Indian Essentials: How to Make Chaat Masala | A tangy spice mix

The masala (spice mix) that adds tang to Indian snacks.

Chaat Salad for Hot Days | A Life (Time) of Cooking | Indian Recipes | Chaat | Vegetarian

Chaat Masaa is a very special spice mix from India, full of wonderful, contradictory flavours. There are many ways to use it, and it is an essential ingredient to many street foods, including the wonderful Chickpea (Channa) Chaat, Kachumber Salad and Channa Chaat on Kovalam Beach. You will also find it on Watermelon Salad, Borlotti Bean Chaat, Spicy Vegetable Sticks and Chickpeas and Young Ginger Salad.

Chaat or Chat are appetisers, teasers or small bites eaten as a snack. They are flavoured with this very special spicy and tart spice mix that pairs well with vegetables, lentils and fruit. It is particularly used to flavour fried pastries, potato dishes, chickpeas and tomato based salads.

You might also like to make Sambar Powder, Rasam Powder, and Garam Masala. Browse our Indian Essentials here, and all of our Indian recipes here.

There are many various recipes for Chaat Masala, this is our favourite.

Poha Chaat

Chat or Chaat – Indian Street Food

The word chat or chaat means to lick and the word masala means spice mix in Hindi. So generally, the word chat is used for a collection of savoury and highly spicy snacks that would make you lick /smack your lips – if that was acceptable in Indian etiquette.

Chaat is traditionally sold by street hawkers in India and comes under a group of foods known as Indian Street Foods. Chaat dishes are distinguished by Chaat Masala which imparts a the spicy sour “woh hoh” flavour to the main ingredient of a chat dish. You can buy this powder, but you can also make your own – it is much superior. It is easy to make and you can vary it to your heart’s content. Then make Chat with Chickpeas as often as you like.

Ingredient Notes

Asafoetida, mango powder (amchur), and black salt help to distinguish the chat masala from other masalas, giving the blend a sourness and tang that makes it a welcome accompaniment to fresh fruit and other snacks.

Black salt (which is actually reddish gray), available at Indian food stores, is highly mineralised, and has a distinctive flavour that’s quite different from sea salt or table salt. Use in small quantities. It has a strongly mineralised aroma as well as taste.

Herby Pomelo Chaat

Usage Notes

  • Chaat Masala is a mix of hot and tangy spice that is used to spice up many snacks, salads, fruit salads, fruit juices, and some curries.
  • Add it to fried nuts, yoghurt and yoghurt dishes.
  • You can use it in all sorts of Indian chaat recipes.
  • Potato dishes.
  • Indian salads, and tomato salads.
  • Or sprinkle 1-2 tspn on your fruit or vegetable salad, squeeze a little lemon juice over the salad, mix it thoroughly and enjoy!
  • Especially nice is fresh fruit sprinkled with lime juice and chat masala.
  • Use it with vegetable crudites.
  • Wonderful over roasted root vegetables, indeed any raw fruit or raw vegetable dish.


You can make this masala in advance and store it in a jar. It will keep a number of months to years, but all masalas (curry powders) are best made often for maximum flavour.

Chaat Salad for Hot Days | A Life (Time) of Cooking | Indian Recipes | Chaat | Vegetarian

Chaat Masala

1 Tblspn cumin seeds
1 tspn fennel seeds
1 tspn ajwain seeds (optional)
1 – 2 whole red dried chillies

1 Tbspn coriander seeds
0.5 Tblspn black peppercorns
1 Tblspn garam masala
1 Tblspn mango powder (amchur)
0.5 Tblspn black salt
1 tspn cayenne pepper or chilli powder
1 pinch asafoetida powder
0.5 Tblspn sea salt

To add “warmth” to the mix (not chilli heat, just a nice body warmth) include:
1 tspn cloves
1 tspn nutmeg
1 tspn cardamom powder or seeds
1 tspn cinnamon powder or 2.5 cm stick cinnamon

Dry roast the following spices separately in a heated frying pan. I put my mortar next to the stove and as I roast each one, I tip it into the mortar ready for grinding:

– fennel, cumin, ajwain, dried chillies, coriander, peppercorns, cardamom seeds

Roast them individually until each one browns a little and a rich aroma arises. You will know when you smell it. Be careful with the chilli – they burn easily.

Put the asafoetida powder into the frying pan and roast for 30 seconds or less. Add to the mortar.

Add the remaining ingredients and grind to a powder. You can of course use a blender or spice grinder.

Keep in an airtight jar.

Channa Chaat





12 thoughts on “Indian Essentials: How to Make Chaat Masala | A tangy spice mix”

  1. Nice blog you have here.. I love the great flavors that come through in the chaat masala. Thanks for this recipe… am sure home-made tastes the best.

  2. I love that chat means lick – never knew that. Makes perfect sense. I’d happily lick and eat anything with chat masala in!

    There’s nothing quite like making up your own spice mixes. While I do sometimes resort to the shop bought ones, they’re never as good.

  3. I just recently had chat masala for the first time and it was, as you say, a “woh hoh” experience. And one that I’ve been longing to repeat. So thanks for the post(s)!

  4. Thank you everyone so much for your comments. I am always so humbled when people actually like my blog and what i post. And Chat Masala is one of the best tastes! Oh yes. Swirlingnotions, i am so glad you have had it. And liked it. Mmmm could do with some right now.

  5. I love your blog on chickpeas. I am a great fan of them and love masala. I found my first fresh (still in the podl) chickpeas and enjoyed learning about the pod, dried them on the counter and ate as a snack. I hope to get them again fresh and roast with spice blend as I do peanuts.

    Beautiful photos, too

  6. hi. i was looking for new chaat masala and was found here! This one seem so much similar to my amma’s cept she would be roasting very dark the cinnamon-black pepper-cardmoms before she was adding to the rest. this gives nicer flavour. but this way is nice to.

  7. I love Indian food. It is so colorful, full of flavor and in general the dishes smell fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with us. I will give it a try soon.

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