According to the ancient Tamil Solar Calendar, 'Chitterai' is the first month of the Tamil Year. The first day of Chitterai , which falls on 14th April , is celebrated as 'Puthandu'/Tamil New Year. During this time, you will find mango trees and neem trees in full bloom . People are busy cleaning and decorating their homes with large Kolams/rangolis. Food is an integral part of any festival celebration in India and the Puthandu Special dish is the 'Mango/Mangai Pachadi' served along from the elaborate feast of Rice, Paruppu Vadai or Medhu Vadai, Payasam, Sambar, Paal Kootu, Mor Kuzhambu and Veepam Poo Rasam. The Mango Pacchadi is also made on Ugadi/ Telugu New Year .
The Pacchadi is made using raw mangoes and neem flowers/margosa flowers and young neem leaves that has great health benefits and helps one to build immunity against the harsh summers. Interestingly, the pacchadi also has a deep rooted message of life. The Pacchadi signifies growth and prosperity as it is made from nature's bountiful produce. It also has all the six flavours such as sweet, salt, sour, bitter, spice and umami , a yearly reminder that life is challenging with ups and downs but it all adds up to one fruitful journey like this delicious dish!
Mango Pacchadi | Mangai Pacchadi :
Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 15 minutes
Serves : 4
1 Cup = 250 ml Cup
1/2 cup peeled and grated raw mango
1/2 cup powdered jaggery
1/4 teaspoon neem flowers/veepam poo/margosa flowers ( fresh flowers or sundried flowers)
3-4 baby neem leaves ( optional)
1 teaspoon ghee/clarified butter
1 cup water ( adjust)
salt to taste
For tempering :
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 dry red chilli ( cut into smaller pieces) OR 3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ghee
1. Melt the jaggery in a cup of water, filter and set it aside.
2. Heat a pan over low flame with 1/2 teaspoon ghee, temper with mustard seeds and dry red chillies/powder and mix.
Tip: While tempering, along with mustard seeds, I also add melon, sesame, flax and sunflower seeds. This is completely optional.
3. Now , add the jaggery water.
4. When the jaggery water starts boiling, add the grated mango.
5. Close the pan and cook the pacchadi over low flame for 5-7 minutes or till the time the mango resembles a pulp.
Tip : Add water if necessary. Switch off before the jaggery juice becomes dry. The pacchadi has to be slightly thick but in a pouring consistency.
6. Switch off.
7. Heat a ladle with ghee and fry the neem flowers and leaves till they turn golden.
8. Pour it into the pacchadi.
Your delicious Mangai Pacchadi is ready to be served.
Chef Tips :
1. Instead of grating the mango, you can peel the skin and boil the mango in a pressure cooker ( using the inner vessel) , mash and use it . In that case, you can reduce the amount of water as the mango is already boiled and mashed.
2. Adjust the quantity of jaggery , spice and salt according to the sourness of the mango variety that you are using.
3. If fresh neem flowers are not available in your country, you can use the dry neem flowers available in Asian Markets or you can use baby neem leaves.
Happy Cooking !