Amchur powder, or amchoor powder, is dried mango powder. Unripe mangoes are cut up and then left to dry out. Once dried, they are ground into a powder to make amchur.
You can actually make your own amchur powder if you’re lucky enough to come across dried green mango slices which you can then freshly grind at home. Unforutnately, these slices are hard to come by so the easiest way to obtain amchur powder is preground.
What Does Amchur Powder Taste Like?
There is really only one flavour that amchur powder provides to a dish and that is sourness. It has a strong tart flavour with very subtle sweetness. It should be used sparingly, especially when combined with other spices, as it can quickly become overpowering.
Similar flavours that can be compared to amchur powder include tamarind paste and citrus fruits. You’ll find amchur powder is far more concentrated in sourness.
How to Use Amchur Powder
As amchur powder is powerful in flavour, you do need to be careful with how you use it. Having said that, there are a number of ways it can be used. Here are a few options:
Amchur powder is vital in a range of curries. One of the big problems with cooking a curry in a Western kitchen is a lack of authentic ingredients – amchur powder is one of these. It’s why curries can be bland!
It can be used in the same way you use more other spices, such as carraway seeds, cumin and coriander seeds, which you are likely to be more familiar with.
Generally, you should look at the recipe for your curry and look at how much cumin you use. You should then use the exact same amount of amchur powder. If you usually add 1 teaspoon of cumin then add in 1 teaspoon of amchur powder.
Amchur powder doesn’t actually need to be cooked or toasted. It can be used straight from the packet to add sourness to any dish. You can try sprinkling a little over samosas, chips, potatoes, vegetables or grilled meats.
You could even try combining amchur powder with salt, black pepper and dried garlic for the ultimate seasoning shake that adds an almost umami flavour hit.
Remember that a little goes a long way! Use it in the same way you add salt to a dish, by tasting and then adding more.
A dry spice rub can take a generic, bland cut of meat and turn it into something exciting and interesting.
Try combining equal quantities of ground cumin, ground coriander, amchur powder along with half the amount of crushed chilli flakes, turmeric and fenugreek. Rub chicken or lamb in this rub then leave to marinade for a few hours before cooking.
How to Store Amchur Powder
Like all spices, amchur powder needs to be kept in an airtight container away from drastic temperature changes, heat and direct sunlight.
Ultimately, the best way to store amchur powder is with the rest of your spices in a dedicated cupboard. When storing it, make sure you use good-quality jars with a tight-fitting lid or an airtight Tupperware container.
Technically, amchur powder will not expire. It can be kept in your cupboard for a few years. However, the flavour will degrade over time and, after a year or so, you’ll find the powder can become quite bland.
Substitutes for Amchur Powder
Struggling to find amchur powder? Then below are a few amchur powder substitutes that can be used in some cases.
- Lemon Juice or Zest – The easiest and most accessible way of replacing amchur powder is either lemon juice or zest. It will be a little sweeter and more fragrant tham amchur but, in a pinch, will work just fine.
- Tamarind Paste – Tamarind paste is an ingredient often used in Asian cooking so works well in place of amchur powder. It also has a noiceable sour, tart flavour much like amchur powder.
- Vinegar – If you’re really struggling then you can turn to your larder and opt for vinegar. An apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar will work here but only use a few drops at a time.
Ultimately, you need tartness when substituting amchur powder for something else. The above 3 substitutions are all tart.
Where to Buy Amchur Powder
A few years ago, amchur powder would have been impossible to pick out in the Western world without visiting a dedicated Asian store. Fortunately, more and more places are stocking it these days.
Having said that, not every supermarket will stock it. You’ll need to visit large superstores, Whole Foods or Waitrose to pick up amchur powder. You will find it much cheaper in an Asian supermarket, however.
Amchur Powder FAQs
If you’ve got other specific questions about amchur powder and how to use it, then these might help:
Amchur powder will be safe to eat indefinitely providing that it has been stored in an airtight container. Although it will last forever, it will begin to degrade in flavour.
Yes, amchur powder is gluten-free. Pure amchur powder is made solely of ground mango powder. However, cheaper products may be bulked up with additional ingredients so check the packet.
Of course! You can add amchur powder to any dish where you want to add a tart, sour flavour.
Got more questions about amchur powder? Then ask away in the comments section at the bottom of this page and we’ll help out as much as possible!