Monday, December 3, 2012

Amchoor Chana

My local health food shop, Earthfare in Glastonbury, has a cornucopia of herbs and spices.  Last time I was there I bought a small packet of mango powder, which is also called amchoor.

Mango powder or amchoor is made from raw green mangoes that are cut, sun-dried, and ground into a pale beige powder.  Mango powder is used much like lemon, but it gives food a tangy, sour taste without adding moisture.  Its tart flavour is used as a souring agent in soups, dals, vegetable dishes and chutneys, especially in northern India.

I had never cooked with mango powder before so I decided to experiment.  As it has a sour flavour, I wanted to balance it with something sweet.

Winter squash is currently in season and has a beautifully sweet taste when cooked slowly, so I decided to combine this with onions, tomatoes, chickpeas and some spices to create a subtle sweet and sour dish.  It was delicious.  So here is my recipe for Amchoor Chana - Chickpeas with Mango Powder.

Amchoor Chana
(serves 4)


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
2 medium onions (finely chopped)
2-4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon mango powder (amchoor)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ winter squash (cut into cubes)
1 can chickpeas (drained) or 2 cups freshly cooked chickpeas
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 dessert spoon white (shiro) miso (dissolved in a little water)


1. Add olive oil, salt and onions to a cooking pot and sauté gently until the onions are soft and translucent.
2. Add the spices and stir for 1 minute
3. Add the winter squash, chickpeas and tomatoes, cover the pot and simmer gently for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  You may need to add some extra water.
4. Add the white miso.  Taste to check whether the seasoning is to your liking and adjust if necessary.
5. Serve hot with brown rice cooked in turmeric and garnish with fresh coriander.

If you like your dishes with hotter spices, you can also add a whole mild fresh chilli (finely chopped) or half of a bird’s eye chilli (seeds removed and finely chopped).

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