Amchoor (pronounced ‘am’ as in ‘I am’ and then ‘cur’) is a powder made from grinding up sun-dried, unripe, green mangoes. It’s made by peeling and then slicing the mangoes. Then, before drying the fruit is sometimes rubber with turmeric which prevents attacks by pests. As you would expect the powder has the taste of the unripe, sour, fruit it’s made from. It’s used in cooking wherever there is the need for a little added acidity… piquancy. It has a sort of prickly effect on the tongue (see Painting No 6 for a weird idea of what ‘prickly’ might look like!).
As we seen (mangoes) the country for mangos is India, and this is where amchoor is most used – in curries, biryani, dahl, in chutneys, over vegetables and pulses (especially good with a stew of chickpeas and tomatoes). The name derives from the word Ama – आम – which means mango in Hindi. Because of its acidity it is also often added to marinades, or simply sprinkled over meat to act as a tenderiser.
What to substitute for amchoor if you can’t find it
If you can’t get amchoor a good substitute is lime juice.
A good amchoor to buy
I bought Steenberg’s amchoor – go to this post for more on Axel Steenberg’s impressive range of herbs and spices.