Sodhi is an exotic Sri Lankan curry prepared with lentils and vegetables stewed in coconut milk. Although sodhi is not a spicy curry, it has grown popular among the people living in & around Tirunelveli who usually enjoy spicy curries. Meals with sodhi served at the wedding feasts in our family is a lavish spread of creamy sodhi, pungent ginger chutney, spicy potato fries, crunchy appalam, scrumptious coconut milk dessert (payasam), sweet boondhi and fresh yoghurt as below. Wedding in our family is usually hosted by bride’s family. However bride’s family is treated with a sumptuous meal with sodhi the day after marriage, and it is a unique custom prevalent here to signify the confluence of both the families.
My grandfather used to narrate how sodhi reached here in India: Long ago people in the south traveled to Sri Lanka frequently for business purposes and later they started settling there. Nevertheless they used to come back here looking for brides for their sons and getting them married to follow the family tradition. On such occasion a groom’s family decided to treat the bride’s family with splendid Sri Lankan delicacies as they were enthralled by the hospitality rendered to them. Soon people started following the same and now it has become customary that a groom’s family should treat bride’s family with sodhi the next day and hence it is termed as “mappillai (meaning groom) sodhi”.
Meals with Sodhi : Since vegetables, lentils & coconut milk are used in sodhi, it is required to include some carbs like rice, idli, dosa, idiyappam, appam, poori, or chapathi to make it a wholesome meal.
Breakfast : We can serve sodhi with steamed rice noodles or millet noodles, crispy dosa, or spongy appam for breakfast.
Lunch : As sodhi is a mildly-spiced creamy gravy, we make ginger chutney & stir-fried potato when served with rice. I find non-greasy spicy stir-fried potatoes & deep fried pappadam perfect accompaniments for this meal. Some may prefer to take potato chips in place of stir-fried potato.
Now let us look into the recipes for sodhi & inji pachadi.
Recipe for Sodhi
Yields: 2 Litres
Serves : 3 for lunch & dinner
Time taken : 50 min
- Coconut – 3 halves ( 1 and 1/2)
- Green gram (moong dal/ paasi paruppu) – ½ cup
- Carrot – 1 No.
- Potato – 1 No.
- Drumsticks – 2 Nos.
- Beans – 10 Nos.
- Shallots – 20 Nos.
- Garlic – 15 pods
- Lemon – one half
- Coriander leaves – as needed
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Green chillies – 6 Nos.
- Ginger – a thumb sized
- Salt – ¼ tsp (to prevent blackening)
- Any neutral oil – 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Green chillies (slit) – 2 Nos.
- Curry leaves – a sprig
Mise en place:
- I have extracted coconut milk using a juice extracting jar and kept them aside as per the measurements below:
- First pressed thick coconut milk (250 ml) to make sodhi rich & creamy.
- Second pressed thin milk (750 ml) to make lentils & veg mixture tenuous.
- Third pressed thinner milk (750 ml) to cook vegetables.
- Wash & prepare vegetables as shown below:
- Pressure cook lentils, carrot & potato (simmer for 7 minutes when it reaches high pressure).
- When the pressure is released separate vegetables & lentils.
- Grind lentils into a fine paste (after adding 50 ml of second pressed coconut milk) and keep aside.
- Grind green chillies, ginger & salt into a paste (after adding a tbsp of third pressed coconut milk) and keep aside.
- Heat a heavy bottom pan with oil in low flame and add cumin seeds.
- Add curry leaves, shallots, garlic & slit green chillies and saute for a minute in medium flame.
- Add chopped beans & drumsticks and then pour the third pressed coconut milk.
- Boil the vegetables in medium flame.
- When the vegetables are semi-cooked add chilli paste & salt (half tsp) into the pan.
- Cover the pan and simmer until vegetables are cooked soft.
- Now add cooked carrot & potato followed by lentil paste into the pan.
- Pour the second pressed coconut milk.
- Add salt (half tsp) and stir to combine.
- Boil this mixture in medium flame.
- When it starts bubbling up, pour the first pressed milk and reduce the flame to low.
- Add chopped coriander leaves, mix well and remove sodhi from heat.
- Add lemon juice when it is warm and mix well.
- Serve sodhi with hot steaming rice, potato fries, inji pachadi & papadam.
- It is not necessary to use all the milk extracted from these coconut meat should be used up completely. You may be left with some milk particularly the first pressed milk. You can use it for making payasam or refrigerate it for later use.
- If you find it difficult to extract coconut milk, you can replace first pressed milk with store-bought coconut milk, second & third milk with plain water.
- Garlic is used here to prevent the fat deposit while taking coconut milk, you may also add few pods along with ginger while grinding.
- You can use all (or some of) the vegetables listed under ingredients. I find it gross to add tomatoes, brinjal, ladies finger, beetroot, radish, capsicum, or paneer (cottage cheese) in here. So it is not recommended to use any other vegetable except fresh beans like peas, butter beans or soy beans, cauliflower, broccoli, baby potatoes, and textured soy bean (soya nuggets).
- Do not overcook or pressure cook shallots, garlic, or other vegetables that can be cooked faster as they lose their shape and get dissolved in stew.
- You may use mustard seeds instead of cumin seeds; I have used them to improve digestion.
- It is not recommended to use red chillies or red chilli powder in place of green chillies as they change the color of the curry.
- I have blended cooked lentil using mixer-grinder to make a lump-free smooth gravy; but you may use a hand blender or just mash well with the back of a ladle before adding into the gravy.
- I have used slit green chillies for flavor and ground green chillies to make sodhi spicy.
- If you want to keep sodhi refrigerated for later use, it is better to refrigerate immediately after it reaches room temperature and can be consumed within 24 to 36 hours (not more than that).
Recipe for Inji Pachadi
Since creamy sodhi sits heavy on the stomach, inji pachadi (ginger chutney) is an essential side served with sodhi to ease the digestion.
- Sesame oil – 1 tsp
- Ginger – 2 pieces (each 3″)
- Red chillies – 4 Nos.
- Black gram (urad dal/ ulundhu) – 1 tbsp
- Tamarind – a small berry sized ball
- Asafoetida (hing/ kayam) – a small block (or a pinch of hing powder)
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Powdered jaggery – 1 tsp
- Sesame oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
- Shallots – 20 Nos.
- Heat a pan with 1 tsp of sesame oil in medium flame.
- Roast a hing block, red chillies & black gram and remove from pan.
- Add ginger pieces, tamarind & salt (¼ tsp) into the same pan and saute for a couple of minutes.
- Turn off the flame, transfer them to a plate and allow to reach room temperature.
- In a mixer-grinder add red chillies, hing & lentils and grind into a coarse powder.
- Add ginger, tamarind & salt (¼ tsp) and grind into a fine paste after adding 25 ml of water.
- Heat the same pan with 1 tbsp of oil in medium flame.
- Add mustard, when they start crackling add chopped shallots.
- Saute until they become translucent.
- Add ginger chutney & saute until caramelized.
- Add jaggery & water (100 ml) and mix well.
- Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for few minutes.
- Now inji pachadi is ready to serve.
Please Note: We can easily peel ginger using the edge of a spoon’s head instead of using a peeler or knife.