Updated: Feb 5, 2021
These are my goto, MUST HAVE, basic condiments I always make sure I have enough of in the fridge. I like to call these magical concoctions... SUSU FLAVOR BOOSTERS.
The nick name says it all, these sauces and pickled veg's, give a serious boost to anything you would apply them too, whether you're cooking breakfast, lunch or dinner. We'd like to start with our favorite one, and possibly the most potent of all flavor boosters we plan to share with you here in our short series, the AMBA sauce.
Amba is similar to a pickled mango chutney, typically made of green mangos, vinegar, turmeric, chilies and fenugreek. It's origins are vested deep in the Iraqi-Jewish diaspora, which was then brought to Israel and became a home staple, creating somewhat of a cult around this magical sauce.
Living abroad for many years, I found it difficult to get my hands on good AMBA sauce. The brands I tried from Middle Eastern and Indian groceries were never quite the same. Left with no other options, I did what most people do, I turned to Google and Youtube, and found this easy todo recipe, which adapted and made my own.
So... Let's do this!
2 large mangos firm and unripe, if possible
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 green chili (I used a Serrano chili, you can use Jalapeno for milder heat levels)
1 Tsp mustard seed
1 Tsp fenugreek seeds (available at Middle - Eastern or Indian grocers)
½ Tsp cumin seeds
½ Tsp coriander seed
1 Tbsp turmeric powder
1 Tsp sweet paprika
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup water
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
First, peel and cut your mango into 1/2 inch / 1cm pieces, place in a small bowl, add salt, then toss to combine. Set aside.
I prefer to slice and square the mango, then scrap the cubes using a knife or spoon, to help things move quicker and save time.
In a saucepan add your olive oil and heat on medium. Once the oil has warmed add your garlic and chili, and cook until the garlic is just starting to change color, becoming somewhat translucent (1.5-2min).
Now, add the seeds first, then the powdered spices, and coat with the oil – heating for about a minute until they are fragrant. This ensures we are 'opening' the flavors locked inside these aromatic spices (1min).
Reduce the heat to Medium low, preventing the spices from burning,
Add the mango cubes . Mix well, making sure to fully coat the mango cubes with the spice mixture and continue to sauté for a couple more minutes.
Add the water and vinegar and increase the heat to high, bring the cooking sauce to a boil.
Then, Cover with a lid and reduce heat to a medium low, allowing the sauce to gently simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until just caramelized.
Remove from heat and set a side to chill for about 5-10min.
Transfer the cooked mango pieces and sauce to a blender.
Blend to a smooth textured consistency.
Prepare a sanitized jar to hold the Amba sauce
Carefully transfer the sauce into the jar (the sauce stains quickly due to the turmeric).
Seal and keep refrigerated for upto two weeks.
The Amba is ready togo. It does not need to be reheated.
Here's a few delicious suggestions:
Sandwiches. In Israel Amba is drizzled on everything and everywhere, whether that being a falafel, sabich (fried eggplant and eggs sandwich), shawarma, the possibilities are endless.
I find that Amba works best with Chicken, roasted or grilled. (did I say Shawarma...?)
Roasted or fried vegetables. Possibly the most famous combination here, is eggplant (sabich sandwich).
Mix it with Labneh for a magical savory tangy dip you won't be able to stop digging into.
*Click here for a quick and easy Labneh recipe: Labneh recipe