Pakistani Fruit Chaat (With Easy Chaat Masala Recipe)
Say goodbye to mediocre Fruit Chaat. This mouthwatering Pakistani-style Fruit Chaat recipe is full of sweet & tart flavor and fresh, vibrant texture. Use store-bought masala, my chaat masala recipe, or my easy, small-batch, 5-ingredient chaat masala. Includes essential tips for making the best fruit chaat. Let’s liven up that fruit!
What is Fruit Chaat?
Fruit chaat is a spicy, tangy, fruit salad popular in Pakistan and India. Various fruits are mixed with a spice blend called chaat masala. In Pakistani culture, it’s typically eaten for Ifta during the Month of Ramadan and makes for a refreshing snack.
Fruit Chaat for Iftar
Growing up, I don’t remember breaking a fast during Ramadan without fruit chaat. To this day, it’s is the one thing I most frequently have at the table for Iftar.
Not only is fruit chaat the perfect way to get variety of fruits in your limited sundown time, but it also helps balance out all the savory and heavy foods that are oft consumed for Iftar.
The Secret to Great Chaat
I’ve tasted many versions of fruit chaats. (Just one month of dawats will make you an expert on what it tastes like.)
While a good chaat masala is vital, I’ve found the best fruit chaats have one thing in common, the secret sauce if you will – and that is orange juice, or any other fruity juice really!
Freshly squeezed is ideal, but you can use whatever you have on hand: mango juice, a combo juice like pineapple orange mango, I’ve even seen people use Tang!
What is Chaat Masala?
Chaat Masala is a spice mix made with traditional Pakistani & Indian spices. The formulas for Chaat Masala vary, but the similarities in almost every chaat masala recipe are:
- roasted cumin seeds
- dry mango powder (amchur)
- black salt (kala namak)
- pomegranate seed powder (anardana)
- red chili
Chaat Masala isn’t just used for fruit chaat, but all kinds of street food or anytime where you’d like a bit of sour, tangy, kick. For example, I often use it when I’m making Chana Masala.
How to make Chaat Masala for Fruit Chaat
Chaat Masala has a very distinct taste that’s hard to replicate. In fact, I almost gave up after I tried many different versions without success.
But then, once I followed my instincts and let go of what ‘should’ be the right quantities, I came up with this simple Chaat Masala recipe that rivals store-bought chaat masala. If you don’t want to make the full-blown recipe, here’s a small-batch version which preceded my full-batch recipe.
Small-batch Chaat Masala – Yields ~4 tsp
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor powder)
- 1/2 tsp pomegranate seeds (anardana), or sub pomegranate powder
- 1/4 tsp heaped black salt, (or sub pink salt)
- generous pinch red chili pepper
- 2 black peppercorns, optional
- Optional – spice grinder OR mortar and pestle
To make the Chaat Masala
- Heat a small pan over low-medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and dry-roast for 2-3 minutes, or until they turn fragrant and begin to deepen in color. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Transfer the cumin seeds to a spice grinder and add the rest of the spices. Grind into a fine powder. Set aside.
Chaat Masala Brands I’ve used:
I get that not everyone has spices like pomegranate powder and black salt in their pantry, so here are a few store-bought spice blends I’ve used:
- Spicewalla Chaat Masala
- Shan Chaat Masala
- National Chaat Masala (my husband likes this one)
What Fruit to Use
There are no rules when it comes fruit chaat, and the best fruit is the fruit you have on hand.
The most commonly used fruits are bananas, apples, pears, grapes, mango, guavas, and pomegranate. I wouldn’t say any fruit is off limits, but some fruits such as figs or avocados aren’t traditionally used. I also tend to avoid fruit with high water quantity such as watermelon and cantaloupe.
Though chickpeas are an optional ingredient, they’re often used in traditional recipes. Chickpeas help balance the sweet and savory notes and also add a bit of protein.
How to make Fruit Chaat
Here’s the ‘no-recipe’ recipe:
- Chop up your fruit and toss it in a bowl.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
Though mint is not a traditional ingredient and not at all required, I love to sprinkle it on top for a refreshing taste.
- I love to chop the fruit in small pieces, so no fruit is overpowering and each bite is diverse. It’s also easier to eat that way.
- When making the chaat masala, adjust each spice according to what you like. Cumin for earthiness, red chili for spice, dry mango powder and anardana for sourness, and black salt for punchy flavor.
- If you feel like switching it up, some of the variations worth trying are adding tamarind paste (imli), cinnamon powder, and jaggery powder (gud).
How to serve Fruit Chaat
Fruit Chaat can be prepared several hours before serving. I usually make it earlier during the evening and refrigerate to serve for Iftar.
Here’s a tip that’s especially useful if you’re making it for company: If you’re adding bananas, add them right before serving to prevent them from getting mushy.
More Pakistani Iftar recipes:
- Shami Kabab (instant pot and stovetop)
- Plain Sweet Lassi
- Seekh Kabab
- Chapli Kabab
- Healthy Pan-fried Pakora
- 5-Minute Chocolate Energy bars
Pakistani Fruit Chaat (With Easy Chaat Masala Recipe)
Fresh Fruit (Options Below – use what you have on hand) – Yields ~5 1/2 cups chopped fruit
- 1 small (~150 g) apple, cored and small-diced
- 1 small (~145 g) pear, cored and small-diced
- 1 small (~175 g) mandarin or orange, peeled and small-diced
- 1 small (~150 g) mango, peeled and cubed into small pieces
- 1/2 cup (~75 g) blueberries, (or sub berries of choice)
- 1/2 cup (~80 g) grapes, cut in half lengthwise – sub more berries if omitting
- 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds, optional
- 1 (~150 g) banana, cut lengthwise and sliced
- Place the fruit in a medium serving bowl. Top with remaining fruit chaat ingredients (except mint) and mix well to combine.
- Garnish with mint, if desired. Serve fresh or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.* Best consumed within 1 day.
*photography inspired by Joanna Yee from “Mountain Berries & Dessert Spice”