What Is Amchur?
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Posted on 19 May 2017 22:03

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Amchur (amchoor, aamchur) is dried unripe mango flesh, used either as slices or as a powder. It is an important spice in India, especially in the Northern states, where most of it is produced.

Usually, unripened mangos which have fallen prematurely from the tree are used to make amchur. Mango is a climacteric fruit, which will continue to ripen even after it is picked or has fallen.



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Like tamarind or anardana, amchur is used as an acidulant or souring agent. It is used in curries, soups, chutneys, somosa and pakora fillings, and many other dishes. It can also be used in marinades. Although amchur used to be made at home, most of it is now made commercially.

Mango itself is quite common in India and is the most important fruit of the continent. For amchur, the cheapest or most immature sour mangoes are used. No particular variety is preferred over another.

To make the spice, the unripe fruits are peeled and the flesh is cut into thin slices to be dried in the sun. Sometimes, to avoid insect infestation while drying, the slices are coated with powdered turmeric. The finished slices are customarily packed into bags made of jute twine.

These slices can be sold as is or can be crushed into a powder. Amchur can keep for up to a year if packed in air-tight containers. It keeps much better than tamarind, and unlike tamarind, it doesn't require any preparation for use. Amchur has a beige color, a coarse texture, and a sour-sweet taste.

Although amchur is used often in the cuisine of northern India, undried sour mango is often used as an ingredient in southern India. When used in this way, it still imparts a sour flavor but also becomes a vegetable in dishes such as Sardine Curry with Unripe Mango (Karalan manga chartha mathi kari).

amchur-powder.jpg
amchur-powder.jpg

Indian Names for Amchur

  • Bengali: Kachukacha Aam
  • Gujarati: Keri
  • Hindi: Kachcha
  • Kannada: Mavina Kayi
  • Malayalam: Manga (Pacha)
  • Marathi: Amba
  • Oriya: Kancha Ambu
  • Punjabi: Kachcha Aam or Amchur
  • Tamil: Mangai
  • Telugu: Mamidi Kayi
  • Urdu: Kachcha Aam or Amchur

Resources
1. Davidson, Alan. The Penguin Companion to Food. London: Penguin, 2002.
2. Panda, H. Handbook on Spices and Condiments (Cultivation, Processing and Extraction). Delhi: Asia Pacific Business, n.d.
3. O'CONNELL, JOHN. BOOK OF SPICE: From Anise to Zedoary. Place of Publication Not Identified: PEGASUS, 2017.

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