One of my favorite Indian spice mixes (masalas) is chaat. It's commonly used to season dishes that are served as snacks, including those you’ll find on the carts of many street food vendors in India.
Chaat masala is prepared by lightly toasting and grinding a lot of aromatic spices—I use cumin and carom seeds, dried chiles, cloves, dried mint, dried ginger, mango powder, and black pepper—and then mixing them with a little bit of black salt (kala namak).
I make this fruit chaat salad at least a couple of times every summer. It’s perfect for a weekend barbecue and requires very little effort. As long as you have some fruit and the prepared spice mix, you’re good to go!
I let the fruit salad rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes—this allows the fruit juice to release and bind the spices and black salt, creating a spicy yet sweet and tangy sauce that coats the fruit.
Ingredients2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons carom seeds (ajowan)
4 dried red chiles (preferably Kashmiri or Thai chili peppers)
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves
1 teaspoon dried ginger powder
1 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchur)
1 pinch asafoetida (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground
4 cups whole red and green grapes
2 bananas, sliced
1 pear, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1 red apple, such as Gala, diced
2 large navel oranges
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 green Thai chili pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chaat masala
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
1/4 teaspoon black salt powder