A few weeks ago, I visited Shauna and Dan on Vashon to shoot a video about the sabich recipe in my cookbook. Sabich is an absurdly delicious Iraqi-Jewish eggplant sandwich with fried eggplant, Israeli salad, hummus, tahina, hardboiled egg, cucumber pickle, and amba. Since those guys are gluten-free, we ate it as a salad instead, which I might even like better. But I hear they might have a gluten-free pita coming in their next book, so stay tuned. We had an absolutely lovely day, sitting on their all-too-relaxing patio soaking up the sun, talking food and blogs and kids and life, and cooking and eating, and oh yeah, shooting a video. (I’ll let you know when it is up on their site.)

But what is amba, you ask? Well, it is a sort of pickled mango condiment, and it isn’t all that easy to find. In fact, I’ve seen it only once in America, and I didn’t have any on hand for the video. So I thought I’d try to come up with a reasonable substitute, and actually I like this version better than the original – so much so that I’m going to put it on the cookbook errata page.

In fact, this is well worth making for any Middle Eastern meal. I used it the other night to complement a simple rice and chickpea pilaf, and I’d happily eat it with these chickpea cakes or even a tagine. It uses preserved lemon and harissa but you should have them in your kitchen anyhow, they are a whole lot of delicious in small packages. I’ve linked products from Mustapha’s Moroccan because I use them and like them a lot.

Quickie Amba (Pickled Mango Condiment)
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and kosher 
Makes enough to serve at a meal for 6, easily

  1. Toss together all ingredients. Taste and add more lemon or harissa if you think it needs it. Add salt if needed. Serve at room temperature; keeps in refrigerator for a few days.

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