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Ugadi 2023: Andhra special Ugadi Pachadi and Sunnundalu

Ugadi, also known as Samvatsaraadhi is celebrated as New Year by people of various states in India like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur etc. It is also regarded as the spring festival, which falls in the Hindu lunisolar calendar month named Chaitra. So usually, Ugadi falls in the late March or the early April as per the Gregorian calendar. Ugadi is observed by oil baths, new dresses, rangolis, ugadi pachadi, sweets, a lavish festive spread, special prayers at temples and panchanga sravanam. At our home, Ugadi is celebrated with lot of festive cheer, with all of those listed above. Times since I remember, on the day of Ugadi, apart from rangolis, we decorate our home with toran made out of mango leaves, symbolizing prosperity. Mango leaves is known to keep out the negative energy. My father/ brother head out and bring fresh raw mangoes and neem flowers required to prepare the festive special Ugadi pachadi, while Mom and me work on the festival delicacies. 

At Canada, spring begins more or less around the same time as Ugadi - one thing that I could think of which sinks with Indian calendar. I haven't seen a single mango tree here and obviously mango leaves are out of scope. I won't whine as we still get raw mangoes imported from Mexico, almost at all the grocery shops. Just that they won't taste tangy as the ones we get at India. Something is better than nothing. Isn't it? 

Next important ingredient is the neem flowers, which again has the same story. No neem trees here, so no neem flowers (I haven't come across these even at the Indian grocery shops). At US, Indian stores sold them just days before Ugadi, 5 - 10 neem flowers for $5, that too wilted. I know the numbers you are trying to pull up in your mind. It costed us close to 300 rupees, 3 years ago. With the inflation, I don't want to think about how much it is priced now. 

So for those who aren't aware, might be wondering why am I even elaborating about these items. Ugadi Pachadi is the most important Ugadi recipe prepared, offered to God and eaten as the first food by everyone on this auspicious day. This pachadi is a mixture of 6 different flavours, signifying the 6 important emotions in our life, and below is its recipe.

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Ugadi Pachadi:

Ingredients & Significance:

  • Jaggery, for sweetness symbolizing happiness
  • Tamarind, for sour representing unpleasantness 
  • Raw mango, for tanginess signifying surprise
  • Neem flowers, for bitterness indicating sadness 
  • Green chilli, for spice denoting fear
  • Salt, for salt characterizing fear


 Procedure:
  • Dilute jaggery and tamarind in water, filter out to remove impurities
  • Cut raw mango and green chilli into small pieces and add to the jaggery-tamarind mixture
  • Finally add neem flowers and salt and mix thoroughly
  • Ugadi pachadi is ready to be offered to God
While many people prepare this pachadi in different ways, we at home do not follow any set measurement of the ingredients. We randomly mix all the ingredients in some water. As per our elders, the first flavour we taste upon eating this pachadi, signals us how the upcoming year will be. So as a kid, I used to be always eager to taste the pachadi. Even today, at home we discuss about how the pachadi tasted for each one of us😁

Tips:
  • You might wonder how I prepared Ugadi pachadi, without access to neem flowers at Canada. I used bitter guard peel instead😊
  • You can also replace green chillies with pepper powder or chilli powder
I didn't prefer to have an elaborate festive spread this year, instead opted for simple Andhra style recipes like sunnundalu (ladoos made using urad dal), minapa garelu (urad dal vada), pesarattu (green moong dal dosa) and spicy ginger chutney.

Sunnundalu:

Below is my recipe of Andhra special sweet, Sunnundalu. They are very easy to make and highly nutritious with good amount of protein, carbs, iron and good fats.


Ingredients:
  • Urad dal (black gram) - 1 cup
  • Jaggery (grated) - 3/4 cup
  • Ghee (clarified butter) - 3/4 to 1 cup
  • Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Procedure:
  • Wash and dry urad dal on a kitchen towel. Do not soak the dal.
  • Once it dry, dry roast it on medium flame until it turns golden brown in colour. Another indication that the dal is well roasted is its nice aroma
  • Let the dal cool and then grind it into a fine powder
  • To the powder, add cardamom powder and jaggery and mix well
  • Finally, add melted ghee in batches and hold the mixture into lemon sized balls i.e., ladoos
Tips:
  • You can store roasted urad dal powder in an air tight container, to quickly turn them into delicious sunnundalu
  • Instead of grated jaggery, you may use powdered jaggery or sugar. In this case, you may need additional ghee to bind the ingredients well
  • Melt ghee in batches to avoid reheating during the process of making ladoos

Hope you find this post interesting!! Do comment, how you celebrate your New Year.

You can check out the below video for the detailed recipes. 








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