Need something to round out the spicy flavors of a dish? What about something tart to balance out something sweet? Or, what about an ingredient that will add the perfect amount of sourness to a curry? You don’t need to gather up a bunch of different ingredients for these tasks — just try amchoor! If you have never heard of amchoor, it’s an Indian spice made from dried, powdered mango. Amchoor is the perfect finishing touch for dishes of all kinds. Let’s learn a little more about what amchoor is and why this wonderful spice belongs in your kitchen.
What is Amchoor?
Amchoor, also spelled amchur, is an Indian seasoning made from dried, unripe mangos that have been ground into powder. To make amchoor, mangos are harvested early in the season while they are still green. They are then peeled, sliced, and sun-dried. The dried mangos, which look similar to dried mushrooms, are then either ground into powder or sold whole to be ground at home.
Amchoor that has already been ground has been described as having a sweet, honey-like, yet powdery fragrance. In terms of flavor, it is tart, yet sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. This makes it ideal for adding to just about any dish, especially in Indian cooking, where it adds a pleasant layer of sweet, citrusy complexity.
If you have dried amchoor strips, simply break it into pieces, place it in a powerful spice grinder, and blend until it is powdery. As with most ground spices, amchoor should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
How to Use Amchoor
Amchoor powder is most at home in Indian cuisine, where it has been used in everything from soups, stews, and curries to fruit salad and other sweets, chutney, dal, and pickles. It is also commonly used as a seasoning for samosa and pakora fillings, but it also makes a great substitute for lemon or lime juice, especially when you don’t want to add moisture to a dish. While amchoor is used across India, it is most prominent in north Indian or Punjabi cuisine.
Please note that amchoor powder, like garam masala, should always be added towards the end of cooking, as heat can damage the flavor. For that same reason, you should not grill any plant-based meats where you have used amchoor powder as one of the ingredients for the marinade or dry rub. When adding amchoor to a dish, always start with a small amount, about 1/2 a teaspoon, taste, and then add more if desired.
For curry, amchoor adds a pleasant, tangy note to this Tempeh Do Pyaaza, this Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Curry, and the chickpea curry in these Mint Chickpea Cornmeal Tarts. But it would also be a great addition to this Potato-Okra Curry, this Chickpea Flour Dumpling Curry, or any of these vegan curry recipes.
Add it to chutneys to bring a pop of sour flavor, like this Date Tamarind Chutney, this Curried Apple Walnut Chutney, or this Garlic Chutney. Or, stir some into this Sriracha Mango Dip. You can also pair it with crunchy Indian snacks, like these Baked Chakuli, these Onion Pakoras, and these Sabudana Vada, or just sprinkle it atop this Aloo Chaat.
For things on the sweeter side, add a sprinkle of amchoor on top of this Spicy Fruit Chaat or this Breakfast Quinoa Fruit Salad. It would also be a great addition to fruity salads like this Forbidden Rice and Mango Salad
Amchoor can also be used to replace lemon or lime juice, as it adds the same tangy flavor without the liquid. Try adding a sprinkle of amchoor over any fried or crunchy foods that could use some citrusy flavor — because it’s powdered, you won’t lose the “crunch.” It would be a perfect finishing touch to these Battered Okra Fritters, these Quick and Easy Zucchini Fritters, this Indian Tempura, and these Crispy Chipotle Tofu Bites. Lemon juice is also commonly paired with fishy recipes, so try it on recipes like these “Crab” Cakes with Sweet Balsamic Mayo or these Tofu “Fish” Fritters.
Amchoor may be tasty, but unfortunately, it is not as common as other Indian seasonings like turmeric and garam masala. If you live near a well-stocked Indian grocery store, you will likely find both powdered and dried amchoor slices. Otherwise, you can find amchoor online.
This Spicely Organic Amchoor Powder is a great way to try amchoor if you’ve never had it before. One .4-ounce box costs about $6. Or, if you want a larger container, try this Rani Amchoor Powder. One 3-ounce jar costs about $10. You can also buy the dried mango strips and grind them into a powder, if you prefer freshly ground spices. Just try this Rani Whole Amchoor. One 3.5-ounce bag costs about $10.
If you enjoy articles like this and want more, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App. For those that don’t have it, it’s a brilliant food app available for both Android and iPhone. It’s a great resource for anyone looking to cut out or reduce allergens like meat, dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, grains, and more find awesome recipes, cooking tips, articles, product recommendations and how-tos. The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions.
The Food Monster app has over 8000+ recipes and 500 are free. To access the rest, you have to pay a subscription fee but it’s totally worth it because not only do you get instant access to 8000+ recipes, you get 10 NEW recipes every day! You can also make meal plans, add bookmarks, read feature stories, and browse recipes across hundreds of categories like diet, cuisine, meal type, occasion, ingredient, popular, seasonal, and so much more!
Lead image source: ZIGROUP-CREATIONS/Shutterstock