I have mentioned before that our traditional meals (lunch) consist of rice served with a main dish of vegetables in gravy, accompanied by a dry (or semi-dry) vegetable preparation. There are time tested combinations of gravy and dry (or semi-dry) vegetable preparations. One could try experimenting with new combinations but nothing comes anywhere near the old tried and tested combinations.
A pachadi is a semi-dry (or semi-wet, with very little gravy) vegetable preparation. In Palakkad cuisine, we have two types of pachadis. One is a Puli Pachadi (which is the subject of this post) and the other is a Thayir Pachadi (made with yogurt) also referred to in some homes as Kichadi (not the rice and lentil preparation somewhat like Venn Pongal).
Puli pachadi, with its spicy and tangy overtones with just a hint of sweet, is the perfect accompaniment to the slightly bland mulagootal. This puli pachadi can be made with vegetables like okra (vendakkai) or eggplant (katharikkai) or pumpkin (mathan), but for this post, I’ve made it with a vegetable we call “vellarikkai’ (or vellarikka in Malayalam)
I searched, a lot, for the English name for this vegetable and came up with Indian Cucumber, English Cucumber, Lemon Cucumber and Yellow Indian Cucumber! After looking at the various pictures, none of these seem to be the same as “vellarikkai” except perhaps the yellow Indian cucumber.
This link tells me that vellarikkai is a cucumber whose botanical name is Cucumis sativus L. and belongs to the CUCURBITACEAE family. My vegetable seller calls it “Sambhar Khakhdi” which basically means cucumber used in sambhar
This vegetable is definitely a part of the cucumber family, and is has a green and yellow/ orange striated pattern on the outside which becomes less green as the cucumber matures. It is white on the inside with slightly larger seeds than the usual cucumber we use in salads. This cucumber is not eaten raw, but cooked.
Does anyone know the English name for this vegetable? Here my recipe to make vellarikkai pachadi.