Today I’m sharing the recipe for Mambazha Pachadi, a much loved dish from my native Palakkad Iyer cuisine. It has been a hot uncomfortable summer as usual. Mangoes, jackfruit and watermelon, the first especially, are what make Indian summers bearable. We haven’t been able to enjoy mangoes very much this year though. Covid infections and the subsequent lockdowns have meant that we haven’t seen the best of the mangoes.
I usually pack as much as possible of our favourite mango dishes into our summers. Mambazha Pachadi is one of them. This is a dish made with just ripe mangoes which are sweet with a bit of tang still in them. Here mangoes are cooked with very few spices using a recipe that is simple and requires little effort. The result is a side dish that is all mango and a beautiful balance of mildly sweet and sour, salty, and spicy.
You can use any ripe mango that isn’t too fibrous. We typically use the local varieties of smaller mangoes but these aren’t always available. I made my Mambazha Pachadi with Sindhura mangoes this time. These are fleshy, juicy and rather sweet mangoes with a hint of tang before they’re fully ripe. They’re typically a mix of green and yellow colours with a distictive deep red blush. This vermilion like red gives it the name Sindhura.
The amounts of tamarind, jaggery and chilli powder used in the recipe below are just a guide. The amount you would actually use would depend on the sweetness and tang of the mangoes and your personal taste. This is traditionally served as a side dish with rice and a savoury main gravy dish like sambhar. It also goes quite well with dishes like Biryani, Pulao or Parathas. You could even serve it as a dip or sauce.
- 5 to 6 medium just ripe mangoes
- 1 tbsp tamarind pulp
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 1 to 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 1 to 2 tbsp powdered jaggery
- Salt to taste
- 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/4 tsp asafetida
- 2 broken dried red chillies
- Peel and chop about 4 to 5 just ripe mangoes into largish pieces. Pulp the remaining part of the mango around the seed with your hand/fingers.
- Put everything in a small pot with about half a cup of water, very little tamarind pulp, some salt, turmeric powder, a little red chilli powder and some curry leaves.
- Cook till mangoes are soft and smaller bits are beginning to disintegrate. At this point add a powdered jaggery or brown sugar. You should have a balance of salty, slightly sweet, a bit tangy and reasonably spicy (but not too much) tastes.
- Heat a little oil in a small pan, preferably coconut oil. Temper with mustard seeds, a little urad dal, Fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves and broken dried red chillies. Pour into the mango curry. This goes well on the side with rice, pulav and biryani. Even parathas.