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Cottage Cheese, Coconut, Mango and Fresh Herbs with Caramelized Nuts


First and foremost I would like to wish all of you, “A very Happy Telugu New year “. This day marks the beginning of not just another new year but a year that’s filled with hope, health, happiness and lots of joy. It is a day that’s another reminder for one to leave the past behind and await the future with renewed vigor. It also marks the beginning of spring where the plants, shoots and leaves come to life and it is believed to usher in hope and happiness for one and all.

On this auspicious day every household who celebrate the new year make a concoction which is a staple every year. The key ingredients are jaggery, raw mango, tamarind, neem flowers, chilli and salt. Parallels to life are drawn with these ingredients and they are supposed to represent the various facets of life. Jaggery is supposed to denote sweetness, mango denotes tanginess, tamarind is sour, neem flowers is all about bitterness and chilli is spicy. In short, life is a little bit of everything and life waits for none and moves on. It’s about accepting all these and striking a balance and leading a happy, peaceful life.

I wanted to make a dish using the same ingredients that go into the Pachidi to signify the Telugu New Year’s Day. I had to use the jaggery, tamarind, neem flowers, green chilli and the raw mango to make my dish. I did use all of them and made a dish incorporating them with cubes of cottage cheese, some coconut tidbits,some onions and some fresh herbs. I used the jaggery to caramalize the nuts that would go on top of this dish and in addition also used it to sauté the onions, mango and coconut. I used the tamarind to sauté the ingredients and the green chillies as part of the dressing that would be drizzled on all these lovely ingredients. The raw mango was one of the main ingredients of this dish along with the cottage cheese and I used the neem flowers as a garnish. So here’s my take on the Pachidi wherein all the essential ingredients were used to make this dish.

The foodie in me wanted to do something different today but I was pleasantly surprised at how all of these ingredients worked with each other. Basically they are a bunch of complex, strong flavors that when put together to create a dish, one can seldom get it right. Nevertheless I am confident enough to put it on my table and serve it to my guests. This dish is a big YES from me as far as being a contender to feature in our regular meal plans and also for being a part of a gourmet meal!




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