The joyous festival of Ugadi is here and people down south especially from Telugu and the Kannada community are all excited to celebrate their Hindu New Year. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma commenced the creation of the world on the day of Ugadi. The harvest festival Ugadi is therefore considered an auspicious day for new beginnings in life. It is celebrated with great pomp and shows around March or April when the winter has faded away and the summers begin. It signifies a new beginning in hopes of inspiring change and motivation towards growth and success.
During this cheerful festival season, the people of Telangana often celebrate with Ugadi special dishes, the most common being Ugadi Pachadi. A sweet and savory dish that signifies emotions and stages in life that everyone goes through. There are many health benefits to Ugadi pachadi. Even though I hail from the north we were excited about Ugadi coming in (only for the foods ;)) since we had a Telugu neighbor. She would invite us every year for the Ugadi special dinner and cook some lip-smacking cuisines. I was especially fond of her pachadi and also learned to cook it as I grew up.
During one of our Ugadi dinners at the neighbor’s house, I remember we once had a long chat over Ugadi pachadi. It was quite interesting to know that the 6 ingredients of Ugadi pachadi along with offering numerous health benefits, also signify six emotions and aspects of life. Let us learn all about it and also how to make Ugadi pachadi.
The sweetness of jaggery powder signifies the sweet moments and joys in our lives.
The sour tamarind signifies the sour experiences of life. It teaches us that while life has sweet experiences there might be some unpleasant ones too but we need to stay strong and overcome those.
The tanginess of raw mango signifies the surprise and unexpected twists and turns in life. It denotes that we need to enjoy the pleasant surprises of life and take life as it comes.
The bitterness of neem signifies depression or downfalls. We need to look at the positive side and work towards making things better.
Chilies are hot and they signify anger and outbursts. But we need to understand that there will be some negative experiences in life that we need to tackle and control our anger.
Salt signifies fear. We are all scared of the unknown in our lives and also about losing something. We need to overcome our fear and not let it impact us.
- 1 tsp tamarind
- ¼ cup jaggery powder
- ⅓ cup raw mangoes finely chopped
- 2 tbsp neem flowers
- ¼ tbsp black pepper powder
- Soak tamarind in water for one hour.
- Squeeze the tamarind pulp and keep it in a bowl.
- Add ⅓ cup water, jaggery powder, finely chopped raw mangoes, and neem flowers to the bowl and mix well.
- Season with salt and black pepper powder and give it a swirl.
- Your pachadi is ready!
- On the day of Ugadi many people consume it first thing in the morning. There is an old saying that the first flavor that hits your palate when you drink pachadi tells you about the course of events in the following year. If you feel the sweetness of jaggery your year will be happy and sweet and if it's the raw mango that touches your taste buds the coming year will be full of surprises.
With the flavorful pachadi, we also got to eat many other delicious and aromatic Ugadi special foods. I remember the corridors used to smell special Ugadi foods being prepared in desi ghee. The sound of the cooker signaled that the most delicious and soft grains of rice were ready for preparing the lemon rice. To make this amazing and tangy dish here's what you’ll need.
- 1 tbsp Cashews
- 1 tbsp Peanuts
- 2-3 tbsp Lime juice
- 1 tsp turmeric
- A pinch of hing
- Pink salt
- Mustard seeds
- Chana dal
- Dried green chilies
- 1 cup rice
- Pressure cook a cup of rice.
- Fry peanuts and cashews in desi ghee in a pan and keep them aside in a small bowl.
- To the same pan add desi cow ghee and heat.
- Add mustard seeds until they pop.
- Add the chana dal until it turns golden brown ( Be careful not to burn the mustard seeds)
- Add dried green chilies and curry leaves and let it fry.
- Add turmeric, a pinch of hing, and salt to this mix and let it cook for 1 -2 mins
- Once done add 2 - 3 tbsp of lemon juice and let it cook.
- Pour the mixture into a big bowl.
- Add to it the rice, nuts, and another spoon of lemon juice or desi ghee.
- Mix it well and it's ready.
- Garnish with a lemon wedge!
This special Ugadi recipe only takes about 30 mins to cook and has so many natural, healthy elements in it that bring out the best combination of flavors.
Poonam boorelu, a sweet bonda, is another Ugadi special food. To make these delicious fried bondas that have a crispy outer cover of urad dal and rice batter and a soft sweet filling of chana dals and jaggery, here's what you need.
- 1 cup rice
- ½ cup urad dal
- 1 cup cooked chana dal
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup jaggery powder
- 1 cup desi cow ghee
Once you have all your natural ingredients sorted we can start making this sweet snack by first making the batter.
- Rinse 1 cup of rice and ½ cup of urad dal
- Blend them in a mixer with ⅔ cup of water to get a medium thick dosa batter
- Add pink salt as per taste.
To make the stuffing for this special Ugadi dish you need to:
- Take one cup of cooked chana dal.
- Add to it 1 cup of jaggery and a tablespoon of raisins.
- Blend to a fine paste consistency.
- Pour into a hot pan with 2 tablespoons of desi ghee and cook for about 5 mins till the ghee is well incorporated and the mixture has slightly thickened to a dough-like consistency
To make the balls :
- Roll the filling dough into small bite-sized balls and dip them into the rice batter.
- Keep a pan of hot ghee or oil ready.
- Carefully drop your battered balls into the hot ghee and let it cook on each side for 3 minutes or until it's reached a light golden brown color.
- Your special Ugadi dish is done!
You may enjoy this sweet snack as is or try it with almond milk ice cream or top it off with even raising and honey sauce with crunchy almond bits.
Now you might be wondering how these ingredients help improve our health?
We at Himalayan Natives understand the importance of healthy ingredients to make the perfect dishes for every occasion. Natural ingredients like urad dal and raisins possess antioxidant qualities that help better our immune system and gut. Desi Ghee also contributes as an overall immunity booster and develops healthy and strong hair. Rice both long and short grain, possesses a lot of nutrients and minerals that contribute to strength building. Jaggery helps as a healthier and much more nutritious alternative to processed sugars. As our jaggery powder is not processed it still contains the natural minerals and nutrients that the body will benefit from. Dry fruits are a great source of protein and iron.
If you want to know more about how to maintain good health and how you can take care of your loved ones read our blog - Gift good health to your loved ones!
Let us all switch to healthier and natural ingredients that would make our dishes better in taste and super nutritious.
We at Himalayan Natives wish you all a very Happy Ugadi! Celebrate this year by enjoying a healthy and delicious feast with your family and friends.
Looking for one more recipe that satisfies your sweet tooth check out this urad dal - pinni recipe on our Instagram!