Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mulagai Pachadi (Sweet & Sour Chile Relish)

A beloved South Indian delicacy, Mulagai Pachadi is a wonderful side to almost any meal! Mulagai Pachadi is a tongue tingling side-dish to accompany mild curries such as poricha kuzhambu, molakootal, simple dal, etc. Any kind of fresh chiles can be used to prepare this pachadi; I particularly like the mild long banana or regular yellow chiles or a mix of mild and hot if you prefer. Jaggery or Molasses (neer vellam) gives it a delicious flavor but do not use black-strap kind.


5 - 6 Banana or Yellow Chiles
1" ball dried Tamarind or 2 tsp Tamarind concentrate
1/4 tsp Turmeric
2-3 Tbsp Jaggery, Molasses, or brown sugar
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds (Methi)
1/2 tsp uncooked rice
1 Tbsp white/tan Sesame seeds
2 tsp Indian Sesame Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard seeds
1 stem Curry Leaves, sliced


If using dried tamarind, soak it in a little warm water to cover for a few minutes to soften. Knead with fingers and strain out the juice in a bowl. Add another 1/4 cup of water and repeat kneading and extracting the juice a couple of more times. You should have about a cup or so of the tamarind juice; discard the solids.

Toast the rice and fenugreek seeds in a small pan without any oil until fragrant over low heat; stir in the sesame and roast until golden. Cool and grind into a powder with the salt using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder; the salt helps to grind finely.

Cut the chiles lengthwise, remove stems, ribs and core of seeds; slice crosswise into 1/4" thick slices.

Heat the oil and add mustard seeds; when they finish popping, add the curry leaves carefully and let them sizzle a little for a few seconds.

Stir in the sliced chiles and cook stirring until softened.

Add the tamarind juice and turmeric (if using tamarind concentrate, add a cup of water).

Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced a little.

Add the jaggery/molasses/brown sugar and let simmer for about 5 more minutes.

Stir in the ground sesame mixture and simmer again for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot, warm or cold. Enjoy!!

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