When I got married I was very excited to get a chance to create and run a home from scratch , it was like an elderly version of playing doll house for me. I was working then and only got weekends to care for it. But the too I understood and cared for what goes into my food. I am never fond of fried stuffs but Hubby is a big fan of Chanachur (Bombay Mix?/ fried spicy mixture of peanuts, chips and other chickpea flour based items) and fried fritters. So following my Maa I also started making these at home. Whenever I get time I prepare chanachur and Nimki (Namakpare/ savoury snack) in big quantities to survive us for quite some time. I alos started making my own pickles and Amchurs. Now a day’s my parents and my Brother’s family get their yearly supply of these from me. We get very good quality mangoes in Bangalore and we also have three mango trees in the backyard so every summer I make big batches and send them across to family and friends.
Aam in Hindi and Bengali means mangoes and Amchur or dried Mangoes are literally sundried sliced raw mangoes. These are the preserved form, which could be used whole year round in curries and chutneys and has a lovely tangy aroma. These days dried amchur powders are also available in the market.
Both my parents hail from two different coastal districts of Bengal and like any other coastal food they also grew up eating food with a dominating sour taste. In our family its Macher tak (pronounced as 'tak'); a fish dish either prepared with tamarind pulp (also known as Macher Ambol) or with amchur and mustard paste. For my Baba (father), Dada (elder Brother) and Bhai (younger brother) lunch is not complete without this sour tasting fish dish and following this they need a constant supply of Amchur.
Today am sharing how I prepare Amchur and trust me this is as easy as saying 1-2-3. The amchurs in the picture are what I made last summer with the produce from my backyard. I don’t have a step by step picture so will update this post later this Summer when I’ll make another batch.
Raw sour mangoes: 4 pieces
Quantity depends on how much you want to make. Depending on the sourness of the mango generally a piece or two is enough for a curry serving 4 persons.
The quality of mangoes is very crucial for this recipe. The best quality would be very sour, fresh, juicy, hard mangoes with thick flesh.
Salt: ½ cup; salt here works as a preserving agent. Depending on the type of the mangoes you might have to adjust the quantity.
Plenty of Sunlight at-least for 3 consecutive days.
Wash the mangoes and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
Peel and cut in half or quarter and put in a bowl of water. While peelings make sure no green skin is visible on the body as this will lead to blackening of the prepared amchurs later.
After 15-20 minutes take the pieces out from the water and place in a big bowl (preferably plastic or ceramics) and mix in the salt. Shake vigorously to coat the mango pieces with salt. Cover and leave it overnight.
The raw mangoes will leave a lot of juice. Next morning take out the pieces one by one and place them on a clean plastic sheet (flesh side up) and let them dry for the whole day.
In the evening again put these pieces in the juice. Taste and if needed add more salt to it. Shake well and leave overnight.
For next two days follow the same process or till you get dry mangoes with a white coating of salt on top.
Preserve in an airtight container. This remains good for a long time and by that I mean 2-3 years.
To use in curries: soak the dry mango pieces in water for 15 minutes and mash them with your hand. Use as required. I prepared my Kumro posto’r chatni (sweet n sour chutney made with pumpkin, dried mangoes and poppy seeds paste) with my homemade amchurs.
I thought of preparing Macher tak for this month’s Think Spice: Amchur event hosted by Bhagyashri of Taste buds but she is not accepting non vegetarian recipe so this know how goes to our very dear Think Spice event which is a brainchild of Sunita.
Macher tak recipe coming soon….:-)