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Jul 14, 2009 05:29 AM

Where to find "amba" in Toronto?

My daughter is working in Israel this summer and has reminded me about a condiment I've had on visits there. Amba is an Iraqi or Indian saucy pickle made with mangoes. . It's often used as a topping on falafel and shawarma. Does anyone know where to find it in the GTA? (I remember searching for it here after my last trip to Israel, but never found it.)

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  1. Yup, amba is amazing. I've never seen it in TO. Call Sababa on Steeles to see if they have it. If anyone does, it would be them.

    I heading to Israel in August. Can't wait.

    3 Replies
    1. re: acd123

      I've tried Sababa; no luck.

      By the way, thanks for posting that shakshuka recipe from the Times. I made it (with a few tweaks) for a crowd on Sunday, baking a dozen eggs in the shakshuka mixture instead of simmering a few on top of the stove. Scrumptious!

      1. re: Tatai

        Maybe you should also call Me Va Me to see if they know where to get it.

        Just curious what you mean? Baked the eggs in the shakshuka instead of simmering on the stove. I assume you mean you put the pan in the oven.

        I'm really looking forward to stopping at Dr. Shakshuka in Jaffa. As far as I know, its the best shakshuka on the planet.

        Read this great Food and Wine article about Dr. Shakshuka and other places. I think they put in Dr. Shakshaka's recipe.

        Also, see the links below;

        1. re: acd123

          For the shakshuka, the recipe calls for simmering four eggs at a time in the tomato mixture on top of the stove. Instead, I placed the hot mixture into a 9- x 13-inch Pyrex dish, made 12 "craters" in the sauce, cracked the eggs into the craters, and put it in the oven to bake. It came out beautifully -- when the whites turned totally opaque, the yolks were still at the perfect stage of runniness. If anyone's interested, here's the New York Times recipe that acd123 posted in the Shakshuka thread:

    2. You can probably find something similar to it in the Indian area. I've seen some pickles of that type there. You should look for a mango chutney. Try Kohinoor on Gerrard St.

      15 Replies
        1. re: acd123

          That link is not valid, you have to add a ")" bracket to the end. Somehow Chowhound is dropping it. I have not tried the Iraqi version but I did look it up on the internet, and I know there are Indian versions that have very similar ingredients, so I'd expect them to taste similar, or at least close enough to be used as a substitute.

          1. re: foodyDudey

            You can access that link through the Wikipedia site I posted above (I'd posted the wiki amba site first, but noticed it wasn't working, so edited my post).

            I've been considering heading to Gerrard St. to take a look. But I'm waiting a few weeks to see if my daughter follows through on my request that she bring home a jar or two.

            1. re: Tatai

              You're right about the Indian and Iraqi ones being different. That said, there is a store at Islington and Albion called Semiramis that has both. The "Ship Brand' Amba Mango Pickle in the bottle (with the green top) AND IRaqi amba on the counter in a vat that he sells in three sizes. I just bought some yesterday and its excellent.

              1. re: bluesbreaker1969

                I just had a brainwave to try Ararat on Avenue Rd. I just called and they do carry it. I'm heading there now.

                  1. re: acd123

                    I've returned home with three different products, none of which is Iraqi:

                    1. JUDI MOUNTAIN ANBA MILD PICKLES from Syria: This is a large, 1500g jar that has got huge chunks of a number of vegetables and fruits, including mango. This is probably most similar in style and flavour to the amba pickles I've had in Israel. It's unbearably salty, however, containing a whopping 2600mg of sodium per 100g! Because of this, I'll likely only use this in small quantities in stews and braised dishes.

                    2. AUNT BERTA'S MANGO & CURRY SAUCE: This is an Israeli product, made by BE Food Ltd. in Zichron Yaacov ( ). This is a pureed sauce that comes in a 260ml jar, no chunks; the label states that mango constitutes 60% of the ingredients. It's got great flavour but, unfortunately, sugar is the ingredient listed right after mango. It's got a nice bit of heat and would be great as a glaze.

                    3. SHIP ORIGINAL AMBA/SLICED MANGO PICKLE: This is from India, and comes in a variety of sizes. I bought the 500g jar. This has a nice kick, but with overly strong turmeric and mustard overtones for my taste. This one is even saltier than the Syrian pickle, an incredible 3.4g (yes, grams!) of sodium per 100g. This one gets tossed.

                    Back to the drawing board!

                    1. re: Tatai

                      The israeli amba I'm used to is a sauce without any chunks at all, I guess like the second one you describe.

                      It would be interesting to try the one that BB1979 mentioned above, from the store at Islington and Albion called Semiramis.

                      1. re: acd123

                        I've had amba as a sauce and as a pickle. If the Israeli sauce were a touch less sweet, it would be perfect.

                        1. re: Tatai

                          That's the one kids! I was eating it last night me. Plus you'll be able to score all kinds of middle easter stuff that you're hankering for, including good Tahini, good halawa, excellent dates, etc. etc...

                          1. re: bluesbreaker1969

                            just to clarify - I'm not sure how much mango is in this amba, but its got the caulflower, sliced carrots, middle eastern gherkins, cabbage in it.

                            1. re: bluesbreaker1969

                              So it's not a sauce? More of a relish?

                              1. re: acd123

                                no no - its a sauce, with whole pieces or chunks in there...for instance, the cucumber may be whole or sliced in half, the caulfilower into florets and cabbage in pieces. I just wanted to make sure that its not green mango or anything like the Ship Brand Mango Amba up there for Tatai.

                                1. re: bluesbreaker1969

                                  What's the sodium content?

                                  As for it being a sauce, it sounds like it's more of a saucy pickle than the drizzle-type of chunk-free sauce that acd123 is talking about.

                                  1. re: Tatai

                                    oh but the drizzle factor is there as this thing is like a soup of chunky stuff. imagine the middle east pickle in a sauce. you want to drizzle, you drizzle - just hold back the chunks.

                                    I'm certain this is what you guys Sodium, I didn't find it salty like the Ship brand mango pickle...that stuff will peel your tongue.