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.