Ugadi – Telugu New Year

23 Mar
Ugadi Pachadi: the mix of spices of life

March 23rd this year is Ugadi for the Telugu and Kannada people of Southern India. Ugadi, a Telugu word, means roughly translated “the dawn of a new epoch”, hence the common usage of new year. 

Here I am a foreigner in Hyderabad, the heart of the Telugu nation, and clueless to the wonderful delicacies of this important festival.  My marvellous cleaning lady Vieysha didn’t miss a beat, as usual.  During the week she came to my kitchen to prepare green mango rice, heaps of which is still sitting in my fridge. Hot chilis, raw grated green mango and lovely unnamed seeds mixed into flavourful basmati, yummy!

Today on the Ugadi holiday itself, she suprised me with a visit before going to the temple and brought Ugadi Pachadi, the interesting mixture of bitter, hot, sweet and sour tastes done in a thick soupy mixture.  It was divine and went well with the puffy lotus flower paste “dumplings” that just melted in my mouth. Being such a fabulous cook that she is, she also gave me some of her lemon rice. Honestly, the leftover flu symptoms I’ve been battling for week as the temperature’s been soaring to +39C were simple gone by the time I licked my lips after the feast.

Here’s how to make Ugadi Pachadi if you’re inspired like I am by the fact that the spices in the food symbolize the different experiences in life – sadness, happiness, anger, disgust and surprise – how perceptive of the Telugu people!  And not only that all these emotions are part of life, but that they also should and need to be equally accepted. Happy Ugadi to you all!

Ugadi Pachadi Recipe

Prep & Cooking: 20-30 mts.-Cuisine: Andhra Pradesh, India


1 cup of raw fresh green mango cleaned, dried, finely chopped along with skin

1 tbsp margosa flowers (neem tree flowers)

1 cup grated jaggery (whole cane sugar)

1 tbsp fresh finely chopped coconut pieces (optional)

3 -4 tbsp tamarind paste

red chilli pwder (according to your choice)

salt to taste

Mix all the above ingredients to form a sauce like appearance. If you want a thin and watery chutney add very little water (2-3 tbsps). You can also add small pieces of sugarcane, pieces of ripe banana, putanaala pappu (roasted channa dal) along with the above ingredients.Lunch at Ugadi

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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in travel journals


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