When you move to a different place, different country and also another continent, you are blissfully unaware of how your life is going to change for ever! At least it’s true in my case! And then suddenly it hits you like a bag of bricks! You are away from your family and friends. Far, far, very far away!!! You have some other continents and some more seas/oceans thrown in between from your birth place to your current place! And not to forget about different time zones! So all this could mean only one thing, and that is you just can’t pack your bag at a spur of a moment and hop on to car/bus/train/plane to meet them in few hours time! No sire, no such luck!
Instead you are left with a choice of talking to your loved ones on phone or watching them through webcam every now and then. But how much ever you talk to them over phone or see them through the internet; it is not same as being in same physical space and meeting face to face. You begin to miss smallest of things about them, a smile that brings simple on your face, a pat on your shoulder when you do something good, a hug when you are upset, a hand that wipes the tear from your cheeks, and the arms that hold you tight when you are about to fall into abyss! You miss that all and more… and you begin to wonder what you have achieved by leaving everything and everyone that you love behind!
And then slowly it dawns… You learn to take risks and enjoy them rather than ducking your head under the table in fear of facing them! You learn to like the people, and respect their thoughts, who are so much different from you and the people whom you know all your life! You learn to appreciate other culture and their rich heritage. And most importantly you get to meet new people with different background and whose life is so different from you, just like chalk and cheese, and yet you will find good friends in them and sometimes even a best friend for life! A complete stranger, then an acquaintance and later a best of friend! At that time it doesn’t matter what colour your skin is, what background you come from, what caste you belong to and what lifestyle and food habits you have. All that matters is a deep trust and friendship you share for life time. That’s when you feel blessed and fortunate to have come across someone like them who will do everything for you, just like your loved ones back at home would have done for you without batting an eyelid!
We are indeed blessed to have such friends in different country. If not for them, we would have not enjoyed our life here in strange country. It was them who made us feel welcome to their home country, their warm home and heart! So when they decided to visit us one evening for informal dinner, I chose to cook South Indian menu. I decided to take one step further and introduce them to new vegetables which they never tried before and also new regional cuisine. So the menu was Haagalakai/Bitter Gourd Palya, Bottle Gourd Peel Chutney, Sorekai/Bottle Gourd Bolu Kodhel and Tomato Pachidi/Pachadi served with steam cooked Sona Masuri Rice. For dessert, I served Kesari Bhath that I had made on previous day. I know it doesn’t sound informal menu in any way!!! But the recipes I chose are very simple and believe it or not, it takes just over an hour to prepare them. My effort was very much appreciated when the conversation suddenly stopped at dinner table and all I could hear was ‘mmm’s’ and ‘ah’s’!!!
So here is a recipe for Tomato Pachidi/Pachadi enjoyed by all of us at dinner table. This recipe is adapted from Ammini’s Grains, Greens & Grated Coconuts, my treasured cookbook of recipes from our neighbouring southern most state Kerala, India. This Tomato Pachidi recipe is very similar to Majjige Huli or Kai/Kayi Huli recipe from Karnataka, except for the addition of jaggery/palm sugar. This mildly spiced creamy and tangy Tomato Pachidi/Pachadi teases your taste buds and cools the stomach after all the spicy curry courses. Usually served at the end of meal, this Tomato Pachidi is a crowd pleasure, from young to old! Serve it with boiled Rosematta Rice and it takes you on a taste journey to food wonderland! And what more, it tastes even better when served next day. So make sure that you have enough to serve for next day’s lunch and a boxful of creamy delight to your friends to take home with!
Juicy Tomatoes for Tomato Pachidi/Pachadi
Ingredients for Tomato Pachidi
Tomato Pachidi (Tangy Tomatoes in mildly spiced Coconut and Yogurt gravy, a recipe from South Indian state of Kerala)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4-6 People
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Mild to Medium Hot
Recipe Source: Grains, Greens and Grated Coconut
Serving Suggestion: Serve warm with steam cooked rice
3 large Tomatoes, quartered
2 cups fresh/frozen grated Coconut
1 cup sour Yogurt
3-4 Green Chillies (Adjust acc to taste)
¼ tsp Turmeric
¼-½ tsp Jaggery/Palm Sugar
Salt to taste
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 dry Red Chilli, broken into 1 inch pieces
¼ tsp Methi/Fenugreek Seeds
10-12 Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Oil (preferably Coconut oil or else use vegetable/sunflower oil)
Cut tomatoes into quarters and cook it in ½ cup of water along with turmeric, jaggery and salt to taste for about 7-8 minutes on medium heat.
While tomatoes are cooking, take coconut and green chillies and grind them to smooth paste by adding very little water at time.
Now add sour yogurt to this coconut-chilli paste and mix well and keep it aside till needed.
Once the tomatoes are almost cooked, add this ground paste and mix well. Reduce the heat to medium-low and bring the whole mixture to gentle boil, about 5 minutes. Switch off the flame.
Heat coconut oil in a pan and add methi seeds, mustard seeds and dried red chilli pieces. When mustard starts to pop and splutter, mix in curry leave and let it cook for 10 seconds.
Transfer this tadka to cooked Tomato Pachidi and mix well. Cover the Tomato Pachidi and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving so that all the flavours blend well.
Serve this delicious Tomato Pachidi/Pachadi hot or warm with rice and enjoy this simple yet delicious meal.
- If possible use Coconut Oil for tadka/tempering. Or else use vegetable or sunflower oil but avoid using any other strong flavoured oils like olive, sesame etc.
- Tomato Pachidi tastes best when served with Red Rosematta Rice.
- Make sure that you add very little water while grinding coconut and green chillies to fine, smooth paste.