When we went to India last February to attend a cousin's wedding, we also took one day whirlwind tour to visit family in one of the cities. We reached Hyderabad early morning and starting at 7am made 6 stops, the last one being at 11.30 pm on our way to the airport. It was tiring but very well worth the effort as we got to see lot of the relatives after a gap of almost 6 years.
One of our cousins is a home maker turned entrepreneur, I am so impressed with her idea, actual execution of the idea and the way she conducts her business. She runs a fresh fruits and juice business in one of the schools and employs mainly young girls. They go to the school around the lunch time, cut fresh fruits and serve different combinations of seasonal fruits in cups. She has expanded it to fruit juices now which is made right there on order. I saw a lot of kids and parents who came to take the younger ones home stand there and enjoy the fresh fruits and juice. With the weather being what it is in Hyderabad, this is a very welcome thing for the parents as they are happy to see kids eating fruits instead of junk food. Syamala, our cousin has her own 2 kids going to the same school, so she gets to see them during the day which is an added bonus not available to many working mothers.
In addition to running this business, Syamala is a very good cook and just like her mother in law who is our defacto pachadi queen in the family, she makes delicious pachadis and other traditional Andhra dishes. She made this bottle gourd pachadi when we had lunch at her place that day and I fell for it totally. I asked her for the recipe and since we were rushing through, I just remembered the ingredients and the taste. Since coming back I have tried it many times and last time I made it, I thought I nailed the recipe and hence wanted to share it with all of you. This is also one of the stone grinder recipes adapted for the mixer/blender and usually mixed with rice and eaten as a side with rice and other dishes. It is generally strong with spices.
I have been referring to this as bottle gourd pachadi, amma makes a different version with only the peels of the gourd and that has coriander seeds and tastes very different from this one. I will post that another time.
What do you need to make bottle gourd pachadi?
1 small bottle gourd
1 flat Tblsp mustard seeds
1 flat Tsp fenugreek seeds
1 Tsp urad dal/uddina bele/uddi pappu
5-6 dry red chilies (adjust the amount to your spice tolerance)
1 or 2 green chilies broken in half
1 inch piece of tamarind or 3/4 Tsp tamarind concentrate
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
1/4 Tsp turmeric powder
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
4-5 twigs of fresh cilantro
2 Tblsp cooking oil
How do you make bottle gourd pachadi?
- Wash, trim the ends and peel the bottle gourd, save the peels and chop them into small pieces.
- Chop the bottle gourd into small pieces, use the core if the seeds are tender (see picture to get an idea), discard if the seeds are hard.
- Heat 1 Tblsp oil in a pan, add urad dal and fry for 30 seconds. Add mustard, fenugreek, chilies and asafoetida and fry it until your kitchen is filled with a nice roasted aroma. Watch for mustard to crackle and urad dal to turn golden brown.
- Take all the roasted ingredients and keep aside.
- Heat the remaining oil, add the chopped peels, bottle gourd pieces, salt and turmeric powder and mix well.
- Cover and fry this on medium heat, stirring it occasionally for 10-12 minutes or until the bottle gourd pieces cook well and become soft to touch.
- Once all the ingredients are completely cool, take it to your blender/mixer along with tamarind and cilantro and make it into a paste. Start with pulse mode to break the ingredients first and then grind it. Avoid using water in this recipe for best taste. The oil used for frying is sufficient to blend the mixture.
- Enjoy the delicious pachadi made flavorful with fenugreek and mustard with hot rice and some ghee.
- Choose bottle gourd that is tender and has light green skin. When you pick up the bottle gourd, it should feel heavy and not hollow.
- It is important to fry the mustard, urad and fenugreek on medium heat and until well roasted. Urad dal gives a raw taste and changes the consistency if not fried completely.
- Mixture of dry red and green chilies gives a nice taste to this pachadi, adjust the amount based on your spice tolerance.