Tamil New Year Special| Raw Mango Pachadi (Relish) With Neem Flowers

Today is Tamil New Year, Vishu, Bengali Noboborsho, and Bihu. Best wishes to all those who are celebrating today! 🙂

We celebrate Tamil New Year today, by eating a pachadi (relish) made out of raw mangoes, with neem flowers added to it. The idea behind eating this relish is to get a sample of all the major tastes – sweet, sour, bitter and salt – on New Year Day. This is done to indicate that life, too, is a mix of sweet, sour, bitter and salty experiences – it is the mix that makes life worth relishing.

At other times of the year, i.e. not on Tamil New Year, this pachadi is made without the neem flowers. With or without the flowers, the husband and I happen to love it. 🙂

Typically, fresh neem flowers are added to this pachadi, plucked straight off trees that are in bloom this time of the year. Those who are unable to find fresh neem flowers add dried ones to the pachadi, and that is just what I did this year.

So, here’s presenting to you Tamil New Year mango pachadi with dried neem flowers.

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Here is how I made it.

Ingredients (yields one large bowl):

1 medium-sized raw mango (peeled, de-seeded and chopped into large chunks)

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons of dried neem flowers

1 cup of powdered jaggery

2 tablespoons of oil

2 teaspoons of mustard seeds

2-3 dried red chillies, broken

Red chilli powder, to taste (optional)

Method:

  1. Dissolve the powdered jaggery in very little water. Filter out the impurities. Keep the filtered liquid aside.
  2. Boil the chunks of raw mango with a little water, in a pressure cooker. Give it 3 whistles.
  3. When the pressure has gone down completely, open the pressure cooker, and keep the boiled mango pieces and the water they were boiled in, aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep-bottomed pan, and add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter.
  5. Add the broken dried red chillies. Fry for just about a second, ensuring that they do not get burnt.
  6. Add the dried neem flowers to the pan. Fry for just a second, ensuring that they do not burn – else the dish turns bitter.
  7. Transfer the boiled mango pieces and the liquid to the pan, along with salt and red chilli powder to taste, and the jaggery water.
  8. Turn the flame to medium and cook, covered, till the mixture starts to thicken. Stir intermittently.
  9. Switch off the flame when the pachadi has reached a thick, but still runny consistency.
  10. Let the pachadi cool down completely, and then, serve.

Notes:

  1. Adding the red chilli powder to the pachadi is totally optional. My grandmother and mother don’t add it – it is just the dried red chillies that add the spciy flavour to this dish. The husband and I love adding red chilli powder (just a hint) to our pachadi.
  2. You could use ghee or a mix of ghee and oil for the garnish. We prefer doing it with oil.
  3. Ideally, the pachadi is supposed to be sweet. You need to add just a couple of pinches of salt, to ensure that it does not get too sweet.

Do you like raw mango pachadi? How do you make it?

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Last year, I enjoyed cooking up a variety of dishes using raw mangoes. I hope to do the same this year, too. 🙂

Click here to see all my posts about last year’s raw mango series.

This year, I started my raw mango experiments with Thai Raw Mango and Onion Salad. This pachadi is my second experiment for the series.

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