|Type||Spread or dip|
|Place of origin||Iraq|
|Region or state||India, Iraq, Israel and Saudi Arabia|
|Main ingredients||Pickled mango|
|Cookbook: Amba Media: Amba|
Amba (Arabic: عمبة, أمبة, همبة, Hebrew: עמבה) is a tangy mango pickle condiment popular in Middle Eastern cuisine (particularly Saudi, Iraqi, Indian and Israeli cuisines). Its name derives from the Sanskrit for 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.
Similarly, Assyrians typically use amba along with falafel, too.
Amba is similar to the South Asian pickle achar. The principal differences are that amba has 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 sammoon, which characterised Baghdad of the past." He remembers that in his youth, school children would rush out of school to get sammoon with amba from the street vendor, who, if generous, would add a little more amba.