Crispy pan-seared fish is the perfect canvas for showing off the full range of chaat masala, an Indian spice blend made of coriander, cumin, black pepper, and amchur—a dried mango powder with an acidic, lip-smacking quality. Here it’s used twice: First by seasoning the fish before cooking, then sprinkled over right after to balance the sweet and herby tamarind sauce and cilantro chutney. That’s what you do with chaat, the category of Indian snacks that rely on this spice mix—it’s the perfect final touch. We love Spicewalla’s Chaat Masala; a single shake gives any dish a distinct salty and tangy flavor.
bunch cilantro, tough stems trimmed, coarsely chopped (about 2 cups)
green Thai chiles or other green chiles, seeds removed if desired
garlic clove, smashed
Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Tbsp. tamarind concentrate
Tbsp. (or more) dark brown sugar
small red onion, very thinly sliced
garlic cloves, finely grated
2″ piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
Tbsp. vegetable oil
tsp. chaat masala, plus more for serving
6-oz. skin-on red snapper fillets
Purée cilantro, chiles, garlic, lemon juice, and 3 Tbsp. water in a blender, adding more water by the tablespoonful if needed to get mixture moving, until smooth. Season with salt.
Mix tamarind, brown sugar, and ½ cup water in a small bowl to combine. Add onion and season with salt; let sit 5 minutes. Taste and add more brown sugar if needed (every tamarind product is slightly different, so you may need more sugar to cut the acidity).
Whisk garlic, ginger, oil, and 2 tsp. chaat masala in a medium bowl.
Pat fillets dry with paper towels; season generously on both sides with salt. Working one at a time, dip flesh side of fillets in spiced oil to coat, then transfer to a cold large skillet, arranging skin side down. Place skillet over medium heat and cook fish, pressing down on fillets to ensure direct contact with pan, until skin is super crisp and flesh is mostly opaque, 9–11 minutes. Turn fillets over and cook until just opaque throughout, about 1 minute more.
Divide fish among plates; sprinkle with more chaat masala. Serve with chutney and tamarind sauce for spooning over.