Let’s Chat About Chaat Masala

You’ve been asking about it; we finally got it in: Chaat Masala!

This seems like a no-nonsense spice, used in India and Pakistan for seasoning fresh fruit, salads, and vegetables. It adds a tangy, hot, spicy flavor to your foods, and can even be found at snack stands where ethnic foods are sold. Just sprinkle and enjoy.

Others have also used in drinks, such as citrus-based drinks, and can be used in yogurt or other sauces. Basically it’s used as a garnish, a way to doll up your food for a good romp in your mouth when you’re hungry.

Apparently, the black salt, one of the ingredients, is responsible for the majority of the taste. In Chaat Masala, here are the usual ingredients you’ll find in it: dried pomegranate seed, cumin, powdered green mango and some other unusual spices, such as Ajwain and Asafeotida. Tellicherry Pepper is another ingredient, and of course, the black salt.

If you don’t want to run around looking for these ingredients, come get this yummy spice from us and save your precious time for enjoying good food!


Taking The Secret Out Of Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a spice that leaves me scratching my head. What on earth is it? And even more, what on earth do you do with it? Actually, this ingredient is quite common in Indian cuisine. But don’t let the raw taste and smell of it fool you. The smell isn’t appetizing, and the taste will make you want to kick yourself for even trying it by itself.

So what does fenugreek taste like when cooked in a meal? Like your favorite breakfast of pancakes smothered with the finest maple syrup, if you can believe that. If you want to try it for yourself, you can always buy a pack and prepare in an Indian dish or with your next skewers of kabobs. This product can be used in different ways, either its leaves or seeds.

If you use the seeds, you’ll have to cook the food longer to bring out the flavor. The leaves can be used in curries. Either way, you’ll get similar flavors. But fenugreek isn’t limited to just Indian cuisine. Try some of this in your next Ethiopian dish.

What goes well with fenugreek? cumin, paprika, and coriander. But remember, a little goes a long way. Too much fenugreek, no matter what you do with it, can still leave you with a bitter taste. Good doses of lemon or lime juices can help balance out the taste. Or try pan-roasting first, which helps cut down on the bitterness.

If you’re looking for something new to play with in the kitchen try your hand at using fenugreek in your next Indian or Ethiopian dish.


Black Is Beautiful: Fun With Black Lava Salt

If you come to Stardust Teas and Spices, you’ll run into our selection of fun salts. Most of us use the white processed salt in our cooking, and we also use it as a finishing salt on our foods after they’ve been cooked, especially if one likes their food a tad saltier than most.

But in our store, no Morton’s Salt for you! Why? Because we have flavored salts you can have fun with, either in cooking or baking. So what should we showcase first? Black Lava Salt, is our choice, and we hope it will be yours too. If you see it, you’ll recognize the beautiful, rich black color, as well as the coarse texture.

So what’s so special about this wonderful salt, and most of all, what is it, exactly? Black Lava Salt from Hawaii, for example, is ocean water that’s processed through filters to extract the salt, then infused with activated coconut shell charcoal to add the black luster to the granules. Cypress Black Lava salt is infused with charcoal, and there is Indian Black Lava Salt as well.

These salts have excellent minerals, such as Boron, Chloride, Calcium, Fluoride, Iodine, Manganese, and Magnesium. And the nice thing, too, is that you don’t have to use this salt for cooking purposes only. If you’re into creating your own skin care products, you can add these granules to your masks, exfoliants, or scrubs.

For cooking, here’s the warning: Do NOT use this salt in the cooking process, or you’ll get a puddle of granules at the bottom of the pot when you’re done. This salt is called a “finishing” salt, and is to be used on top of your food after the cooking process. Simply sprinkle some on your salads or anything else you like, and not only enjoy the taste of salt, but the crunchy texture it can add. Beware: use sparingly because you can overdo it.