Chaat masala is one unique seasoning. A staple of Indian cuisine, it delivers a complex mix of tart, salty, and spicy all rolled into one. So how do you make do if you have none in your cupboard and a recipe calling for this delicious spice mix? What’s a good chaat masala substitute to get you by? Let’s review your best option.
Your best bet: Get as close to you can with a homemade chaat masala mix.
The bad news: this spice mix is so unique there’s no optimal substitution. But the good news: As with any spice mix, you can get close with ingredients at hand. While chaat masala has some unique ingredients like hing and mango powder (amchoor), most of the other ingredients will be readily available (or easily substituted for) in a well stocked spice rack.
The first step: see our homemade chaat masala recipe and pull out as many of the ingredients as you have in your spice rack.
Second, consider the alternatives for some of the less common ingredients. The seed requirements (coriander, cumin, and carom) can be substituted for powders. The same is true for the red dried chilies – using a half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder (or more depending on your heat tolerance) can work as well.
Replicating the recipe as closely as possible will get you about as close in flavor as you can be in a pinch. It’s not perfect, but it’s your best bet.
Not a good substitute: Garam masala
Both seasonings have “masala” in the name, so they should be good substitutes, right? Don’t be fooled by their name similarity. Chaat masala and garam masala are two very different spice mixes in terms of ingredients and flavor. They aren’t good substitutes for one another. Stick to replicating the recipe for chaat masala as closely as you can instead.