meet mango powder, a citrusy and fruity spice

mango powder
Mango powder is an Indian spice with a sandy appearance packed with a fruity, citrusy flavor with a hint of complex sweetness. Also known as amchoor or amchur powder, dried mango power is widely used in Indian dishes and condiments, such as curries and chutneys.

What’s in mango powder?

Unripe mango
Unripe mango

Mango powder is essentially a fruit powder made from one ingredient — unripe green mangoes. It renders a citrusy flavor to dishes.

OriginOriginates in Northern India
AppearanceTan, sometimes off-white or pale gray fine powder
Flavor profileHas the tartness and flavor of citruses such as lemon or lime

Origin

The fruity Indian spice originates in Northern India, a region with abundant mango trees. It has been a staple in Indian cuisine for centuries. The term “amchur” combines the words “aam” and “chur,” meaning mango and powder, respectively. It acts as a souring agent when mangoes are not in season. 

In the United States, it is available at your local Indian grocery stores or online.

Appearance

Amchur powder is tan, sometimes off-white or pale gray fine powder with a complex honey-like smell.

Flavor profile

Mango powder has the tartness and flavor of citruses such as lemon or lime. Adding and stirring it well to your dish at the last cooking stage is best to preserve the amchoor’s flavor.

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Unlike lemon or lime, mango powder does not liquid to your dish. You can give roasted vegetables or fried food some tartiness without affecting their crispiness. 

While dried mango powder is a souring agent, it does not clash with other spices and ingredients.

What is mango powder used for?

Mango powder or amchoor is an essential ingredient in various Punjabi and North Indian recipes that require a hint of tartness. It is commonly used when preparing paneer tikka (a popular appetizer and alternative to chicken tikka), chana masala (a type of curry dish), and bhindi masala (an okra dish).

This Indian spice also flavors curries, chutneys, pickles, dal, soups, samosas, and stir-fried vegetables. You can also sprinkle amchoor powder on chicken, fish, stew, and vegetarian dishes that call for some tanginess. Its acidity makes it perfect for some desserts and smoothies or shakes.

People often combine it with Indian spice blends such as garam masala (cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, black peppercorn, and other spices). It is also a key ingredient when making chaat masala, a blend of spices with funky, salty, spicy, and sour tastes used in street foods in India.

Nutritional benefits of using mango powder

Dried mango powder or amchur powder retains most of the nutrients common in unripe mangoes. It comes packed with vitamins C, A, D, B6, and beta-carotene. Because of this, amchoor is a natural detoxifier for the liver, kidneys, and blood. The high antioxidant properties of amchur are also said to help in digestion.

According to a study, mango powder is also rich in mangiferin, a bioactive compound that can potentially stop cancer in the lungs, breasts, and blood. The proponents of the same study also concluded that dried mango powder might help individuals with type 2 diabetes by improving how the body uses blood sugar and preventing known complications of said disease.

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Furthermore, aamchur goes beyond giving dishes a citrusy oomph as it may also aid in improving the tissues of your heart and decrease harmful inflammatory processes.

What is the difference between dried mango and mango powder?

Dried mangoes, just like mango powder, are made from mangoes. However, you can make dried mangoes from dehydrated ripe or unripe mangoes. Most dried mangoes include sulfites that keep them soft and prolong their shelf life. 

There are also freeze-dried mangoes with a crunchier texture, available without added sugar.

Types of Mango Powder

Below are some of the most common varieties of mango powder available in the market today:

Regular mango powder The most common amchoor powder in nearby supermarkets, Indian stores, or online. It renders a sour taste in Indian cuisine.
Organic mango powderAs the name suggests, it comes from raw mangoes grown without pesticides and other chemicals. It is often regarded as higher quality with a more intense flavor than regular dried mango powder.
Himachal mango powderThis amchur powder is made from green mangoes from the Himachal Pradesh region, the northernmost state of India. It has a sweeter taste and is a great addition to chutneys and pickles.
Wild mango powderThis variation of amchur is made from wild mangoes that are smaller than their cultivated counterparts. The stronger tangy flavor is popular in Thai and other Southeast Asian dishes.

How do you make mango powder?

You only need raw green mangoes to make amchoor powder.

  1. Peel the mangoes and cut them into strips or chips.
  2. Dry them under the sun (or in an oven) until they are brittle and crisp.
  3. Use a spice grinder to make powder from dried mango pieces. (This process is also why the Indian spice is also called dry mango powder in the west.)
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If you want to make mango powder at home, you can use 3 small green mangoes. After drying, you will have around 1/3 cup of mango powder that you can use as a souring agent for various Indian cuisine or any recipe that requires a sour taste. You can place the mango powder in an airtight jar and store it in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.

What can I use instead of mango powder?

If you run out of mango powder, here are some good substitutes to give your dishes that much-needed zing:

Lime or lemon juiceThis is the easiest substitute ingredient if adding some moisture to your dish is not an issue. Use ½ to a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice for a teaspoon of dried mango powder.
Pomegranate powderYou can substitute 1 teaspoon of pomegranate powder (made from the seeds of the fruit) with a teaspoon of amchoor.
TamarindYou can use either tamarind powder or paste instead of amchur following a ½ to 1 ratio.
Green mangoIf you don’t have mango powder, you can blend green mangoes to make a puree or pulp.

3 recipes where you can use mango powder

You can enjoy mango powder in some easy-to-make dishes, such as:

  • Amchoor chana (chickpeas with amchur powder)
  • Dried green mango dal (lentil with amchoor)
  • Baked salmon

Combine mango powder with other spices such as turmeric, cumin, and coriander to marinate the fish.

Randell

Randell loves experimenting in the kitchen (with his family and friends as willing victims). He sees cooking as a great adventure. To enjoy that, he believes this is the recipe: a tad of creativity, a dash of courage, a pinch of humility, and a ton of love.

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