Chicken wings were one of my favorite childhood snacks: baked, grilled, or fried, it didn’t matter. I’d gnaw on the wing tips until all the flavor and what little meat and skin were on ‘em was sucked off!
Sprinkling chaat masala over the tasty wings
Now the recipe called for an optional garnish of chaat masala, a spice blend that is sprinkled onto snacks and used in aloo chaat. Unless you live near a South Asian market, it might be a little hard to find. So I devised a do-it-yourself version using whatever spices you can find.
Mix and Match Chaat Masala
Chaat masala is available as a ready mix at South Asian markets for about $1 but if you aren’t able to find it, make your own. It may seem like there are 101 ingredients and yes the ingredient list is lengthy, but if you’re a spice fiend like me, you might already have quite a few of the ingredients in your pantry. Aside from cumin seeds and coriander seeds which I always have on hand, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to put the dried mango powder, black salt, and asafetida powder I had received as gifts to good use! Of course, there are also 101 recipes for chaat masala but that’s the beauty of it—you can mix and match to your taste.
2 tablespoons dried mango powder (amchoor)
3 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 teaspoons black salt (kala namak)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
As many of the following ingredients you can find:
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ajwain seeds (lovage or bishop’s weed)
1/4 teaspoon asafetida powder (hing)
1/4 teaspoon ground dried mint
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Toast the whole spices separately in a small dry cast iron skillet for 1 to 3 minutes, or until they are fragrant and turn a shade or two darker. Don’t let them burn! Grind them individually into a fine powder.
Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight container.