We’ve asked around and all the Malayali people we know tell us that they aren’t sure what the difference is between a Pachadi and a Kichadi. So even if there is a difference, it’s a mild one that we haven’t unearthed yet.
In the meanwhile, whatever you want to call it, this dish, made with a large, yellow variety of cucumber, is such a perfect summer dish, it’s hard to believe how simply it is achieved.
Fresh, cool, and comfortingly delicious, this Vellarikka Kichadi is great on its own or as a side dish with rice and some daal. It is one of the dishes traditional served in a sadya, a traditional Malayali meal served on a banana leaf on special occasions and festivals.
Vellarikka Kichadi (or Pachadi)
250 – 300 g Vellarikka (Large, yellow Cucumber)
2 – 3 tbs Fresh Coconut, grated
2 – 3 Green chilies
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
2 small Sambar Onions (optional)
1 cup Yogurt
1 tbs Coconut Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
4-6 Curry Leaves
2 dry Red Chilies
Peel the cucumber and prepare into batons. Grind the grated coconut, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds and the onions if using.
In a small pan, add the cucumber, very little water, enough to barely cover the cucumber, salt to taste and 1 green chili. Cook the cucumber for a while, till the water reduces and cucumber is tender.
Add the ground coconut mixture to the cucumber and stir well. Allow this to cool before adding the yogurt. Stir well and set aside.
For the tempering, heat the coconut oil in a small pan and add the mustard seeds, the dry red chilies and curry leaves. Let them sputter and pour this over the cucumber, coconut and yogurt dish.