What is a pachadi? For many people, it is equivalent to a raita, and indeed there are curd or yoghurt based pachadi dishes that have similarities with the raitas of the North of India. It is these dishes that are most well known throughout India. Even Wikipedia thinks these are the only curd based pachadis in some regions like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
But my goodness, there are quite a few variations of Pachadi, from the ground vegetable and green ones of Andhra Pradesh, to the mashed vegetables of the South, to ones that contain cooked vegetables or fruits in a white, non-dairy sauce, to the sweet pachadis of Kerala (also without yoghurt). They take the form of side dishes, salads, pickles or chutneys.
Meaning of Pachadi
Pachadi means pounded and in many pachadi dishes the ingredients are either ground, minced, mashed or diced and cooked according to the custom of that region.
Today’s recipe, one of Meenakshi Ammal’s, uses a sweet-sour mango which is cooked in a slightly sweet, almost unspiced sauce and topped with chillies and mustard seed. It is a typical non-yoghurt pachadi from Tamil Nadu – perhaps less popular today than 50 years ago but still part of Tamil cuisine. We love to cook from Ammal’s Cook and See, and you can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made so far here.
You can imagine that this style of dish perhaps even preceded the yoghurt based dishes, or perhaps were made as an alternative when yoghurt was not available. Or perhaps it is just made to vary the daily routine.
In Madurai, this Mango Pachadi is made on Tamil New Years Day in April, with fried Neem Flower Powder added at the end of cooking.
Green Mango Pachadi
The mango must be neither too tender nor too ripe, and must have a sweet-sour flavour.
1 green sweet-sour mango, unpeeled, cut into large pieces
sea salt to taste
0.25 tspn turmeric powder
2 tspns rice flour, mixed to a flowing paste with a little water
1 tspn brown mustard seeds
2 green chillies, slit
Heat 0.75 cups water and simmer the mango pieces, turmeric powder and 0.5 tspn salt until the mango is cooked. Add the jaggery and mix well. Taste. The flavour should be sweet-sour, so adjust jaggery as necessary.
While stirring, slowly pour in the rice flour paste and continue to stir for a few minutes until the rice flour is cooked out and the pachadi is slightly thickened.
Remove from the heat. Make a tadka with the mustard seeds and green chillies.
recipe notes and alternatives
The green chillies can be cooked with the mango.
If green chillies are not at hand for the tadka, use 2 Indian dried red chillies.
If you need to use a sweeter or riper mango, decrease the amount of jaggery accordingly.
In Madurai, this Mango Pachadi is made on Tamil New Years Day in April, and fried Neem Flower Powder is added after removing the pachadi from the heat.
Similar pachadi dishes can be made with jackfruit and (add salt to these while cooking).
An alternative way to make this pachadi is to make the tadka, add the raw mango pieces, saute 10 seconds then add a cup of water. Simmer until tender, about 10 mins. Add jaggery and simmer until it thickens (or thicken with rice flour).