We normally celebrate every new beginning with sweets, but it is exceptional that we prepare bitter neem flower pachadi specially on our New Year usually falls on the 14th of April.
On this day of Chithirai Vishu we used to have an elaborate lunch meal consisting of bitter neem flower pachadi, astringent raw jack fruit poriyal, tangy mixed vegetable aviyal, spicy rasam, sweet payasam, etc. of various flavors & textures. This tradition is being followed to indicate that we should learn to embrace each season of life.
Veppam poo pachadi has a unique indistinctive taste as it is prepared using conflicting ingredients like bitter neem flowers & tangy unripe mango and also sweet jaggery & hot red chilli powder. Now lets move on to the recipe for veppam poo pachadi:
Time taken: 20 min.
Yields: 300 ml
- Unripe mangoes – 2 Nos. (small)
- Brinjal (eggplant/ kathrikkai) – 1 No.
- Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – ¼ tsp
- Powdered jaggery – ½ cup (100 g)
- Ghee – ½ tsp
- Dried neem flowers (veppam poo) – 1 tbsp
- Ghee – 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
- Curry leaves – 1 sprig
- Peel mangoes, chop them into thin slices as shown below.
- Chop brinjal into thin slices.
- In a cooking bowl add mangoes, brinjal, red chilli powder and water (50 ml).
- Microwave (alternatively cook them using pressure cooker on stove top for 5 min. after bringing to high pressure) them for 7 min.
- Meanwhile fry neem flowers in ghee (½ tsp) in medium flame.
- Powder them using mortar & pestle and leave aside.
- Prepare the tempering as below and keep aside.
- When mangoes & brinjal are cooked soft, add salt & powdered jaggery.
- Mix them well and microwave for 3 min.
- Now add tempering, powdered neem flowers and water (100 ml or more according to your required consistency) and cook for another 3 min.
- Now sweet, sour & bitter veppam poo chadi is ready to serve.
- My grand mother always preferred to make pachadi using unripe mangoes along with brinjals, as brinjals help to decrease vata dosha aggravated by unripe mango.