Amchoor or amchur is dry mango powder, a very intrinsic component of north Indian cooking. Amchoor is a popular souring agent in north Indian cooking.
Any simple curry or stir fry can get an added zing with a finishing dash of amchoor powder. It is also used for chutneys and some pickles too, like the famous bhari mirch ka achar, red Anaheim peppers stuffed with a hot and tangy spice mix and pickled with mustard oil.
My grandmother used to bring dried raw mangoes from the village which was actually dried when the raw mangoes were in surplus, we had mango orchards back home. Raw mangoes were peeled and cut into 4 parts with the stone, just discarding the inner seed, then it was dried and preserved for the whole year. The raw mangoes sun dried this way are called 'aam ki kaliyan' as it has a bud like appearance after drying. It is still available in some wholesale markets and some people buy it to get pure amchoor at home. Mangoes dried in this way was pounded in mortar and pestle to get amchoor powder, it was really labor intensive and the powder was a bit darker in color due to slow drying of the thick cut mango pieces, and the amchoor was not very fine.
Thankfully I found a better way to make my own amchoor powder.
A part of my brain belongs to my grandmother's generation and I am the only person from my whole extended family who tries to do such things at home in these modern times ...still.....
I make amchoor powder at home simply because the store bought one is not good enough. You will see the difference once you make it at home. I make a wet preserve of raw mangoes too for different recipes, especially chutneys and pickles, and will post later about that.
Making this powder is not at all labor intensive if you make a small quantity. A tiny quantity of this homemade powder lasts long as it is quite intense. I usually make powder of about a kilo of raw mangoes which yields about a cup of amchoor powder and this, to your surprise, is equivalent to 4 packs (100 gm) of amchoor powder.
This quantity lasts the whole year in my kitchen and if you need more than this you can conveniently make it twice. It will be easier to handle and grind in smaller quantities.
This time I took just 500 gm of raw mangoes as my previous year amchoor had finished and I needed some for the chhole I was so craving. Yes making this amchoor is that easy especially in this Indian summer heat when the sun drying was done within a day due to very hot sun. Fast drying the raw mangoes gets you lighter colored amchoor and is convenient as you have to sundry it just for a day. Or may be 2 days of north Indian summer sun.
See how do I do it.
Using a potato peeler peel the green skin of mangoes and discard the peels.
Now using the same potato peeler, work on the white flesh and peel strips of mango flesh. I used 4 large mangoes and it took about 15 minutes. Discard the stone.
Fresh amchoor powder is ready.
Isn't it easy and quick? It takes only 15 minutes to peel and a minute to grind in the mixie. And if you cannot sundry the strips like me I'll tell you another way to dry it. Only if you ask me.
And now the chhole I had been so craving for that I made the amchoor on a whim. Yes, normally I make the amchoor when the raw mangoes are a bit cheaper but this time it was bought for Rs.100 a kilo. Not regretting the expensive mangoes at all.
to be boiled into a pressure cooker ...
kabuli chana (garbanzo beans) soaked overnight 3 cups
chana daal (split chickpeas) 2 tbsp (this is the trick to make the chhole with a thick n dryish gravy
water 2 cups
salt to taste
for tempering ..
mustard oil 1 tsp
everyday curry masala powder
or a mix or coriander, cumin, black pepper and bay leaf powders in 2:1:1:1 ratio
red chilly powder 1-2 tsp according to taste
amchoor powder 1 tsp or according to taste
green coriander leaves chopped (optional) Or mint powder
Boil the first set of ingredients in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes after the pressure builds up. Or till the chick peas are very soft but not mushy ....
Heat oil in a tadka pan and dunk in all the powders and immediately remove from fire. Mix well and pour into the boiled chickpeas...
Sprinkle amchoor and coriander leaves or mint powder (or both) and mix well so that the chana daal is mushed up and the chickpeas get coated with a thick slurry. Deliciousness.
Serve hot as you like it.
I can have it as it is. Its great as a chaat served with some paapdi and a topping of chutneys, or with baked or fried kulche. With poori too...