Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tomato Pachadi

The parents came, stayed, and left. I was pretty much out of the kitchen, as the mother completely took over. The first couple days I was needed- you know, to show her around the kitchen, etc. But thereon, she completely took over. Oh wait, I said that already.

The highlight of this time's visit was my introduction to various ancient grains, that my parents have incorporated into their diet, thanks to diabetes. Rice and wheat are now banned, because of their high GI values, and it is all about millets, oats, the proper kind, not the ooey-gooey instant kind, buckwheat, quinoa, etc. They got introduced to quinoa here, and they simply loved it. In their shopping this time, guess what they took back? I learned some pretty neat recipes from my mom, that I shall be trying out in the following weeks. We all had a wonderful time, and as with all holidays, this one came to an end exactly a week ago- last Sunday, to be precise. After a bit of moping, now it is back to square one!

Sun Dried Tomato Pachadi:

"Pachadi" is a very telugu preparation, that can be made with pretty much any vegetable, all spiced up and pounded up. OK, as much as I tell myself not to do it, I did in fact end up looking for "pachadi" on Wiki. So, dear ardent reader(s), if you don't already know what pachadi is, please don't hesitate to look it up on good old Wikipedia.

Now, speaking of tomato pachadi- traditionally the preparation of tomato pachadi is quite tedious and time consuming. I mean, first you gotta buy a good amount of tomatoes, wash them, dry them, salt them, spice them, and dry them again, this time in the sun. And then you pound the sun-dried tomatoes into pulp. Then you heat up sesame oil, as in smoke it, literally. Then you cool this oil overnight. And finally you pour this smoked and cooled sesame oil into the pounded sun-dried tomatoes, mix it all up, keep it away for a few days. Finally when it is time to eat it, you probably would have forgotten all about it!

Now, I have the time (yes!), but hey, I lack the patience needed for such time-consuming food preparation. And besides, I barely get any sunshine in this wonderful place (please note the sarcasm), so the whole dry-the-tomatoes-in-the-sun thing ain't gonna work for me!

Therefore, one fine afternoon, my mom suggested why not try making this awesome pachadi with sun dried tomatoes? Good idea! So off we went to the store, bought a couple small packets of sun dried tomatoes and tried it out. The result was quite a success, except that the final texture was a bit on the dry side. No problem! The next time, that was just a couple days ago, I bought sun dried tomatoes soaked in extra virgin olive oil. The result: Perfect Tomato Pachadi, that I shall be making regularly henceforth.


1.  A jar of sun-dried tomatoes soaked in EVOO

The main ingredient (don't worry about the herbs- they are quite undetectable in the end product)
2. 1-1.5 teaspoons of Fenugreek Seeds, roasted

Fenugreek Seeds (aka Methi seeds)
3. 1-2 teaspoons of mustard seeds

Mustard Seeds
4. Salt to taste

5. Red Chilli powder (per tolerance)

Red Chilli Powder (this one's extra hot!)
6. 2-3 tablespoons of tamarind pulp (if it is tamarind concentrate, I would use just about a teaspoonful)

Tamarind Pulp (if concentrate, the color will be darker)

7. Sesame oil- you can get this at any Indian or Asian store.


1. I take my nifty little spice-grinder (originally coffee-grinder) and grind up fenugreek and mustard seeds into a lovely powder, leaving it just a tad bit coarse. If you prefer, you could grind it into a fine powder.

Fenugreek+Mustard Seeds Powder
2. I then transfer the sun-dried tomatoes (in EVOO) into my food processor, add salt to taste, red chilli powder to taste as well as the tamarind pulp. I also add the freshly ground fenugreek and mustard seeds powder.

3. And finally a few pulses in the food processor, and the tomato pachadi is almost ready!

4. I smoke some sesame oil in  my sweet little "kadhai" (I have mentioned it in one of my previous posts: and also splutter some mustard seeds and set it aside to cool off. The cooling happens quite quickly, in less than 30 minutes, if you keep it on the counter or near an open window.

P.S.: Do make sure that your smoke alarm is disabled, just to avoid all the noise and confusion it may cause in the household! My mom set off the smoke alarm while cooking one day, and got all freaked out. Yes, we ultimately had to disable it, since she was in-charge of the kitchen!

5. Finally, I pour this cooled sesame oil with mustard seeds into the pachadi (step 3) and mix it all up. I give it a quick taste (very important for a chef to taste his/her creation, before serving it to others, you see!) and add any additional salt/chilli powder/tamarind if required. That's it! Sun Dried Tomato Pachadi is ready!

Sun Dried Tomato Pachadi
I store this very beautiful pachadi in a bottle/jar (hey, could most certainly re-use the jar that the sun-dried tomatoes came in!) in a cool, dark place (one of my kitchen cabinets). The spicy-tangy sun dried tomato pachadi is quite versatile. Spread some on a slice of bread (enriched bleached white bread would be really good!), or eat with rotis/chapatis, dosas, or best is the good old way of mixing it up with some steaming hot white rice, with a little bit of ghee (clarified butter) and just eat away, enjoying every bit of it......... mm mm!

Now let me see what the time is- aah, 6:40 am in Bangalore. Time to sign off- gotta call up my folks!  

No comments: