Amchur powder is an Indian spice that adds a zing to many dishes. If you run out of it or need to find a good amchur powder substitute, read on to find ideas for an alternative.
What is amchur powder or dry mango powder?
Dried unripe green mangoes are used to form this powder which provides a tart and tangy flavor. It is essentially a dried green mango powder. Helps to even out dishes bringing the acid to balance out salt, sugar and heat.
Amchur has become very easy to find. It is available at all Indian grocery stores and even available online.
What is aamchoor powder used for?
While amchur isn’t an essential Indian spice in my masala dabba, it is used often in Indian cooking, most often in chaats, spice blends, samosas and even as an ingredient in snacks. It is definitely a useful spice used often in Indian cuisine.
It provides a tart and tangy flavor. Snacks, chaats, spice blends, in some sabzis (vegetable dishes) particularly in North Indian cuisine.
Considerations when picking a good mango powder substitute
- Acidity level
- Moisture – amchur is dry, so adding something that is liquid based may affect your recipe and the consistency of the dish
- Purpose – if you are making a traditional Indian spice blend, I highly recommend sourcing amchur itself
Mango powder substitutes
Numbers 1-7 are the best substitutes ideas and 8-10 are a few other options to consider. The list below is intended to provide ideas for when you run out of amchur or are looking for something more accessible quickly.
- Lemon juice/ lime juice
Unless you are making a spice blend or a dish that should avoid added moisture, I think this is the easiest substitute. It is what my Mom would use as a replacement if we happen to run out of amchur. We always keep a jar of fresh lemon juice handy! Sour / tart taste
I think it is one of the best mango powder substitute
It is hard to give an exact substitution ratio as lemons / limes can have varying acidic levels. Generally, ½ to 1 teaspoon lemon/lime juice : 1 teaspoon amchur should work.
2. Citric acid powder
This is another great substitute. Citric acid comes in either crystals or powdered form. If you have crystals, be sure to grind into a fine powder with mortal/pestle.
Citric acid is used in many Indian snacks such as poha chivda and gives it a great tangy taste.
1 tsp citric acid: 1 tsp amchur
3. Anardana Powder / Pomegranate Powder
Anardana means pomegrate seeds. So, anardana powder is made from dried pomegranate seeds. It provides a similar tartness / sour flavor of dry mango powder.
It is less common than amchur, but it is found pretty often in Indian kitchens so you may have it on hand if you cook Indian food regularly.
1 tsp anardana powder : 1 tsp amchur
4. Tamarind paste / tamarind powder
Tamarind has a similar tartness that can be used as an alternative. It is the main ingredient of the popular brown chutney served with samosas. It is used more often in many South Indian dishes as a souring agent. It has a very sharp taste. Tamarind pulp could also be used.
I would start with ½ tamarind : 1 amchur if using it as an alternative.
Sumac is a powder made from dried berries that has a lemon – lime tartness.
1 tsp sumac: 1 tsp amchur
6. Green Mango
Since amchoor powder is dried mango powder made out of unripened, green mangoes. So, you can use the source of the spice itself! Green mangoes are available often in grocery stores. You can blend a few small pieces to make a pulp or green mango puree.
Since it will introduce a little moisture to the dish, it would be better used in soup or other dish with a chutney.
Dried green mango slices could also be ground to make a powder.
Loomi is a Persian dried lemon powder which also many be known as limu amani. It’s got the the same sour quality as amchoor and won’t add extra liquid to the recipe. It is a citrusy seasoning that can provide a tangy flavor.
1 tsp loomi: 1 tsp amchur
8. Fruit juices
If your dish can take a little moisture, then pomegranate or grapefruit juice can provide a similar zing to your dish in a pinch as an amchoor powder substitute.
9. Chaat masala
Chaat masala, a spice blend, is not the best option for a 1:1 subsittute of amchur powder. Chaat masala includes a few other ingredients including black salt which is a very distinct taste and could very well take over your dish!
Chaat masala is a spice blend which uses amchur as a main ingredient. The spice blend is used often in chaats and also tastes great sprinkled on some fruit!
While it is not a replacement for amchur, if you are making a dish such a chaat, it can be used. Be sure to account for the added black salt when adjusting your recipe.
10. Tomato Paste
If tomato flavor works in your dish, tomato can provide a bit of tanginess. Tomato paste is concentrated and would give a punch to the dish.
Tajin powder is made of chili, lime and salt. The sour taste or tart flavor definitely comes through. While I don’t highly recommend this as a substitute at all, it is possible to use. Since many Indian dishes use chili and salt you could adjust your recipe to accommodate using this substitute.