Apr 7, 2008

Recipe - Ugadi Pachadi

Chutney with Six tastes served on Telugu New year's day (Festival from South India - Andra Pradesh)

Summary

Ugadi is derived from the word Yugadi. "Yug" means era and "aadi" is start. Beginning of a new era. On the first day of the chaitramas (chaitra month) and vasanth rutu (spring season), Ugadi is celebrated. There are 12 months (maas) and 6 seasons (rutus) (2 months = 1 season). Vasanta navarathri also starts from this day. It marks the beginning of a new year for Telugu people. Astrologically Sun enters Aries on this day.

Year, SARVAJIT, ends as AMAVASYA as its final day and the new year begins with PADYAMI with moon beginning its ascent. New year arrives with a profusion of colors with all creation blossoming with energizing grace.

Traditionally it starts after AMAVAASI (darkness) means the moon at its lowest ebb. It starts on a PADYAMI day showing the ascent of the moon like the fortunes of human beings.

The Telugu new year's day comes in the month of Chaitram which incidentally represent, in brief, all the six RUTUS or seasons of rain, summer, winter in a way. infact it is raining right now outside as I am writing this. The mother nature wearing greenery all over, trees with fresh and tender leaves, fruit trees with plenty of flowers indicating the season of abundant fruits, rivers with lesser flow of waters etc. Herds of cows with plenty of milk is boon to the farmers. It is a tradition for all Telugu people to assemble at the temple to listen to the PANCHANGA SRAVANAM (recital) covering the future of the state of affairs of the individuals according to their RAASI (raising sign), that of the state, likely yields in the fields, the atmospheric conditions in the year ahead etc; It is a belief that celebrating happily the New years day will bring abundant happiness through out the year.

On this day exchanging greetings, recitation of VISHNU SAHASRANAMA, LALITHA SAHASRANAMA, and poetry are said to be harbingers of joy and good fortune for self and family.

A Telugu poet explained that unlike the greeting in English of 'WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR", the greetings in traditional Indian manner is well wishing of every one in the family as well as all the creation in the world.

Traditionally Ugadi pachadi is the first item to be eaten before anything else on this new year's day. Folklore says that whatever taste is experienced will result in the same taste throughout the coming year. Eating this pachadi/chutney brings alive lot of fond childhood memories. Ugadi pachadi has six tastes in it - sweet, sour, bitter, pungent, salt and hot. Try it and see what you get to taste! Please don't take the taste too seriously as an indication for the rest of the year :-) You can always prepare some of the other recipes and enliven the taste/experience you desire. I look forward to your comments to know what type of taste hits your taste buds.

Ugadi shubhakankshalu! Wishing you all a very happy Ugadi!

Ingredients:

  • Neem tree flowers (margosa flowers)- 1 table spoon
  • Salt - 1/4 teaspoon (according to taste)
  • Red chilli powder - less than 1/8 teaspoon (1 pinch)
  • Jaggery/Sugar - 4 table spoons
  • Tamarind pulp - 4 table spoons (small lemon sized tamarind)
  • Water - 1 or 2 table spoons (optional)
  • Finely chopped raw mango - 1 table spoon
  • Finely chopped sugar cane - 1 table spoon
  • Banana pieces - 1 table spoon

Process

Dissolve jaggery in the tamarind juice/pulp. Add all the ingredients, add very little water to make pachadi little watery. Mix them all well. Serve in small quantities.


Preparation time: 20 - 30 minutes

Tips:


  • Neem leaves can be used in place of neem flowers, if neem flowers are not available. Some use neem powder/methi powder/bittermelon juice to add bitter taste to the chutney if neem flowers or neem leaves or not available.
  • For Tamarind pulp: add tamarind and 1/2 cup of water and microwave it for 2- 3 minutes. The water will decrease to 1/4cup. Let it cool and then mash the tamarind pulp with a spoon and filter it.







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Disclaimer

Some of the recipes presented here are originally inspired by others. Credit is given to the original postings. I have listed recipes here for my own reference as well as pictures are my addition to the whole cooking experience. Enjoy.