This past year I’ve been mostly AWOL from my online presence for a lot of reasons. And getting back to blogging is something i wish to focus on this year. A huge development that did take place was the growth of my kitchen garden. I became a part of a group of gardeners here in Bangalore who encouraged to grow-what-you-eat-and-eat-what-you-grow! My focus is to be healthy, and a great way of doing that is to eat organic foods. Adn the best way I found to achieve that, is to grow organic!! 🙂
Today’s recipe is made using vankaya that I grow in my garden!
There are 2 varieties of vankaya pachadi in Telugu cuisine. One is the way I will describe below. The other is one that Telugu cuisine shares with other Indian regions and is called baingan-ka-bharta. Hopefully, I’ll get around to featuring that too soon!
While baingan ka bharta relies on the violet colored brinjals, this pachadi can be made with any variety. That is a blessing, given that my kitchen garden doesn’t feature the violet ones (yet). What I do have are these 2 kinds of brinjal:
Veggies from my garden!
The picture was taken along with other produce from my garden that day. I’ve used the single big whitish vankaya in this recipe.
So here goes!
- Brinjal/eggplant/vankaya – 1 large (or abt 100 gm)
- green chillies – 10-12
- red chillies – 5
- Tamarind – about 1/2 lemon size (approximately)
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
- Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
- Seasoning: mustard seeds (aavalu) – 1 tsp, urad dal (mina pappu) – 1 tsp, fenugreek seeds (menthulu) 1/3tsp, asafoetida (inguva) – 1tsp
- In a lidded saucepan, pour in the oil and place the uncut vankaya in it. The saucepan needs to be deep enough for the lid to set properly after planing the vankaya.
- Keep turning the vankaya time to time to ensure the whole thing in braised. The skin will seem to split a bit, or at least part from the body. When lightly pressed, the skin will fold into the vankaya.
- Remove from the saucepan, retaining the oil. Set the vankaya aside for cooling in the final serving dish.
- Add the seasoning into the oil. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add the red and green chillies and let them stay in the oil till all the chillies start changing color.
- Take off the flame immediately and add the washed tamarind, turmeric and salt, and set aside to cool.
- Once cool, grind the seasoning into a fine paste.
- Peel the skin off the cooled vankaya. This will actually peel off easily if the vankaya has been braised properly.
- Mash the peeled vankaya lightly. You may opt to keep pieces or mash the whole thing finely.
- Mix the seasoning paste into the mashed vankaya welland set aside for some time.
The pachadi is best served with hot rice and ghee! 🙂
On a recent shopping sojourn, I found some raw local tomatoes on sale. I couldn’t believe my luck and proceeded to buy quite a few! I prefer local tomatoes over hybrid because of their taste. Hybrid tomatoes have a kind of flat taste, and it’s just no fun to make anything with them!
The best way to identify the local ones is the shape. Local tomatoes have a round-ish shape, with an emphasized dip at the very tip. Hybrid ones have a flat tip, and are somewhat leaner in shape. I should have thought to take pictures of what I’m talking about, but I was too enthusiastic about using up my bounty. 😉
I’m not overly fond of pachadis, but this one is one of the very few exceptions. The spicy yet tangy taste of this pachi (raw) tomato pachadi makes it special.
Pachi Tomato Pachadi
- 2 raw tomatoes
- a small bit of tamarind, washed and set aside to soften
- 6 green chillies
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of turmeric
- Tadka: aavalu, menthulu, mina pappu, dry red chilli
- In a medium-sized wok, roast the raw tomatoes in 2 tbsp of oil till done.
- You know the tomatoes are done then the skin starts to peel of and the tomatoes themselves have become soft.
- Add the green chillies and turn them around in the hot oil for a few moments.
- Set aside to cool down.
- In a tadka pan, heat some oil and add tadka. Wait till the aavalu pop, and then set aside and add salt.
- Once everything has cooled down, grind the tadka with the tamarind, turmeric and the green chillies to a fine paste.
- Do not grind the tomatoes.
- Peel the tomatoes and mash roughly by hand so as to leave small pieces of the tomatoes but not big chunks.
- Add the pachadi paste into the tomatoes and mix well.
This is absolutely tasty with rice or dosa.
This particular item was made by my MIL, because, well, the last time I made this pachadi, it was a disaster. I seriously needed the lesson!
So here goes, as I learnt it. One main point to remember here, all the tadka items are by approximation. Out of sheer experience, MIL doesn’t use any standard measure, and it simply confuses her if I ask for any! So what I’ve written is what I can figure for myself while watching. So its going to be a process of trial-and-error even for me while making this particular pachadi.
- 1 Velakkaya (wood apple)
- 8 green chillies
- 8 dry red chillies
- coriander to taste
- 1 tsp salt
- Tadka: avalu, menthulu, mina pappu, black hing
- Crack the velakkaya slightly and then roast it on the flame directly. In case of a very ripe velakkaya, the pachadi can be prepared directly without roasting.
- The purpose of roasting the velakkaya is to remove any lingering acidity that is present in a slightly un-ripened fruit.
- Once completely roasted, take off the flame and break open. Carefully scoop the pulp into a dish.
- In a wok, heat approx 1.5 tbsp oil and add the black hing pieces. Turn and fry till it turns white-ish. Add the remaining tadka with red chillies and fry till done.
- Turn off the flame and add the green chillies, salt and pinch of turmeric.
- Once it has cooled down, grind the tadka.
- Add the coriander and velakkaya and blitz till the coriander has been chopped, but not totally mixed.
- Remove into a serving dish.
Serve with hot rice and ghee.