Spinach Pachadi | Palak Pachadi | Spinach in Yoghurt

Spinach Pachadi

Last night I cooked a gorgeous spinach dish, a Pachadi. It is a gorgeous dish that can be used as a side dish or goes just as well over rice, on its own or with a yellow dal. It is a purée, so it would also go well drizzled over some chunks of pan-fried tofu, fresh made paneer or some roasted or pan-sautéed chunks of potato. With some crispy flatbreads. With a green salad of goodness.

Similar recipes include Tri Colour Raita, Asparagus Raita, Boondhi Pachadi, Carrot Sambol, and Cucumber Pachadi.

Please also browse our Pachadi recipes, and our Spinach recipes. You might like to read up on Indian Essentials and explore our Indian recipes. Or take some time to check out our Late Spring collection of dishes.

Spinach Pachadi

What you might call a raita in the North of India is called a pachadi in the South. Pachadi means pounded. In the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu in South India, pachadi is eaten fresh and typically made of finely chopped or blended cooked vegetables with yoghurt, coconut, green or red chilies and tempered in oil with mustard seeds, ginger and curry leaves. Pachadi is commonly eaten with rice and a lentil curry. There are many varieties made of the same key recipe.

There is no real approximation to a pachadi outside of India. The closest in western cuisine is a side dish or dip, or a cooked salad. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a condiment, but unlike traditional western condiments like salt, pepper, mustard and horseradish that made dishes more spicy, these dishes have a cooling effect from the yoghurt,  to contrast with spicy curries.

It is also sometimes called a pickle – this is incorrect, at least in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. However, dishes of the same name can be totally different in different states of India, so there might be other states where a pachadi is more like a pickle.

Spinach Pachadi | Palak Pachadi | Spinach in Yoghurt

Source : adapted from The Monk’s Cookbook
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it

1 large bunch spinach
1 cup bean sprouts
1.5 cup grated coconut or shredded coconut
1 cup yoghurt – use a Greek yoghurt or drained the yoghurt in some muslin cloth for 30 minutes beforehand to avoid a watery curry
If you want it hot, add some finely chopped green chilli to taste
1 lime, juiced
salt to taste

for tadka
1 – 2 Tblspn ghee
2 large cloves garlic, or 3 or 4 smaller ones
1 tsp each fennel, anise seeds, cumin seeds

Steam the spinach and bean sprouts and blend them with the coconut in a food processor or with an immersion blender. Add the yoghurt as you go and blend until you have a thick and smooth consistency. Chop the garlic and chop or grate the ginger.

Make the tadka: in a pan melt the ghee and fry the garlic, chilli (if using) and ginger quickly. Add the seeds and cook until the seeds begin to brown.

Stir the tadka through the spinach (including the ghee). Add the lime juice and stir. Add salt to taste.



5 thoughts on “Spinach Pachadi | Palak Pachadi | Spinach in Yoghurt”

  1. Just made this and much better than I expected, in fact delicious! Used sunflower oil instead of ghee for health and expense. And how big is a ‘large bunch spinach’? I suspect mine was bigger than yours, because I think it could do with juice of more than 1 lime. Also, you don’t specify how much ginger – I guessed and probably used a little less than the garlic. Made it for four(maybe more)-dish curry tomorrow, so hope it’s still ok 24 hours hence. Will make cucumber curry to die for tomorrow. Your blog has many delicious and intriguing recipes and I’m sure I will return for more.

    Just one major rant (and it’s obviously not personal!): how do Americans cope with cup measures? Why do they persist in not using weights. For example, if a recipe demands 1 cup of finely chopped mushrooms, I find it very difficult to shop accurately – I’m sure with practice I’d get better at it but it just seems so much easier so specify 100g or 1/4lb rather than trying to envisage how many mushrooms it takes to make 1 cup of them finely choppped. I used frozen fresh grated coconut for this recipe, chopping off large lumps and hoping for the best but only being fairly sure when I’d defrosted it.

    I can undertsand that cup measures made sense in the pioneering days in the Great Trek West when weight and expense were important considerations, but most people nowadays drive a Caddy, Ford or SUV. Can’t you lot drag your measurement system into the 20th-century?

    There, I feel much better for that. Perhaps I subconsciously made to recipe just so I had an opportunity to voice my rant! I’m going to have a lie down in a darkened room now, but thank you so much for your inspiring recipes.

    1. thanks, John. glad you liked it. Stick with me and you will get used to cup measures very quickly :)))) i find them much easier, especially for recipes that dont require drop dead accuracy. (Baking bread and cakes is a slightly different matter).

      And for the record, I am not from the US, learned most of my cooking way back when from a French lady, love to cook the Italian way (by a feel for your ingredients rather than exact measures) and bring all of this to my Indian food. Read Cook and See (series of traditional Indian Cookbooks) for the ultimate in imprecision.:))

      Hope you get to try many more recipes here. keep leaving me your comments, I will love to read them. Oh, and try ghee. It adds to the flavour and is one of the healthiest oils around. I highly recommend it.

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