Mangoes and summer are synonymous. But alas mangoes are seasonal and available only for a few months. But all is not lost. Mangoes can be processed and preserved so that one can enjoy their goodness throughout the year. Some of them are mango pulp, mango jam, mango juice and there is one more way the mangoes can be used throughout the year. Guess what? Yes indeed, dried mango powder which is more popularly called amchur.
How is amchur made?
I believe that raw mangoes that fall off the tree cannot be sold in the market. Yet they need not be thrown away. Instead they can be cut into thin slices, sun dried till completely dehydrated and then powdered. And this powder is called amchur. In spite of sun drying the sourness is retained and amchur adds a delicious sourness when added to a dish. It is concentrated and potent. And yes, you cannot eat it by itself, and can be enjoyed when used in cooking with other spices. It can be added to something where you need a dry souring agent which means you cannot use tamarind pulp or lemon juice which are wet ingredients. So when you want to add sourness to a parantha stuffing or tikkis, amchur is the best bet.
When to use amchur?
The aloo paranthas my mother makes are extra delicious for two reasons – it is made with a lot of love by my mother and secondly it has amchur taking the other spices to new heights. She adds it to chole too which makes them distinctly scrumptious. Amchur also can be used in marinades for meats and fish.
Amchur being rich in citric acid, it can be used as a germicide. Amchur can also be used successfully as a remedy against heat stroke. It is one of the ingredients of jal jeera that is consumed extensively during the hot months both to evade heat stroke and also to quench thirst.
How to store amchur?
Amchur should be stored in airtight bottle in a cool, dry and dark place because when exposed to heat and light it loses its sharpness. It should not be stored in a refrigerator either because the humidity will cause lumps and spoil the amchur. It is, therefore, advisable to buy it in small quantities so that you don’t need to store it for long periods.
Personally, I like to use amchur in dry dishes made with vegetables like bhindi, baingan, potatoes, and even in meat, chicken and fried fish. Try it yourself and you will know what I mean when I sing accolades for this amazing souring agent.