My grand mom in Chennai probably has a smug look on her face as we speak. I finally concede that she has always been right about the peel. It is precious. Growing up, I don’t ever remember a time, when a vegetable peel was thrown out. No, we were not into composting, but more into ‘pachadding’ everything LOL. To some extent this must stem from her childhood, when things were hard to come by.
I Googled to see how I can explain pachadi, Wikipedia gave me a pretty accurate description. It is some form of a pounded, pickled condiment. Although mine does not involve any pounding, I did pulse the peel in my processor to help with the texture and to cover-up my poor knife skills.
This pachadi is perfect amalgamation of sweet, sour and spicy and maybe a hint of bitterness from the orange pith which I don’t mind. It can be made with ripe or raw mango, and or neem tree flowers, really the possibilities are endless. My mum makes this often as it is portable and has a long shelf life. I tend to make it more for festivals or more seasonally during citrus season or when South Asian grocery stores are teaming with mangoes both ripe and raw. While it is not a constant in my house, it still holds a lot of nostalgic value. I have spent many summers slurping this stuff at my grandma’s house. Every sort of pachadi has crossed my path, even a kumquat version that I had at my sister’s place! Which is why I probably love it so much, the flexibility to use anything here is amazing.
For the Orange peel Pachadi
- 2-3 Naval orange peel (use a spoon to scrape of some of the pith)
- 1 small piece of tamarind (about the size of a small lime) soaked in about 1/3 cup of warm water or 2 tablespoon of the paste
- 1/2 cup jaggery
- 1/4 teaspoon or a small piece of asafoetida
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon urad Dal
- 1 dried red chilli
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri lal mirch (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 1+ 1 tablespoon oil (I use til or sesame oil – not the toasted variety)
To be powdered
- 1 tablespoon fenugreek or methi seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon of powdered asafoetida or 1/2 an inch of solid asafoetida (also called Hing)
- 5-6 dried red chillies
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a deep skillet.
Add all the items that need to be powdered (fenugreek, hing and chillies). If using a solid piece of asafoetida first, give it about 30 seconds in oil before adding in fenugreek. The wonderful aroma of Fenugreek will fill the air as you roast. Then add in the dried chillies and roast till everything darkens a little bit. This should take about 3-5 minutes. If using powdered asafoetida add it in the end.
Remove from heat and let the contents cool on a plate.
Without cleaning, return the skillet to the flame and heat the remaining oil to about medium heat.
Add the mustard seeds and put a lid when it begins to pop. when the popping slows down add urad dal, dried red chilli, orange peel, turmeric, tamarind along with the soaking liquid, jagger, chilli powder(if adding) and salt. Cook this on medium low heat stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, powder the fenugreek mixture and add it to the skillet.
Cook for about 15 minutes till the mixture thickens. Adjust seasoning and let is cool. Store in mason jar. It should last about 4 weeks in your refrigerator.