|Type||Spread or dip|
|Place of origin||Iraq|
|Region or state||Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and India|
|Main ingredients||Pickled mango|
Amba or anba (Arabic: عنبه ,عمبة, أمبة, همبة, Hebrew: עמבה) is a tangy mango pickle condiment popular in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine (particularly Saudi, Iraqi, and Israeli cuisines). It is typically made of mangoes, vinegar, salt, mustard, turmeric, chili and fenugreek, similarly to savoury mango chutneys.
Mangoes being native to South Asia, the name "amba" seems to have been borrowed, via Arabic, from the Marathi word āmbā (आंबा), which is in turn derived from the Sanskrit word āmra (आम्र, "mango").
Amba is popular in the Arabian Peninsula, sold in sealed jars or by kilo. Eaten with bread as part of nawashef (a mixed platter of small plates containing different types of cheese, egg dishes, pickles, ful mudammas, falafel, mutabbag and offal) type meals at breakfast or dinner.
Amba is popular in Israel, where it was introduced by Iraqi Jews in the 1950s and 1960s. It is often served as a dressing on sabikh and as an optional topping on falafel, meorav yerushalmi, kebab, salads and shawarma sandwiches.
Amba is also used in Assyrian cuisine, especially with falafel.
Amba is similar to the South Asian pickle achar. Some differences are that amba tends to be sweet, often with large pieces of mango rather than small cubes, and that achar also contains oil.
Amba in literature
Amba is also mentioned in literary works, mainly memoirs. In his memoir Baghdad Yesterday Sasson Somekh dedicates a whole chapter to amba. He uses amba to tell the story of the Iraqi Jewish community that had satellite communities in India and Southeast Asia. In the same chapter Somekh references another Iraqi, who wrote a short story about amba (Abd al-Malik Noori, "It happened on a Friday").
Khalid Qisthini, a columnist at Asharq al-Awsat, wrote a short article on remembering the foods of Baghdad of the past. His article is titled “Talking about the food of amba and samoon, which characterised Baghdad of the past." He remembers that in his youth, school children would rush out of school to get samoon with amba from the street vendor, who, if generous, would add a little more amba.
- Arab cuisine
- Assyrian cuisine
- Iraqi cuisine
- Israeli cuisine
- Middle Eastern cuisine
- Saudi Arabian cuisine