We can never have enough pachadi and raita. Cooling and refreshing, they are prefect on a hot Summer’s day. Tasty and delicious, they are an excellent way to include yoghurt in your diet and to include another vegetable in your daily mix of food. Indian food is an excellent vehicle for including more veg in your meals than you ever thought possible.
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. They are both yoghurt based dishes that contain mashed, pounded or diced vegetables, less often fruit, and seasoned with spices. Pachadis vary from raitas in the flavourings and spices used. Typically a yoghurt based pachadi will contain coconut and be seasoned with mustard seeds, ginger, curry leaves and chillies. Raita is typically seasoned with coriander leaves, roasted cumin seeds, mint, chillies, chaat masala and/or other herbs and spices.
It is these yoghurt based pachadis that are the most well known variety of pachadi throughout India. Even Wikipedia believes these are the only pachadi varieties 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). Then there are pachadis with sago, bhoondi or poha. North Karnataka cuisine has some Koshambari varieties without yoghurt or curd which are also called Pachadis.
You can read more about different Pachadi types here. Today we bring you a collection of Pachadi recipes for your enjoyment.
This Pachadi is a lovely one, flavoured with sauteed onions, green chillies and creamy coconut. Delicious! The play of flavours and textures – I know you will love it. It is another recipe to add to our Raita and Pachadi series.
You might like to read What is a South Indian Pachadi?
Our local Afghan shop has the most gorgeous dried apricots. They are as hard as a rock and really uninviting, but once soaked, their flavour is sweet and intense. We make a range of dishes with them, often long, slow cooked dishes of a Middle Eastern style, but we also make a South Indian pachadi (pureed vegetable or fruit in yoghurt with spices).
You might expect this dish to be sweet, but the sourness of the yoghurt and the heat of the chillies counterbalances any sweetness that the apricots retain. You can also use apricots that you have dried yourself.
Yoghurt is an essential part of meals in Tamil Nadu, and Pachadi recipes are a way to deliver the health benefits of yoghurt while adding another vegetable (or fruit) to the meal. Win-win! This pachadi uses dried mango; it’s common in households as Summer is spent sun-drying vegetables, mixed vegetable purees and lentil pastes.
Meenakshi Ammal has this recipe in her Cook and See volumes (Volume 1). Perhaps using dried mango for pachadi is not as common as it was, but it is a delicious addition to the table, and easily made from readily available ingredients.
You might expect it to be sweet, but the sourness of the yoghurt and the heat of the chillies counterbalances any sweetness that the mangoes retain. I used mangoes that I dehydrated last year in the midst of mango season.
One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through Meenakshi Ammal’s books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.
We make raita and yoghurt pachadi often at home – they are easy, no fuss dishes that can be served with an Indian meal or used as sauces and dressings for baked and steamed veggies, in wraps, over simple salads etc.
This raita uses carrots, cucumbers or zucchini, and tomatoes for a colourful raita that brings a happy note to the table. The vegetables are just grated or chopped and incorporated into the yoghurt with some chillies, ginger and a tadka. Enjoy! You could sub other vegetables – finely grated cabbage (red or green), or red or green peppers, for example.
Some time ago I dried some okra to see us through the non-okra season, and it is time to use them. These are teeny crispy dried okra, tiny little rounds of okra and today we pair them with yoghurt in a Dried Okra Pachadi.
The dried okra is flash fried in some ghee and added to yoghurt which has been flavoured with spices. It is totally delicious, and can be used as a snack or as a side salad to a meal. We have even used it as a sauce or dressing for other dishes.
Also try Tri Colour Raita.
I love fresh pineapple, so much so that it (mostly) overcomes the need to peel it and remove the eyes before the juicy slices can be used. This year I have made two Madhura Pachadi dishes, both delicious. They are from Kerala. One has a little coconut but no yoghurt and is a little like a spicy halwa, and this one where the pineapple is cooked in a tamarind base. It also contains a little coconut. BTW there are many other versions of Madhura Pachadi, but we love these two.
Kerala has the best dishes, don’t you think? That is after Tamil Nadu of course.
Similar dishes include
- Grilled Pineapple with Green Tomato Dressing
- Pineapple, Grape and Plantain Madhura Pachadi
- Pineapple Pulissery
- Pineapple Pulissery with Green Peppercorns
- Dried Okra Pachadi
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).
Despite milk being abundant in India, I find it is rare to see it used in dishes that are not sweet. However I have probably seen more such recipes in the past month than I have noticed in the past decade. I wonder is that just my awareness, or is there a resurgence of popularity of these dishes.
Yoghurt is of course used extensively in savoury dishes, so why not use milk instead of yoghurt? You will find that milk gives a lighter touch and is without the sourness of yoghurt. While yoghurt is always evident in dishes, milk adds flavour without being assertive.
However, the ancient Ayurveda texts advise not to combine milk and salt. This combination, they say, creeps up on you, damaging the body in various ways over a long period of time. It is Ok to mix salt with milk products, such as yoghurt, paneer etc, just not milk. You will see various ayurvedic practitioners warn against the combination, but interestingly Vasant Lad does not. If you do wish to avoid it, leave out the salt, or substitute watered down yoghurt and touch of sugar for the milk. The sugar is to counteract the sourness of the yoghurt.
This is an Indian chutney from Andhra Pradesh. Eggplant is roasted and the flesh is mashed with milk that has been boiled and cooled, and then a tempering added that includes ginger and coriander leaves. It is delicious, and I recommend it with rice or part of an Indian meal.
South Indian chutneys are quite different to Western chutneys, and they also make great dips, spreads for sandwiches and wraps, and purees to accompany a meal or form a base for other ingredients.