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Rediff.com  » Getahead » Food » Onam Recipes: Cucumber Pachadi, Beetroot Pachadi

Onam Recipes: Cucumber Pachadi, Beetroot Pachadi

By JULIE IGNATIUS
Last updated on: September 06, 2022 15:23 IST
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Julie Ignatius provides recipes for the key pachadi component of your Onam Sadhya.

Pachadi, the yoghurt-based South Indian answer to a north Indian raita, although it is often much, much more than that, can be made with a wide range of vegetables and is a critical part of a meal because it provides the cool, healthy salad-like break from spice.

The hands-down favourite is usually Pineapple Pachadi. But all pachadis taste super refreshing and astonishingly yum because nothing dresses up raw vegetables the way a pachadi does.

Try a Vellarikkai or Kerala-style Cucumber Pachadi or a Beetroot Pachadi -- the ingredients used in these dishes are the same, except for jeera or cumin and red chillies. The process is also similar.

Both these dishes can be a part of your everyday lunch or dinner too and go well with steamed rice and sambar or rasam and even rotis.

Julie hails from Kollam in southern Kerala, but has been living in Mumbai for several decades.

She whips up delicious Malayali food and is known for her red masala fish curries.

Every year, she makes the Onam Sadhya for her family. Except for the chips and papadam, everything, including the tamarind relish inji puli, is made at home.

Kindly note the image has only been posted for representational purposes.
Photograph: Kind courtesy Cool Studio_Food/Instagram

Cucumber Pachadi

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 250 gm Madras cucumber (it's bigger than the usual cucumber and its skin is yellow with green stripes)
  • 1 whole fresh coconut, grated
  • ½ kg thick yoghurt or curd (preferably the packaged variety available in grocery stores, avoid the yoghurt available in milk dairies as it is not very thick)
  • Sprig curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies, slit, add or reduce as per taste
  • ½ tsp rai or mustard seeds
  • Dash jeera or cumin seeds
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt

Method

  • Wash, peel and deseed the cucumber. 
    Cut it into small pieces
  • Heat the cucumber along with a little water in a heavy-bottomed kadhai over medium heat.
    Add the curry leaves, slit green chillies and salt.
    Boil for a few minutes, over low heat, until the water evaporates.
    Keep stirring so the mixture doesn't burn.
    Take off heat and cover.
    Keep aside.
  • Grind the grated coconut, jeera till a fine paste.
    Add the rai and grind for a few seconds more.
    The mustard seeds should only be roughly crushed.
    Alternatively use a mortar and pestle to crush lightly.
  • Heat the coconut mixture in a heavy-bottomed kadhai over low heat.
    Add the cooked cucumber and stir.
    Cook for a few minutes over low heat.
    The minute the mixture begins bubbling, take off heat.
  • Whisk the yoghurt with a hand-blender without any water.
    When the mixture cools, pour in the yoghurt.
    Mix well and serve.

Editor's Note: Vegans can substitute yoghurt with vegan yoghurt.


Kindly note the image has only been posted for representational purposes.
Photograph: RAK Samayal/Instagram

Beetroot Pachadi

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 250 gm beetroot, cut into small pieces
  • 1 whole fresh coconut, grated
  • ½ kg thick curd or yoghurt
  • 1 small onion, chopped, optional
  • Sprig curry leaves
  • ½ tsp rai or mustard seeds
  • ½ cup water
  • 1-2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 red chillies, torn
  • Pinch sugar
  • Salt

Method

  • Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed kadhai over medium heat.
    Add the mustard seeds.
    When it splutters, add the torn red chillies, sugar, curry leaves.
    Add the chopped onion if you're using it. 
    Add the chopped beetroot.
    Add salt.
    Add a little water. 
    Let the mixture boil for a few minutes, until the water evaporates.
    Keep stirring so the mixture doesn't burn.
    Take off heat, and cover.
    Keep aside.
  • Grind the grated coconut, jeera till a fine paste.
    Add the rai and grind for a few seconds more.
    The mustard seeds should only be roughly crushed.
    Alternatively use a mortar and pestle to crush lightly.
  • Heat the coconut mixture in a heavy-bottomed kadhai over low heat.
    Add the cooked beetroot and stir.
    Cook for a few minutes over low heat.
    The minute the mixture begins bubbling take off heat.
    Whisk the yoghurt with a hand-blender without any water.
    When the mixture cools, pour in the yoghurt.
    Mix well and serve.

Editor's Note: Vegans can substitute yoghurt with vegan yoghurt. Jains, who may not eat beetroot, could use fried sliced bhindi or okra for this recipe.

 
Photograph: Kind courtesy Julie Ignatius

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JULIE IGNATIUS