What’s better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy you don’t need one. In It’s That Simple, we talk you through the dishes we make with our eyes closed. Today, fruit chaat.
I’ve never been a fruit salad person. Since when does nature’s candy need anything extra? But fruit chaat? That’s another story. While fruit chaat may look like just another fruit salad to a first-timer, it’s set apart by a simple yet flavorful dressing that makes nearly any fruit taste like a fruitier, more sophisticated version of itself.
Depending on whom you’re asking, fruit chaat can look and taste completely different, sometimes involving crunchy toppings, chutneys, and sauces. But one ingredient unites them all: chaat masala. In the same way that citrusy, spicy Tajìn makes mango taste sweeter and more floral, salty and tart chaat masala enhances the flavors of any fruit it meets—you just have to choose your favorites to start with.
I only grew to appreciate fruit chaat during my first Ramadan with my partner’s family. My mother-in-law sticks to a purist combination of fruit juice, chaat masala, and a very specific array of diced fruit: apples, bananas, grapes, and other common produce-aisle fruits. I wasn’t initially a fan and even after a day of not eating, I couldn’t bring myself to dig in. But when my partner made us a mango and berry version some days later, I realized that fruit chaat is for everyone—as long as you begin with the fruit you love most. Douse your fruit of choice in my MIL’s dressing recipe and witness how it melds with the fruit’s natural juices, creating an ambrosial fragrance that bursts with an unnameable flavor (okay, it’s guava) once you take a bite.
Here’s how to make fruit chaat:
To enhance any and all of your fruit, follow my MIL’s recipe. In a large bowl, whisk together ½ cup guava juice, ¼ cup orange juice, ½ tsp. kosher salt, ½ tsp. sugar, ¼ tsp. chaat masala, and ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add 2½ cups roughly chopped fruit in any variety—my favorite combination is a mix of cut mangoes, strawberries, halved grapes (green or red), and maybe a handful of blueberries. Garnish with some mint leaves, finely chopped, and an extra sprinkle of chaat masala or black pepper.
If you’re not a fan of savory flavors on your fruit, that’s not a problem either. Just go easy on the black pepper and chaat masala. I beg you, however, to trust me and my MIL on this immaculate combination the next time you’re looking to level up a bowl of your favorite freshly cut fruit. Just don’t call it fruit salad.
Spicewalla Chaat Masala