, healthy snack. Add a pinch to yoghurt to make a probiotic friendly healthy treat.
Chaat masala and garam masala are both spice blends that are used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. However, the flavour profiles and ingredients are quite different, and they should NOT be substituted for each other.
Chaat masala is a spicy, salty, and tangy spice blend that is often used in snacks and drinks to add a distinctive tanginess. Common ingredients include black salt, dried mango powder, and cumin seeds.
Whereas garam masala has an earthy and savory flavor and is often used in meat and vegetable preparations. It’s added as a finishing touch to curries such as chicken ka salan or aloo gosht. Or used as a marinade ingredient for chicken or goat. The spices used in garam masala have more earthy and savory notes. This includes cardamom pods, black cardamom seeds, black peppercorns.
Recipes using Chaat Masala
Here are some recipes using Chaat Masala:
Homemade Chaat Masala (Quick & Easy)
- 4 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 10 – 12 black peppercorns
- 3 ½ tablespoon dried mango powder amchur
- 1 ¼ tablespoon black salt
- 4 teaspoon red chili powder
- Toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and black peppercorns in a dry pan over medium heat until they become fragrant. This should take around 1-2 minutes.
- Allow the toasted seeds to cool down before grinding them using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. You can grind them coarsely, or in a fine powder depending on the texture preferred.
- Add the ground spices to a mixing bowl. Add dried mango powder, black salt, and red chili powder.
- Mix all of the ingredients together until they are well combined.
- Transfer the chaat masala to an airtight container and store it in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.