I am a big fan of the sweet pachadi (relish) that is commonly served in Tam-Brahm weddings, as part of the elai saapadu (plantain-leaf meal). This relish is made using a variety of seasonal fruits, popularly known as Mixed Fruit Pachadi or Kalyana Sweet Pachadi (‘Kalyanam‘ means ‘wedding’ in Tamil).
One of my aunts makes this pachadi at home, using a recipe that she learnt from a TV cookery show. Because I love it so much, she makes it for me whenever I visit her. I never tried making it at home, though, or attempting to learn the recipe. Recently, however, when I had a surplus stock of fruits, I thought of trying my hands at making this. The Internet came to the rescue, and I did find several recipes for this dish. Most of these recipes didn’t look like those for the kind of beautiful mixed fruit pachadi that I am used to having, sadly. And then, I stumbled upon this recipe, on Amrita Iyer’s food blog, The Food Samaritan. As soon as I read through it, I knew instantly that this was the recipe I had been looking for – I vaguely remembered my aunt talking about it, and the threads connected.
So, it was Amrita’s recipe that I used a couple of days ago, with a few little variations, and was rewarded with a lovely, lovely Kalyana sweet pachadi. The taste was exactly the same as that of the mixed fruit pachadi my aunt would make it. Love happened instantly, both for me and my family. 🙂
Here is how I made the pachadi.
Ingredients (makes 1 medium-sized serving bowl):
- 1 medium-sized apple
- 3 large bananas
- 2 small mangoes
- 2 small tomatoes
- 10-12 almonds
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 tablespoon broken cashewnuts
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon rose essence
- Chop the tomatoes into large cubes and puree them in a mixer. Keep aside.
- Heat 1 cup of water in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add the sugar to it. Cook on a medium flame till the sugar has completely dissolved in the water, and the syrup becomes slightly sticky to the touch.
- At this stage, add the tomato puree to the pan. Keeping the flame medium, cook till the mixture gets slightly thick and the raw smell of the tomatoes has disappeared. You will need to stir intermittently. Remember that you don’t need to get this mixture very thick – it should be runny. Meanwhile, get the other ingredients ready.
- Peel the bananas and chop them into rounds. Chop the apples into small pieces – no need to peel them. Peel the mangoes and chop them into cubes. Keep the chopped fruits in a large mixing bowl.
- Chop the cashewnuts and almonds into slivers. Add this to the mixing bowl.
- Add the raisins to the mixing bowl too. Keep aside.
- When the syrup in the pan has thickened, switch off the gas and add in the rose essence. Mix well.
- Let the syrup cool to room temperature and then pour it over the cut fruits in the mixing bowl. Stir gently, once.
- Cover the mixing bowl and let it sit that way, at room temperature, for at least a couple of hours. At the end of this time, the syrup and the fruits would have gotten well integrated. The juices from the fruits would have made the pachadi runnier by now, and that is fine. Stir gently and transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight box.
- Keep refrigerated when not in use. It stays well that way for 3-4 days.
- Any fruits that are in season can be used to make this mixed fruit pachadi. I, however, like only certain fruits in the pachadi, like pineapples, bananas, mangoes, apples and grapes. As of now, I used only those fruits I had on hand at home.
- Chopped walnuts and glace cherries can be added to the pachadi as well. I didn’t add them, since I didn’t have any. I have seen chopped dates being used in this kalyana pachadi too, but I skipped them.
- Increase or decrease the quantity of sugar you use, as per your taste preferences and depending upon the quantity of fruit you are using.
- This pachadi can be eaten on its own, as a dessert, or served as part of a plantain-leaf meal. You can serve it either chilled or at room temperature. Also, like the original recipe suggests, this pachadi can be poured over a plain cake too, to enhance its flavour.
- If the tomatoes are too tangy, use just one instead of two. Mine weren’t very sour, so I used two.
- In Tam-Brahm weddings, typically, pineapple essence is added to this pachadi. I used rose essence instead, as the original recipe suggested, and am very happy with the results. If you don’t like the idea of essence in your food, feel free to use it in lesser quantity or skip it altogether, but I wouldn’t really advise the latter. The rose essence does add a beautiful touch to the pachadi.
- Drops of red food colour can be added to the mixed fruit pachadi too, to make it look more attractive. I skipped that.
- I am not too fond of Yelakki bananas, so I used large-sized Robusta to make this pachadi. Take your pick!
- Ideally, a combination of sweet, tangy and mushy fruits should be used to create this kalyana pachadi, for best results.
- My aunt sometimes uses beetroot to make this pachadi, instead of tomato, for a deeper red colour. I prefer the tomato-based version, though.
You like? I’d urge you to try this beauty out before the mangoes disappear from the market altogether! It’ll be worth your while, I can assure you!