Wishing all my readers and my friends a very Happy Tamil New Year and a Very Happy Vishu.
I hope this year starts off right and ends on a happy note!
The great this about any Indian festival is that it comes along with its unique menu. Some of these dishes are made only once a year - and I don't get that. Come on, why can't we have kozhukattai every second saturday and why can't we have Diwali Legiyam all through the year considering its so heatlhy! But, I guess that's the beauty of the festivals - you don't want to make it all year around and lose the warm and cozy feeling that comes with it. Besides, we all need something to look forward to, a goal in life - for some people like me, that very well could be the kozhukattais for vinayaka chathurthis! LOL
I spoke to both my mom and my mother in law and as always I asked them as to what we make special for Varushaparippu - and both of them first came up with Mango Pacahadi with Veppambu. That got the unanimous vote.
So, here it is along with my other special menu for the pandigai. Man..I felt like I had full meals in Saravana Bhavan today! Haven't made so much stuff in one day. Now I know why the special stuff is done only once or twice a year!
So, here we go with the step by step for Mango Pachadi with Veppambu.
Chop up one green mango with into medium chunks. Some people leave the skin on - but I do peel the mango and then chop it.
Also, roughly chop/ scrape about 1/2 cup of jaggery.
In a pan, add 1 tsp oil. Add 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then, add the chopped mango pieces to the pan and mix well.
Add 1/4 tsp of turmeric, 2 red chillies and 1 tsp of red chilli powder. Add salt to taste. Mix well and make sure that all the mango pieces are coated well. Saute for a min.
Now add about 2 cups of water. Close and let the mango pieces completely cook. They need to be soft enough that you can cut through easily. Don't overcook it and make it all mushy.
When the mango pieces are done, add the crushed jaggery in here and mix well. Now, let this cook until the whole thing becomes a little thick.
That's it - you're almost done. This is actually the regular Mango Pachadi done even on normal days.
But, for the new year, the tradition is to add bitter veppambu on top of this. The idea behind this is that life is a little bit of everything - sweet, sour, bitter -meaning ups and downs and happiness and sadness at times - and so we try and incorporate all these flavors in one dish. And even though the pachadi has bitter veppambu in it, because of the sweetness present, you don't feel just the bitterness. Same way in life, even though there are tough moments, life overall is a good thing, so be happy and grateful for all the sweetness we have in life.
So, to add Veppambu - in a small pan, add a tsp of ghee and fry 1 heaped tsp of veppambu in the ghee until it turns really dark, almost black and you see the smoke coming out completely. You basically burn the jack out of it!
Add that on top of the pachadi, then mix well and you're done. Really.
Hope you all have a good year ahead. Do take time to stop and smell the roses and maybe take a picture or two of them too.
Here's my New year special Thali. Rice, Mor Kozhambu, Rasam, Mango Pachadi, Vada, Carrot Kosmali, Cabbage Poriyal, and Semiya Payasam- I told you it was like full meals in saravana bhavan!
Iniya Puthandu Nalvazhthukkal.
Enjoy. Peace Out!