How to Use Amchoor: The King of Sour
What is Amchoor?
Amchoor is a bigtime flavour enhancer in Indian cuisine. It is essentially unripe green mango that has been dried and powdered. Typically amchoor is used as a source of sourness, such as lemon or tamarind, but amchoor also retains some of the sweetness of mango. Knowing how to use amchoor in a variety of cooking contexts is an important skill to have if you want to make authentic Indian food at home. It also comes in handy for Many western cooking application, and comes in extremely handy during those times when you're all out of fresh lemon.
How to use Amchoor in Sauces
In Indian cooking amchoor is a souring agent. Since it is highly concentrated, and contains significant quantities of mainly malic and citric acid, it's easy to overdo it. To give you an idea of how much to use, consider that by volume, amchoor is about five times as sour as lemon or lime juice. For a recipe calling for a quarter cup of lemon juice, just under a tablespoon of amchoor will do.
Most of the time, you'll see amchoor added to an Indian sauce nearer the end of the cooking process, though occasionally you will find a recipe wherein the amchoor is fried along with the spices in oil just prior to adding onions to the pan, which carmelizes the sugars in the amchoor, and may make a small flavour difference. We have tried it both ways, and we still prefer the simpler process of adding it later when there are more wet ingredients to mix it into.
How to use Amchoor in a Marinade
Acidic ingredients are essential in a marinade, which is why amchoor can come in handy as a primary acid in a marinade. Amchoor along with a balanced spice blend and some minced garlic or onion will tenderize and flavour a meat or tofu. You can try the following as a base:
2 tbsp amchoor
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1" piece ginger, minced
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
How to store Amchoor
Like all sugary powders, amchoor tends to clump. For this reason it's best to get it into a sealed container as soon as you buy it. In the Canadian climate, and in most climates, humidity varies wildly between seasons.
If your amchoor does clump, we recommend against softening it up with an apple or a clay disk since it's best to keep it as dry as possible. Usually it's easy enough to break the clumps by hand, and you can always get the help of your coffee or spice grinder.
Making Indian Food at Home with Amchoor
Amchoor is an essential Indian ingredient. Once you know how to use amchoor and you get into the habit of using it, you'll have a whole new flavour at your disposal. For most Indian dishes, a little hint of amchoor will add a pleasant tang, and since it is a quintessential Indian spice, the flavour will taste all the more authentic. If you have been making Indian food at home with our cooking kits or from scratch, then we recommend giving Amchoor a try from time to time. Get to know it, and we're sure you'll have a new best flavour friend in your home kitchen.