Amchur, aamchoor, or aamchur is a spice powder made from dehydrated unripe mangoes. It's tart, fruity, sweet, and honey-like flavor is used to add acidity and brightness to dishes in north Indian cuisines. You can taste amchur's tangy note gracing samosa and pakora fillings, stews, soups, fruit salads, pastries, curries, chutneys, pickles, and lentils. It is also used in marinades to tenderize meats, and poultry.
|An unripe, green mango destined to become amchur.|
|Dried strip of green mango that will be ground to make amchur.|
These unsightly dried slices of green mango are then ground into a fine pale beige powder that usually comes foil sealed in a box like this in India:
Amchur has a sour, citrusy, and slightly fruity flavor with a fragrance often described as honey-like. In North Indian cuisines it is commonly used in curries, chutneys, dals, samosa fillings, and stir fried vegetable dishes. It is also used to tenderize chicken and mutton in marinades. Primarily it is used as a souring agent, but lends a bit of sweetness and fruit flavor along with it's acidic brightness to foods too.
Use amchur sparingly and always add it near the end of a recipe. Amchur is very potent and tart so about a 1/4 teaspoon or a pinch is all you need for most dishes. Amchur is also prone to scorching or burning so be sure to add it in towards the end of a recipe after any frying or high temperature cooking is over.
If you can't find amchur where you are, lime juice, lemon juice and tamarind are considered substitutes.