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.
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.
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
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
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.