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Jewish Recipes --> Spices and Ingredients -- > Amchur:  Dried unripe mango used as a spice in south and southeast Asia is known as amchur (sometimes spelled amchoor).

The mango is a genus of about 35 species of tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae, native to India and Indo-China, of which the Indian Mango M. indica is by far the most important commercially.

Generally, once ripe, they are quite juicy and can be very messy to eat. However, those exported to temperate regions are, like most tropical fruit, picked under-ripe. Although they are ethylene producers and ripen in transit, they do not have the same juiciness or flavor as the fresh fruit. A ripe mango will have an orange-yellow or reddish skin. To allow a mango to continue to ripen after purchase, store in a cool, dark place, but not your refrigerator. Refrigeration will slow the ripening process.

Mango Recipes

The small-fruited cultivars, usually somewhat yellow in color, can be rolled on a flat surface in the same way a lemon is rolled before extracting the juice. It is ready for eating when the big stone can be rotated without breaking the skin. With your teeth, rip off a piece of skin at the top of the mango and place your mouth over the hole. Squeeze the fruit from the bottom up, as if squeezing toothpaste from the bottom of the tube.

With any of the large-fruited cultivars of mango, the operation is less hazardous: place the fruit lengthwise on a table and feel for the rather flat stone (containing the seed), which should lie horizontally inside the skin about midway through the fruit. Slice the mango so that the knife just passes over the flat surface of the stone. Turn the mango over and repeat the process, cutting across the other flat surface.

With each big slice that has been removed, cut hatch marks through the flesh just down to the skin. Then, holding the portion flesh-side-up, press the thumb on the skin side underneath as if turning the piece inside out. Many bite-sized pieces of flesh will pop up and can be cut out to put into a fruit salad or other preparation. This technique is sometimes called the hedgehog method because of the appearance of the prepared fruit. An alternative to the hedgehog method is to use a spoon to scoop out pieces of the fruit from the exposed "cheeks".

A simple way to eat a large mango 'as is' involves using a knife. Start by removing part of the skin and then slice out bite-sized pieces with the knife. Remove more skin to expose more flesh. Expect to get juicy hands when eating the last part, when there is no skin to hold with your hand.

Another way to eat a mango is to simply use a sharp knife to peel the skin completely. Then make horizontal and vertical cuts on each side till the flat stone is reached. Slice off the flesh from each side of the stone and then slice the remaining flesh left on the side of the stone. This method works best on mangoes that are ripe and which have firm flesh.

Ripe mangoes are extremely popular throughout Latin America. In Mexico, sliced mango is eaten with chili powder and/or salt. In Indonesia, green mango is sold by street vendors with sugar and salt and/or chili. Green mango may be used in the sour salad called rujak in Indonesia, and rojak in Malaysia and Singapore. In Guatemala, Ecuador and Honduras, small, green mangoes are popular; they have a sharp, brisk flavor like a Granny Smith apple. Vendors sell slices of peeled green mango on the streets of these countries, often served with salt. In Hawaii it is common to pickle green mango slices.

Mangoes are widely used in chutney, which in the West is often very sweet, but in the Indian subcontinent is usually sharpened with hot chilies or limes. In India, mango is often made into a pulp and sold as bars like chocolate, and unripe mango is eaten with chili powder and/or salt. In the Philippines, unripe mango is eaten with bagoong, a salty paste made from fermented fish or shrimp.

Mango is also used to make juices, both in ripe and unripe form. Pieces of fruit can be mashed and used in ice cream; they can be substituted for peaches in a peach (now mango) pie; or put in a blender with milk, a little sugar, and crushed ice for a refreshing beverage. A more traditional Indian drink is mango lassi, which is similar, but uses a mixture of yoghurt and milk as the base, and is sometimes flavored with salt or cardamom.

Dried unripe mango used as a spice in south and southeast Asia is known as amchur (sometimes spelled amchoor).

Culinary Uses

The use of amchur is confined chiefly to Indian cookery, where it is used as an acid flavouring in curries, soups, chutneys, marinades and as a condiment. The dried slices add a piquancy to curries and the powder acts as a souring agent akin to tamarind. It is particularly useful as an ingredient in marinades, having the same tenderizing qualities as lemon or lime juice. However, where, for instance, three tablespoons of lemon or lime juice are required, one teaspoon of amchur will suffice. Chicken and fish are enhanced by amchur and grilled fish on skewers, machli kabab, is well worth trying.

The mango (Mangifera spp.; plural mangos or mangoes)

Sept 2005 - 2013 - Kosher Recipes - Kosher Cooking - Jewish Cooking - Jewish Recipes - Jewish Foods