Thursday, April 29, 2010


Time for exposure to more of the random, ethnic foods I eat.

Who out there has heard of "umbah" or pickled mango?

Anyone, Anyone??

Understandable.  It's not even something all Assyrians have probably heart of, but my parents loved it so we always had a jar at home.

So what is umbah? It's pickled mango. But it tastes nothing like mango, and it's definitely not sweet like mango (especially compared to spicy and sweet Indian chutneys).  It's basically a vinegary and spicy and curry flavored condiment. Kinda like if kimchee and a mango from India had a baby.  Nothing like that really, but that's the closest I can describe it as anyways...

And I LOVE it.  So much so that just writing this and talking about it makes my mouth water. I guess it's the Middle Eastern in me coming out: I loved most things pickled and tart and vinegary.

Now there aren't that many things we'd eat umbah with.  Sometimes we'd put it on rice to spice things up a bit. But primary we'd use it to make a simple and fresh sandwich.

Tomatoes (with salt), hard boiled eggs, umbah and pita bread. That's it.

This brand of umbah wasn't my favorite (it's packed in oil versus the kind I'm used to which isn't oily at all). But the flavor was still as I remembered it.

The mango, since it's been pickled, is almost spreadably soft. So go ahead and slather it on the bread.  It's a little spicy though (although this brand had less heat than the other one I've had) so only put on as much as you can handle. I love it so I'm not shy with my umbah.

Then top with your egg and tomato and viola! The perfect cool sandwich for warm summer days.

Open wide!

Buen Provecho,


Mara said...

Oh the joys of growing up in skokie... didn't they have this at Happy Foods? It looks super familiar :)

Jacqueline Benjamin said...

haha- Happy Foods!! Probably. It's a relatively common condiment. I actually found this in the Middle Eastern section of a Mexican market here. :)

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