Asafetida, mango powder, and black salt distinguish the chat masala from other masalas, giving the blend a sourness that makes it a welcome accompaniment to fresh fruit and other snacks. (Chat refers to various snacks and to the North Indian cafes that serve them.) Fresh fruit often is sprinkled with lime juice and chat masala. Black salt (which is actually reddish gray), available at Indian food stores, has a distinctive flavor that’s quite different from sea salt or table salt. The garam masala is the wild card in this recipe: either of the masalas above may be used.
• 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
• 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
• 1 tablespoon garam masala
• 1 tablespoon mango powder
• 1 tablespoon black salt
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Pinch asafetida powder
• 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Toast and grind cumin and fennel seeds and combine with remaining ingredients.
— David Merrill is managing editor of The Herb Companion and a great lover of spicy foods.
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