If the traditional condiments we rely upon in the UK to impart a little extra flavour to our food are leaving something to be desired, perhaps we ought to take a leaf from the cookbook of South India; or at least from the menus of some of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants. Indian cuisine does not simply rely on sugary ketchups and brown sauce but, instead, provides a seemingly never-ending supply of mouth-watering chutneys and pickles. These tasty accompaniments are fresh, flavorsome and complement a host of mains and snacks, adding life to even the plainest dish.
Pachadi is the traditional pickle side dish of the southern states of India and can be expected to make a cameo at any meal consumed at any time of day. A morning meal of fluffy, light, idli rice cakes works wonderfully well with pachadi, as does a lunchtime dosa or an evening meal of curry or stew. In certain states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, pachadi takes the form of a curry although it is still eaten as a side rather than a main.
The key ingredients to pachadi are fresh, seasonal fruit or vegetables, usually prepared raw or al dente and combined with the usual spice suspects – well, it simply wouldn’t be India without a touch of spice, would it? The various elements are ground into either a smooth or chunky paste – a method reflected in the fact that the word pachadi refers to ingredients that have been pounded.
Allam pachadi: A delicacy particularly favoured in Andhra Pradesh, allam pachadi makes an excellent accompaniment to idlis, dosas, parathas and the range of savoury snacks known as chaat. Aromatic, zesty ginger plays the starring role in this side dish and it is often supported by tangy tamarind, lime juice, mustard seeds, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds, jaggery and red chilli powder.
Erra karam: This pachadi originates in Telugu and is typified by its fiery, red colour – a direct result of the spicy red chilli that makes this side dish one of the spicier options on the Indian menu. As well as adding a bit of heat to a meal as a side dish, it is often used as a spread for a dosa.
Avakaya: This is an Andhra staple and utilises the green form of India’s national fruit, the mango, along with chilli, garlic and oil. There are various additions to this basic recipe – every household has its own preference with some liking the taste of fenugreek and others taking their avakaya with mustard paste.
Chintakaya pachadi: This pachadi utilises the copious amounts of fresh tamarind found throughout India. This oddly sour and tangy fruit blends well with a little channa daal for texture and includes chopped chillies, fenugreek, curry leaves and a little jaggery to balance the flavour.
Kobbari pachadi: Featuring the exotic coconut, a favourite ingredient of the south coast, this pachadi blends the flesh of the fruit with urad daal, tamarind pulp and a variety of spices and seeds. And this being South India, kobbari pachadi also incorporates plenty of hot, red chillies. Find More Information :http://www.fineindianrestaurants.com/