“Chaat Masala” in Hindi translates to “to lick the spice”. Yes, we’re both thinking the same thing. When Colonel Sanders says “finger licking good” he’s 100% talking about Chaat Masala (obviously).
But this funky, salty, spicy and sour spice blend is guaranteed to produce finger-licking effects. It’s ability to add elemental funk and an umami-like intensity to anything its added to comes from its blend of amchoor (dry mango powder), black salt (also known as kala namak), cumin, coriander, black pepper, mint leaves, dried ginger, yellow chili, bishop weed, cloves, nutmeg and asafoetida (basically Indian MSG).
An unforgettable first experience...
Your first experience trying Chaat Masala is definitely a memorable one. When you first try Chaat Masala, you’ll probably first notice its strong sulfur-like scent which comes from the Himalayan black salt. Once you have a bit more, you’ll find yourself smacking your lips to the intense umami & savory taste it packs!
More than the Taj Mahal...
The origins of Chaat Masala are a bit mysterious. But legend has it that it was created in the 17th century by the cooks of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan (same guy who built the Taj Mahal). There was a time Jahan fell sick and was instructed to only eat small, light meals so his royal cooks invented chaat 𑁋 a variety of small, tangy and spicy bites (pretty much Indian tapas) 𑁋 and Chaat Masala to season the tapas.
Since then, chaat has woven into the fabric of South Asian street food 𑁋 some popular dishes being papdi chaat, pani puri, bhel puri 𑁋 with Chaat Masala still being the queen seasoning to give chaat it’s savory flavor. However, these days (especially at the Patel residence), Chaat Masala made its way into anything and everything 𑁋 I’m talking about fruits, sandwiches, eggs, drinks, paneer, chex mex, chicken curry, and ultimately our popcorn!
Give it a chaat!
When I was brainstorming popcorn flavors, Chaat Masala immediately made it to the top of my list. This do-it-all condiment not only always teleported me back to the streets of India, but also had never made its way into one of my favorite American snacks, popcorn. This fusion of Chaat Masala and popcorn packs a powerful flavor like you’ve never had before 𑁋 it’s seriously finger-licking-good. And hey, apparently the Mughal emperor loved it, why shouldn’t you? 🙃