Pineapples are ripening at the moment, and along with all of the other magnificent produce in the shops, they are abundant, cheap and delicious. I am not a fan of peeling pineapples with all those eyes to cut out (some have more than others), but the occasional recipe is worth it. Today we are making a Pachadi – a side dish – from pineapple. This dish from Kerala is quite unusual. Commonly, Pachadis from Tamil Nadu and Kerala have a yoghurt base for the vegetable component, or include an amount of coconut. This one has some coconut, but it cooks the pineapple, grapes and plantain to the point that it is jammy, almost like a halwa. But don’t be fooled, it is spicy with sweet and sour tastes. It tastes a little like a pickle, or a cross between a pickle and a pachadi. It is definitely a dish where less is more when serving – a couple of Tblspns along with rice, thorans and other Kerala sadya dishes. It is delicious, I am sure you will come back for seconds.
There are two main versions of Madhura Pachadi, this one flavours the pachadi with powdered mustard seeds, and another which cooks the pineapple in tamarind. The recipe today is based on one from Elephants and Coconut Trees. You can chop the pineapple into pieces that are about 1 – 1.5 cm and they will retain a little bite when cooked (yummy) or chop smaller and it will melt into a halwa type consistency (also yummy).
Madhura Pachadi | Kerala Pineapple, Plantain and Grape Pachadi
2 cups pineapple, peeled and cubed into small, equal sized cubes
0.5 ripe plantain, chopped finely (optional)
30 red grapes
2 tspn Indian chilli powder, or to taste
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn brown mustard seeds
3 Tblspn jaggery or palm sugar
15 raw, unsalted cashew halves
sea salt to taste
2 – 3 tspn coconut oil
0.5 tspn brown mustard seeds
1 – 2 Indian dried red chillies, or to taste
8 – 10 curry leaves
Take 10 grapes and slice them in halves. Set them aside.
Heat a kadhai or pan and add the mustard seeds to toast until warmed through, then grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Set aside.
Add the coconut to the pan and toast to a dark brown without burning. Set aside.
Add the pineapple, sliced grapes and plantain pieces to the pan with a small cup of water and simmer with the chilli powder and turmeric powder until the pineapple is very soft. Add a little more water if necessary as it cooks.
When soft, add the sugar and cashew nuts and simmer, stirring, until the water evaporates and it becomes jammy.
Remove from the heat and add the grapes and coconut. Stir well.
Make a tadka by popping the mustard seeds in the coconut oil in a tadka pan, and then adding the red chillies. After a few moments, add the curry leaves (be careful of the spluttering). Pour the tadka over the pachadi. Put the lid on and allow to sit for 5 minut4es for flavours to absorb. Then serve with rice, thorans and other Keralite dishes.
recipe notes and alternatives
I love this wrapped in some flatbread or a roti, with some salad greens.
Add mangoes when they are in season.