01/25/2012 09:49 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

Undiscovered Ingredient: Chaat Masala

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Everyone loves their condiments, whether it's ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise or hot sauce. Certain foods are just incomplete without them. If you think about it, every culture has its condiment of choice. (I know some people who put ketchup on everything!) Indian cuisine, too, has its many famous condiments, including the countless chutneys used to add flavor to dishes, achar (pickled fruits and vegetables), and raita, a cucumber and yogurt sauce.

A few years ago I discovered a condiment called chaat masala, a blend of spices including coriander, cumin, cardamom, amchoor (dried green mango), and asafetida (dried and powdered resin), among others. It's typically used on the Indian snack foods called chaat, which are sold by street vendors and specialty shops. I first had chaat at a place in midtown New York and I immediately loved it. Samosas, panipuri (hollow puffs that can be filled with ingredients), pakora (fritters), and other treats were so enticing. But everything tasted better with a little chaat masala.

Use chaat masala as a topping on salads, curries, meats, and even fruit. It can even go on some American foods like fries, onion rings, potato chips, and fried eggs or omeletes. Once you try this tangy, spicy condiment, you'll find yourself eating it on everything.

Watch the video below to learn more about chaat, India's version of snack food.


Have you ever had chaat masala? Leave a comment below.

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