Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy Ugadi

Andariki ma Ugadi Subhakaankshalu!!!Wishing all my blog-buddies a very Happy Ugadi/Gudi Padwa! According to the Hindu Calender, the season Chaitra (spring) begins today marking the beginning of a new year. Hence we celebrate the festival welcoming the new year calling it with various names in various states in India.
With India winning the World Cup (in Cricket after 28 years) and the entire nation being euphoric, I cannot think of a better way to begin the new year. Here is how the festival went in my home. In the plate below are Puran Poli, Ugadi Pachadi, Keerai Vadai and puliyodharai. The recipes are given below.
For me the preparation for today began 3 days ago with cleaning one room at a time :). We (hubby and I) have new cloths to wear and even the weather seems to be getting much better day by day. When we were back home in India, our vaasal, (the front porch) used to be decorated with colorful rangolis/kolams. Mom, sis and I used to get up early and make special big rangolis in front of our home. Now, I make do with flower rangoli.

Ugadi, being the first festival in the Chaitra maasam (season), we make a few delicacies. I am going to write down recipes for a few things mom used to make. I cant believe time has gone by so fast and it is already my turn to make all these delicacies for my family in my home. Perhaps this is what is called cycle-of-life. A little rose bloom adorning our fire place mantle which i used for Puja.
Ugadi Pachadi: The star of the show is something called, Ugadi Pachadi (Ugadi chutney). This chutney contains raw mango, neem tree flowers, jaggery, coconut, red chili powder, tamarind and salt. The entire mixture put together signifies various states-of-mind in our life. The sourness of the raw mango, the sweetness of the jaggery, the hotness of the chili powder, the tangy-ness of the tamarind represent that life is full of unexpected surprises, be it happiness, sadness, tranquility or contentedness. We have to accept our life as is with its sweet/bitter intricacies. The chutney is also believed to relive any small illness.
Raw mango: 1 small (representing the excitement, tangyness)
Jaggery: 3 tbsp (representing the happiness)
Salt: 1/2 tsp (representing the life itself because its the basic thing)
Chili powder: 1/4 tsp (representing the anger in us)
Neem tree flowers: 1/2 tbsp (representing the tough times or sorrow; if neem flowers are not available, you can substitute this with methi seeds)
Coconut: Freshly chopped, 1 tbsp (optional)
Tamarind paste: 1/2 tbsp pulp (representing mischievous child in us)

Mix all the above ingredients with a little water. Just add about 3 tbsp. If you want you can add more later.

Yummy! The melody of flavors!

Keerai Vadai: Another common dish we make today is vadai. Now, as most of you know, we have 100's of ways to make tasty vadais. Today, I made keerai vadai (vada with leafy vegetables). I like to fool myself that the leafy veggies would make up for the deep-fried lentil patties. It came quite good actually.
You can practically use any leafy veggie to make this vadai. I used spinach. Below measurements gave me 20 mini vadai's.
Spinach: 1 cup, chopped.
Channa dal (gram dal): 1/2 cup
Green chili: 1 or 2 according to taste
Toor dal: 2 tbsp (optional)
Urad Dal: 2 tbsp
Ginger: 1 inch, chopped
Hing: 1 pinch
Oil: at least 1 cup to deep fry

Salt: according to taste

  • Mix all the dal's together and pour in water until they are completely immersed and at least 2 inches of water is floating above.
  • After 3 hours, strain the water away and keep the dal's dry for another hour. 
  • After this additional hour, take 3 tbsp of dal's in a separate bowl and keep aside.
  • Now, grind the remaining dal with hing and salt WITH OUT ADDING WATER. 
  • When the mixture is grind and is 80% soft, add the 3 tbsp of dal's you kept aside with green chilies and ginger. You dont have to grind this now.
  • Now add the chopped spinach to this dal mixture and mix well. 
  • Heat oil in a vessel. Make small rounds of the dal mixture and flatten them on your hand. It would help if you grease your hand with oil. 
  • Gently drop the vadai (lentil Pattie) into the hot oil. 
  • Roast until the vadai is golden brown and remove it from the oil. You can place these on a tissue paper to drain out excess oil. 
Serve hot...enjoy! Try out the other methods of making vadai also HERE.

Puliyodharai: The next one on menu today is Puliyodharai (Tamarind Rice). You can find the recipe HERE in my blog. Ever been to Tirumala, Perumaal Kovil (It is referred to as Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam) in Andhra Pradesh? The best tasting Puliyodharai comes from that temple. As the devotees chant, "Govindaa Gooovindaaa", the gurukkul gives us handful of yummy and unique tasting Puliyodharai. Though the one I made isn't as great as that is, its much closer than I had ever made.This will suffice for 3 cups of un-cooked rice :)
Puran Poli: Who would like warm, sweet and soft Puran Poli today? I cannot stop at one. Though this takes some time, practice and patience, the end result is awesome. Puran poli is referred to as Bhakshalu in Telugu, Holige in Kannada. Polis are made with flour stuffed with lentils and jaggery mixture, rolled out and pan fried in clarified butter. Below measurements gave me 8 medium sized polis.
Even as I say the word Poli my mouth is watering. My mom used to make it sooo good that I can almost taste what she made all those years ago. She used to make it thin, sweet and so devilishly delicious. As is the norm, we used to send/get polis from neighbors and friends as well but my mom's were the best! Probably every child feels this way about his/her mom's cooking.
Here is my attempt. Start this 2 hours before you make the poli.

Ingredients for filling (Called Purnam in Telugu):
Channa Dal: 1 cup
Jaggery: 1 cup, powdered (you can increase this 1.5 cups also)
Cardamom powder: 1 tsp

Ingredients for the bread:
All Purpose Flour (maida): 1 cup
Water: 1/2 cup
Ghee (clarified butter): 6 tbsp

  • Knead the dough with water and 2 tbsp of ghee until it is soft. Cover this with a moist cloth and set aside for 2 hours.
  • Mean while, pressure cook the channa dal with 3 cups of water. You dont have to over cook it. 1 whistle or 20 mins in medium flame would give you just cooked dal. 
  • Spread this dal on a tissue paper/plate so that all the moisture is absorbed, maybe for 1 hour.
  • WITH OUT ADDING WATER, grind the cooked and cooled channa dal with jaggery. Its a bit difficult to blend it fine, but its doable. Please do not add water because we want the consistency to be thick. To this mixture add the cardamom powder. If by any chance the mixture becomes watery, cook on low flame for 7-10 mins and the mixture would thicken. 
  • Now, take the dough and add the remaining ghee and beat the dough very well. yeah baby! beat it! When you stretch the dough, it should stretch with out breaking like chapati dough
  • Spread a foil or a banana leaf and grease it with ghee.
  •  Take some dough (small lime size) and roll out like you roll out the roti/chapati.
  • Now, take another lime size of dal & jaggery mixture and place it in the middle of the rolled out bread.
  • Now, cover the dal mixture with the bread from all sides and seal with your fingers.
  • Gently pat down the ball with your fingers, trying not to let the dal mixture flow out. If it does, do not worry. Make this as thin as a chapati. 
  • Heat a tava/pan/griddle and add some ghee. Slowly lift the foil containing the poli and invert it on the griddle. 
  • Turn the poli around once in a while until it turns golden brown. Dont shy away from applying generous amount of ghee. 
  • When the poli is completely cooked (you will start smelling it) and is in golden color, remove from the pan and transfer to a plate. 

I hope ALL of you have a fantastic new year ahead!


  1. Wish you n family Happy Ugadi too...that platter looks so yum

  2. A very Happy Ugadi to you and all of your family members dear. Loved the medley of wonderful recipes.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  3. Happy ugadi look yumm...

  4. Happy ugadi wishes to u and ur family...wonderful dishes, tempting!

  5. Happy Ugadi wishes to you dear Madhu .Nice spread.
    Btw you have to cook the pumpkin till soft for the pumpkin chutney -so the chutney is not made of uncooked pumpkin

  6. happy Ugadi you too!!! loved the recipes..

  7. Wish you and your family a very Happy Ugadi Madhu.
    All the dishes look great- very well prepared n presented!

    US Masala

  8. Happy Ugadi dear..Delicious spread,every thing looks so yummy.

  9. happy ugadi to you n ur family dear ! all dishes r so well prepared !

  10. happy Ugadi Dear !! yummy and delicious dishes !!

  11. first time at this blog! :) nice!

    ugadhi Subhakaankshalu to you too. :)

    the pachadi is my favorite part or ugadhi ;)

  12. Happy ugadi to you and ur family, dear. That is s ethnic, very appealing spread. Looks divine.

  13. Happy Ugadi , What a feast you have prepared.

  14. happy ugadi. such a wonderful feast every dish is tempting

  15. wow wonderful and yummy festive dishes :) so inviting plate :)

  16. are too inviting dear..:P
    Tasty Appetite

  17. Hi, first time here...Lovely post... All the dishes speaks volumes about the tradition and significance of the special day... The Ugadi patchadi is something new to me... It was a very good read... will be back to read the rest of your recipes..:)

  18. Dear Madhu
    How are you? I havent disappeared yet ha ha. Just got stuck on some engagement, like pilgrimage with MIL, :-), travel to Bangalore, Orissa etc.
    Happy Ugadi to you ( not very late I guess).
    let me read what all I have missed. The Karela Kishombu is my favorite , will try your recipe soon.
    Have a nice day

  19. hmmm niceee yummy ugadi recipes akka...awaiting the recipe of tirumala laddu from u......

  20. yummy and delicious recipes! love your vada preparation...

  21. All, I cannot begin to thank you all. Your comments really mean a lot to me.

  22. Always love puran poli.. yum :)

    new to ur blog and happy to follow u..

    do visit me when u get time dear..