Happy Tamil New Year !
As the tradition goes, the feast on Tamil New Year's day should have dishes representing all six tastes (அறுசுவை) of food and they include sweet (இனிப்பு), salty (உவர்ப்பு), sour (புளிப்பு), pungent or spicy (கார்ப்பு), bitter (கசப்பு) and astringent (துவர்ப்பு) tastes. One of the dishes that represent bitter taste is neem flower pachadi. In native medicine, neem flower is used to treat digestive problems and intestinal worms. You can buy dried neem flower from any of the local grocery stores. Let us see how to make this bitter sweet dish.
|Neem Flower (வேப்பம் பூ)|
Ghee – 1 teaspoon
Tamarind – the size of a gooseberry
Salt – To taste
Jaggery, powdered – 2 tablespoon
Asafeotida – a generous pinch
Rice flour – 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves – a few
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Red chili – 1-2 (adjust to taste)
Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
|Neem Flower Pachadi (வேப்பம் பூ பச்சடி)|
Method: Soak tamarind in 100 ml of warm water for 20 minutes. Heat ghee in a kadai and fry neem flower till they turn dark brown in color. Keep aside. Squeeze tamarind and extract the juice. Heat oil in the kadai, add red chilies and fry till they turn dark. Add mustard seeds, when they crackle add tamarind juice and bring it to boil. Simmer for 2 minutes. Now add jaggery, salt and asafoetida. Mix well and allow the contents boil together for 2 minutes. Dissolve rice flour in little water and add to the mixture while stirring continuously. Bring it to boil. Finally add the neem flower and simmer for a minute. Remove from fire and garnish with curry leaves. Neem flower pachadi is ready. This can be served along with any feast menu, though it is specifically prepared on Tamil New year's day.
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