Every culture has their own special condiments. While ketchup and barbecue sauce have ruled the fast food of the West, India brought forth a condiment that truly activates your tastebuds - chaat masala. It is a blend of mango powder, chilli, cumin, ginger, pepper, clove, ajwain, kachri powder, pomegranate seed powder, mint powder, salt and asafoetida.
Aside from adding a zesty twist to your dishes, chaat masala also offers a number of health benefits. It is a rich source of vitamins and natural detoxifiers, and is also known to improve digestion, boost immunity and ensure regular bowel movement.
A key ingredient, mango powder is believed to boost digestion and help in acidity. While, chili peppers are rich in Vitamin A, C and minerals like potassium and copper. Cumin is known to help with digestion. Black pepper, that adds heat to the masala is rich in a potent antioxidant called piperine, which may help prevent free radical damage to your cells. Clove is also a very good source of antioxidants.
Chaat masala can be used to flavour a number of dishes whether it is a side dish like raita or even a dessert, the list goes on. But it is most commonly used to flavour chaats which make for an ideal snack at any time of the day. On a healthier note, you can prepare good healthy snacks with a variety of fruits, vegetables and lentils, and of course, chaat masala. Here are a few ideas to help you zing up snack time.
Roasted, grilled or steamed vegetables with a dash of lime and some chaat masala make a delicious and nutritious combination. The spices from the chaat masala balance tastes of umami and sweet-sour that add to the depth and complexity of the dish.
Cucumber, onion and tomato salads are a common side eaten with the staple dal and rice meal. Add a sprinkle of chaat masala and it makes for a good healthy snack all on its own. It is the tangy mango powder in the chaat masala along with the other spices that make the salad so much more enticing. This salad can also be used to make sandwiches which can be eaten during tea time or in-between meals.
Fruit salad bowls can be quite rich sometimes depending on the ingredients used. However, small sprinkles of chaat masala over a bowl of cut fruits gives it that inexplicable twist that keeps you wanting more.
You could also simply season freshly cut fruits like watermelons, apples or pears. This is a great way to get your kids to eat more fresh fruit.
Fruit juices such as pineapple or mosambi can often be too sweet or tarty. Chaat masala helps balance the flavours making it taste a lot more wholesome. You could season almost any fruit juice with chaat masala.
Buttermilk, nimbu paani or salted lassis with chaat masala sprinkled on top are other refreshing beverages that not only energise but are also known to improve digestion and treat stomach ailments.
While stocking your pantry, make sure you pick the right ingredients. Pick a chaat masala that has the right balance of spices and is not just packed full of salt to mask the lack of other flavours. Tata Sampann’s Chaat Masala is put through intense quality checks which ensure that all the spices used are free from contaminants and retain their essential oils and nutrients. Snack healthy, stay healthy!
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