Just few days back, I was debating whether upgrade some of the old pictures on this blog. From my very first picture/post, I've upgraded my camera, my photographic skills (not too much, but decent). Since I make some of the recipes here frequently, I can always take a new picture and replace the old one. As I was browsing through the blog, I became nostalgic and I felt like every picture spoke to me and reminded me of when I made that, the family members present at that time, all the details...I realized, I lose all these memories for prettiness sake of the blog. So, I chose not to replace them. After all, on this blog, they are supporting the protagonists, the recipes. :-)
Introspection of past (sans over-pondering) is good as it teaches valuable lessons, no matter how the past was, good/bad/or ugly. But, acceptance is key. I've accepted that I was not-so-great-photographer :-) (not that I excel at it now...) But, hey, every moment is a learning opportunity.
So, as we move on from past to future via present, on this day of Telugu new year, UgAdi, I wish all of you and your families a very happy new year!
Following the tradition, today I made UgAdi PaCHaDi. This PaCHaDi was originally consumed everyday for the first month of the Telugu lunar year. This was done so to ward-off spring related ailments and to boost immunity. Gradually this has been reduced to a ceremonial one day ritual.
The paCHaDi supposed to have all six tastes (as per Ayurveda)- sweet, salty, sour (tangy), astringent, pungent/spicy, and bitter. The paCHadi uses ingredients that are available freshly in the season: neem flowers to impart bitterness, green mango, new jaggery or fresh sugar cane. All of these are fresh in the season.
What you need to make the paCHaDi:
I don't use measurements for this, nor I taste it before offering it in the prayer. 'Eyeballing' measurements comes very handy in making such preparations.1 medium sized green mango, peeled and chopped fine (imparts astringent and sour tastes)2 tablespoons "new" tamarind * , soaked in a cup of water (imparts sour taste)1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns (imparts pungent/spicy taste)1/4 cup "new" jaggery * (imparts sweet taste)1 1/2 tablespoons fresh neem flowers or 2 - 3 teaspoons dried neem flowers (imparts bitter taste)Rock Salt to taste (of course, imparts salt taste)
Extract juice from the soaked tamarind.
In a mortar and pestle, crush peppercorns, mango pieces. Add neem flowers and crush again.Add jaggery and salt, crush to a paste.Add tamarind juice, mix well.
Alternately, put all the ingredients in a food processor, and grind it into coarse paste.
Variation: Chopped sugar cane pieces can be added to the paCHaDi at the end.
* "new" tamarind and jaggery are the ones that were processed in the very near past, than the ones that were sitting on shelves/panties. Both tamarind and jaggery look paler than their aged counterparts.