Podimas is the Tamil (South Indian) equivalent to a mash – potato podimas is quite divine. Here we are using plantains – the variety of banana that is primarily used green or raw. The plantain is simmered until tender, mashed or crumbled, then mixed with spices. It is a great side dish.
Rasam – I cannot say enough about this wonderful Tamil dish that wakens the digestive system and enlivens the palate. We have quite a number of different recipes. Today’s is one that includes some toor dal, is flavoured with tomato and uses lemon as its tart/sour flavour. It is similar to but much simpler than this Mysore Rasam. We use rasam powder today rather than make a fresh spice mix.
Amavadai are deep fried lentil patties that are spiced and, in this recipe, soaked in yoghurt. There are many ways of soaking and serving in yoghurt and we show just one simple one. These vadai are often served at festivals and weddings.
Okra Yoghurt Pachadi is such a great dish that we have many versions of it. But this Pachadi is without yoghurt. The okra is sauteed and then cooked with tamarind and jaggery for a sweet-tangy gravy. It is a delicious alternative to the curd based pachadi dishes.
I have to admit that this is one of my most favourite okra dishes. It has all the tastes – hot (chilli), sour (tamarind), bitter (fenugreek), sweet (jaggery). If you want to add pungent, add some sliced garlic. For salty, add a pinch of salt.
Read more about the different types of Pachadi dishes in India.
The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these 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.
If you have eaten South Indian Tamil style Arachuvitta Kuzhambu, then you will know that there’s nothing quite like the aroma and taste of freshly ground spices in a dish. Arachuvitta means freshly ground in Tamil. It is very common in households in South India and is exceedingly delicious.
Arachuvitta is a very common style of making Sambar, Kuzhambu and related dishes. The spices are roasted in a little ghee or Indian sesame oil until golden and very aromatic, and then ground to a thick, smooth paste. This is added to the spicy broth and cooked with the dish. The alternative is to reach for pre-ground sambar powder, but this does not have the same aromatic qualities and fresh flavours.
Fresh Sundakkai berries (also called turkey berries) are soaked in a salt-buttermilk mixture for couple of days and then dried. They are sauteed in ghee or oil before incorporating in dishes. Their taste is addictively salty and somewhat tart. They are easily available in Indian groceries or online.
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.
We have another kari for you today. A kari is (generally) a vegetable side dish in Tamil Nadu and it is an important part of a balanced meal. This one is plantain cooked with tamarind and some simple spices. It is easy to make and very delicious.
A kari is (generally) a vegetable side dish in Tamil Nadu and it is an important part of a balanced meal. Most people believe that the word curry comes from kari although the first term is generic for spicy dishes and the latter is a dish that can be served mild or made exotic with a variety of spices (and deep frying). There are lots of versions of the etymology of kari, but there is some agreement that its modern day usage means stir fried. Still, you will find lots of different interpretations of it. Stir-fry vegetable dishes can also be called Poriyal, and some Sundals are also classified as a kari. Kari can be made with a large variety of vegetables – carrots, beans, snakegourd, broad beans, cluster beans, corn, broccoli, chow chow, plantain etc.
Sago, ignored in some countries, used for sweet items in others, is very common in India. It is used in both sweet and savoury incarnations. Today we have a yoghurt Pachadi – sago is deep fried and mixed with yoghurt and spices for a cooling accompaniment to a hot spicy meal.
Deep frying makes the sago puff and expand and taste a little like puffed rice, or even caramelised popcorn. They soften a little in the yoghurt for a delicious and textural dish.
Pachadi is a South Indian dish – quite different to a Raita, but you can say it is the counterpart of Raita. Perhaps they are second cousins. Although appearing similar to some (yoghurt base, chopped vegetables or other small items), the approach and seasoning is different. At least, traditionally. Dishes seem to merge into one another in these days of the internet and Western influence.
This recipe is one from Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See books. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these 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.
Read more about Sabudana (sago and tapioca) here.
As we head into another heatwave, thoughts turn again to cooling dishes. One of the most nutritious and cooling is yoghurt rice, also called curd rice. It tastes cool and refreshing on the hottest of summer days.
Yoghurt rice is made from rice cooked until mushy, then cooled and mixed with yoghurt and spices. It can be garnished in various ways, including with fruit, cucumber, onion, herbs and pomegranate. Today we have kept it simple. It can be eaten as-is or accompanied with a papad and pickle. Yum!
This dish is also often used in Temples as Naivedyam and Prasadam. We have made it quite thick here – just add more yoghurt to get a thinner texture.
This is a delicious South Indian Style Curry where Chow Chow (also known as choko or chayote) is cooked along with spices and coconut. It is a simple dish, perfect for a weekday meal.
Chow chow, called choko in Australia, is a funny little vegetable – a prolific bearer and definitely loved by Tamil South Indians who tend to love all gourds. It is slightly bland in taste, with a delicious crispness and an internal juiciness. Divine! It is generally cooked simply – kootu, kari, poriyal or sambar.
A kari is (generally) a vegetable side dish in Tamil Nadu and it is an important part of a balanced meal. Most people believe that the word curry comes from kari although the first term is generic for spicy dishes and the latter is a dish that can be served mild or made exotic with a variety of spices (and deep frying). There are lots of versions of the etymology of kari, but there is some agreement that its modern day usage means stir-fried. Still, you will find lots of different interpretations of it. Stir-fry vegetable dishes can also be called Poriyal and some Sundals are also classified as a kari. Kari can be made with a large variety of vegetables – carrots, beans, snakegourd, chow chow, plantain, Indian broad beans, cluster beans, corn, broccoli, etc.