Friday, April 29, 2016

Vilambazha Pachadi And Panagam - Wood Apple Sweet Relish And Juice

As the scorching sun is beating down mercilessly upon the earthlings, our compassionate Mother Earth is all set to help her children beat the heat with her nature basket brimming with abundant body cooling produce. Come summer and we see vendors with cartloads of numerous fruits, tender coconuts and ice apples everywhere. Tender coconut is a natural Oral Rehydration Solution which helps in replenishing and regulating the body fluids and salts which are lost due to profuse sweating. Panagam /Panaka is a traditional juice prepared using certain fruits and jaggery. The most common one being the lime and jaggery drink, Panagams/Panakas act as ORS and is prepared and distributed as Prasadam during all the festivals celebrated during summer.

Pachadi and Panagam/Panaka prepared using a fruit called Vilambazham/Belada Hannu/ Wood Apple are ideal body coolants for the summer heat. This fruit has various health benefits apart from being an energy booster and a delicious body coolant. Elders recommend the fruit for rakta shuddi meaning detoxifying  the blood. Vilambazham/ Belada hannu/ Wood apple has a woody outer shell and the pulpy fruit rattles inside the shell when ripe.The unique flavour the fruit emanates confirms its ripeness. 

Hold the ripe fruit firmly in one hand and gently knock the shell using a pestle or the back of a knife to break open the shell in half.

A perfectly ripe fruit will roll out like a ball from the broken shell. Vilambazha Pachadi / Belada Hannina Pachadi is a favourite finger licking relish prepared during traditional feasts.  
The botanical name of Vilambazham/Belada hannu is Limonia acidissima.
The botanical name of  Vilva pazham / Bilpatre hannu of the sacred bilva tree is Aegale marmelos/ Bael. The name Wood Apple is commonly used for both the fruits. Many a time the fruits are mistaken for each other. However the Vilvam/ Bilva/ Bael fruits are also edible. Now coming to Vilambazham /Belada Hannu recipes.
Wood apple  pulp - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery - 1 cup
Salt - 1 pinch
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Broken red chillies - 1

1. Mash the fruit using your hand with powdered jaggery and salt till the jaggery melts and blends well with the fruit. Using Mudde bella (soft round jaggery) is preferable as it is devoid of impurities.
2. Heat oil and splutter mustard seeds, and then add the broken red chillies.
3. Add the seasoning to the Vilambazha Pachadi / Belada Hannina Pachadi.

Enjoy the flavoursome sweet sour Pachadi along with its small crunchy seeds. 
Wood apple pulp - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery (Mudde bella/ Round jaggery) - 1 cup
Salt - 1 pinch
1. Blend the Wood Apple pulp, jaggery and salt together.
2. Add enough water to taste and filter the Panagam/Panaka.
3. Adjust the concentration of the drink according to taste.

Enjoy the traditional  Vilambazha Panagam/Belada Hannina Panaka to quench your thirst and stay healthy this summer.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Manga Tokku - Mango Relish or Pickle

After the Ugadi feast I was still left with a few raw mangoes in my refrigerator. Since they were nice and firm I decided to use them to make Tundu Manga Ooruga. As I started washing the mangoes the thought of the spicy Manga Tokku I had relished in my younger days flashed in my mind. My  mother prepared the most delicious  Manga Tokku and stored it in a huge Jadi 
( Jar )which was stacked away in the store room with other Ooruga jadis (Pickle Jars). She brought out only one cup of Tokku at a time to be used during our meals expecting it to last for the week.As a teenager  I was so addicted to eating Tokku Sadam (Tokku mashed with steaming hot rice) at the beginning of every meal that the cup of Tokku did not last even for three days! I wonder how I could devour that amount of spicy Manga Tokku without any side effects in those days!

Fresh and firm Raw Mangoes - 2 ( It gave 2 full cups of Mango gratings)
Sesame oil - 4 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - one big pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp 
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Chilly Powder - 2 tbsp
Salt - 2 tbsp
1. Wash, peel and grate the raw mangoes and keep aside.
2. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds until it turns dark in colour emanating a very pleasant aroma.
3. Powder the roasted fenugreek seeds  using a mortar and pestle. 
4. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
5. When the mustard seeds splutter add asafoetida followed by the grated mangoes.
6. Add turmeric powder and salt.
7. Cook on medium flame stirring now and then till the oil separates.
8. Add the chilly powder which will absorb all the oil.
9. Keep stirring so that the Tokku does not get burnt till the oil once again separates.

10. Mix in the roasted and powdered fenugreek seeds.

Cool the Tokku and store in a clean and dry glass jar.
Enjoy the heavenly Manga Tokku with curd rice, adais and dosas. You can even use it as a bread spread.