What is Amchur?
The spice amchur is unripe or green mango fruits which have been sliced and sun dried. The name comes from Hindi am, mango. The spice is either whole or ground and sometimes seasoned with turmeric. The mango tree is native to the India-Burma-Malaysia region and is one of the oldest cultivated fruits. In India it has grown for over 4,000 years; the various uses of the fruit are probably ancient.
After the European explorations during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, it has spread to all parts of the tropical and sub-tropical world, especially Africa. The mango, apart from its place as a fresh fruit is most famous as a chutney or pickle ingredient.
The mango retains a special place in Hindu mythology and ritual. Lord Gautama the Buddha was presented with a mango grove and the Mogul Emperor Akbar (1556-1605), ordered a huge plantation of 100,000 mango trees to be planted. The mango tree is a member of the family that includes the cashew and pistachio nut.
Smell: Sour-sweet, warm and slightly resinous.
Flavour: Slightly sweet and acidic.
Health Benefits of Amchur
The mango tree is so old and of such popularity in India and the Far East that it is not surprising that every part of it yields some specific or other. The leaves, the bark, its resin, the flowers, the fruit, the seed, all are utilized. The unripe fruit is acidic, astringent and antiscorbutic, and in the dried condition, amchur is particularly useful for the latter purpose. Of the mango’s other properties, its dyeing quality is of interest. In India, cattle are fed on mango leaves and their urine is used as a yellow dye, the active principle in this being xanthone. Needless to say, the fabric treated thus has its own special bouquet.
Spanish: mango, manguey
Indian: aamchoor, aamchur, amchoor, amchur; aam-papar (dried mango sheets); a(a)m