Pachadi is a traditional South Indian dish, made from a variety of vegetables like cucumbers, beetroots, pumpkin, carrot, okra, kale and spinach.
In Kerala, my late father’s birthplace, pachadi forms part of a lavish banquet meal called Sadhya. A traditional vegetarian feast typically served on banana leaves at festivals and important occasions. Whenever I make Pachadi it never fails to stir up memories of my parents.
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 green chillies, cut into round slices
- ½ cup tamarind juice
- Oil and salt as required
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2-3 tsp urud dahl
- 2 stalks curry leaves, torn
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 3 dried red chillies, seeded and broken into 2 pieces
- 1 large red onion, diced
- 1 cup thick coconut cream
- 1 tsp palm sugar, grated
- Mustard oil to drizzle, heated
- Pinch of paprika and cumin powder
- Small bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
- Roast or grill the eggplant in a hot oven until the skin blisters.
- Cool, then peel the skin off and coarsely chop the eggplant.
- Marinate with tamarind juice, green chillies and some salt for a few hours.
- Heat oil, when hot add mustard seeds, urud dahl, curry leaves, cumin seeds and dried red chillies. Fry for a few minutes until the dhal turns golden brown.
- Next add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes until golden caramelised
- Add the coconut cream and cook over low heat until it bubbles to a slow boil.
- Add palm sugar and salt to taste. Add the marinated eggplant and mix well.
- Drizzle with the hot mustard oil and sprinkle with a pinch of paprika and cumin powder.
- Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice and curries.
Note: Pachadi can be made with roasted pumpkin, zucchini, diced tomatoes, shredded spinach or silverbeet, sliced okra, grated beetroot or carrots. You can also omit the coconut cream and use full fat natural yoghurt.