Generally, we prefer to welcome every new beginning with sweets, but we follow a unique tradition of preparing an elaborate meal of different flavours (arusuvai virudhu) on the occasion of Chithirai Vishu (New Year) celebrated on the 14th or 15th of April every year. It is actually an Ayurvedic tradition to stimulate all the parts of our palate by taking a nourishing meal of six flavours like sweet, sour, bitter, astringent, salt & pungent. This also encourages us to embrace each season, or every change in our life gracefully. So we never miss to include the bitter ingredient, neem flower that blooms plentifully in this season, into our New Year feast (Vishu sadhya). We prepare the traditional veppampoo pachadi, a confluence of all the six tastes, using neem flowers and many other ingredients.
We also prepare astringent raw jackfruit poriyal, tangy mixed vegetable aviyal, spicy rasam, sweet payasam, etc. of various flavors & textures to welcome our Tamil New Year. You can also check out our specialty recipes prepared for Chithirai Vishu here.
Veppampoo pachadi recipe:
We prepare veppampoo pachadi using conflicting ingredients like bitter neem flowers & tangy mango, sweet jaggery & hot red chilli powder. So it has a unique indistinctive taste that would stimulate almost all the parts of our palate. My grandmother always prepare this pachadi using unripe mangoes along with brinjals as brinjals help to decrease vata dosha aggravated by unripe mango. Now let’s look into the recipe for veppampoo 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 them for 7 min. (Alternatively you can cook them on stove top until mushy)
- Meanwhile fry neem flowers in ghee (½ tsp) in medium flame.
- Powder them using mortar & pestle and leave aside.
- Prepare the tempering as shown below and keep aside.
- When mango & brinjal are cooked soft, add salt & powdered jaggery.
- Mix them well and microwave again 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 veppampoo pachadi is ready to serve.