Cooking is an art that undertakes the ingredients of several worldwide cuisines and amalgamates it in their style. One such ingredient which is a staple in Indian cooking is mango powder. While Indians prefer using it in preparing chutneys and curries, you can use this sour-yet-sweet ingredient in preparing soups, marinades, sandwiches, salads, etc.
However, you might not be lucky enough to find mango powder in your nearest supermarkets. In such scenarios, you can use substitutes like tamarind, lemon juice, or loomi.
We shall explain when and how you should use these replacements when you can’t seem to find mango powder.
9 Best Substitutes For Mango Powder
Since mango powder has a unique set of flavors and aromas, it is necessary to keep that in mind while choosing the replacements.
Tamarind should be your go-to option when you run out of mango powder. Its striking flavor notes like sweetness and tanginess, with undertones of mild bitterness, shall help you bring out the hidden flavor of the dish.
Tamarind is a staple in Asia and Africa since this ingredient dominates their cuisines. In the West, people add tamarind to curries, sauces, and pad thai.
With its sweet and sour flavor, Tamarind can be used to make lip-smacking curries, sauces, salad dressings, etc. You can also substitute mango powder with tamarind in preparing stews, soups, chutneys, etc.
2. Lemon Juice
You might not have mango powder. You might be out of tamarind as well. But lemon juice will always be there in everybody’s refrigerator.
You can replace mango powder with lemon juice in curries, soups, salads, and drinks. Moreover, it is also advisable to use lemon juice to marinate meat and fish.
By adding lemon juice, you can cut down your regular proportion of salt, making it a healthier option.
It is recommended to add lemon juice at the end of your cooking to retain its tanginess and sourness.
If you haven’t already tried this ingredient, you are surely missing out on a lot. It is also known as dried lime in the USA.
Loomi is a Persian lime that is processed through a souring method. Like lime juice or mango powder, it adds a level of sourness and tanginess to the dish.
In other countries like Saudi Arabia, loomi is used to prepare tea, kabsa, qursan, etc. It is also a well-known ingredient in the bartending industry due to its fermented and rich undertones.
You can use it to inculcate a tangy and intense taste to your dishes like soups, grilled meat, stews, vegetables, etc. It can also be added to rice or lentils.
4. Citric Acid Powder
The citric acid powder is not known as sour salt for no reason. Its acidic nature adds a tangy sour flavor to your dish, something that will mimic the sourness of mango powder.
This white powder can maintain the acidity level of the recipe. While it is generally used as a preservative in the food manufacturing industry, you can add it to your cocktails, fruit salad, sourdough, rye, etc.
Moreover, this ingredient can also come to use for canning jellies and jams.
Sumac can easily replicate the tartness and tanginess of mango powder, making it one of the most reliable substitutes.
While it originates from Mediterranean regions, Turkey, and Iran, it is found in most of the grocery stores and supermarkets.
It is quite popular in Lebanese and Arabic cuisines as a flavoring agent that adds a natural and subtle taste to the dishes.
This versatile spice can be added to all kinds of vegetable dishes, meat, marinades, dips, dressings, etc. You can also sprinkle some over your fruits to elevate your regular diet food.
6. Pomegranate Powder
If you prefer adding mango powder to your drinks and smoothies, you can substitute it with pomegranate powder.
Pomegranate powder will bring a combination of sourness, sweetness, and tanginess to the table. This can help spice up your drinks or yogurts, or smoothies.
In addition to that, you can add this ingredient to chutneys, salads, chicken, fish, salads, curries, etc. It can even spice up boring dishes like boiled vegetables and lentils.
7. Raw Mango
If you have raw mango, you need not resort to other substitutes. The only drawback is that raw mangoes will not be available throughout the year since they are seasonal.
Regardless, raw mango can help replicate the exact taste and aroma of mango powder in all kinds of dishes- be it curries, salads, or stews.
To get the right consistency and texture, grate the raw mango and add it in the necessary proportions.
No, you cannot use yogurt as a mango powder substitute in salads, dressings, and stews. However, if you are making curries or chutneys, yogurt can come in handy.
Apart from the several health benefits of yogurt and its creamy texture, yogurt’s taste can be altered. You can make it sweet, salty, and savory, as per the recipe’s requirements.
While this option should be considered a last resort, tomatoes can add the required level of sourness to your dressings, dips, stews, soups, and curries.
Rather than cutting the tomatoes, it is best to make a puree to get a good consistency and texture. However, since tomatoes are watery, they must be added with discretion.
How to Make Homemade Mango Powder?
If you do not want to mess up your recipe with any substitute for mango powder, you can simply make it at home.
The following mango powder recipe is easy to follow with just one ingredient- raw and unripe mangoes.
- Rinse the unripe mangoes and thinly peel the skin with a peeler.
- Once the skin is off, use the same peeler to peel the mango into thin strips.
- Spread the mango strips on a larger plate.
- Cover the plate with a muslin cloth and keep it in direct sunlight for 5-6 hours.
- Replace the cloth the next day and repeat the process for two more days
- Once the mango strips turn crispy, toss them in the grinder.
- Store the fine powder in a container.
Author’s Note: Rather than refrigerating it, you can place your mango powder at room temperature. Keep it in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight.
Is dry mango powder healthy?
Mango powder is rich in Vitamin A and E. Not only are these essential nutrients for skin and eyes, but mango powder helps with several other health issues. For example, it improves digestion and prevents constipation and flatulence. It also combats acidity and heart issues.
When should mango powder be used?
Since mangoes are seasonal, mango powder can be used to enjoy the sourness and tanginess of mangoes throughout the year. You can add it to soups, stews, cocktails, dressings, etc.
Out of all the substitutes mentioned above, our favorites are tamarind, lemon juice, and loomi. But you must choose the substitute as per the availability of ingredients and your convenience.
If nothing seems to work, you can also make your mango powder at home with the easy recipe. Have fun with it and enjoy the delicious sourness that mango powder has to offer!
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael A. Antoine is a Sr. Chef at one of the leading chains of restaurants in the USA. He might raise hell in his kitchen, but his deep and practical knowledge about food and recipes helps us give you the best and tastiest recipes.