It is that time of the year when the old gives way to the new and nature is basking in the colours of spring. It is time for one of India’s most popular festivals, Ugadi aka Yugadi which is also the festival of new beginnings. Celebrated in a big way in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra, it marks the beginning of the new year as per the Hindu Lunar calendar. Legend has it that it was on this day that Lord Brahma created the universe eons ago. This day also marks the end of ‘Dwaparayuga’ and the beginning of ‘Kalayuga’. Ugadi or Yugadi, derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (meaning age) and ādi (meaning beginning), is celebrated on the first day after the new moon during the Hindu month of “Chaitra”. The festival typically falls during the month of March or April and is considered to be one of the most auspicious days of the Hindu calendar.
Ugadi Pachadi: a reflection of the flavours of life
The celebration of Indian festivals is incomplete without the mention of food. Apart from the wide variety of sweets and savouries prepared for this festival, Ugadi Pachadi is one dish that is mandatorily prepared. The dish which has a slightly thick sauce like texture incorporates all the 6 tastes as per Ayurveda which is sweet, bitter, sour, spicy, salty and astringent tastes. Further, the dish makes uses of seasonal ingredients like raw mango and neem leaves which blossom in the beginning of spring.
In the dish, sweet is derived from jaggery, bitterness from neem flowers, sourness from tamarind, spice from pepper, astringence from raw mango and all of this is bought together with salt. The preparation and consumption of this dish is significant in that it is symbolic of the fact that life has several flavours and that joy and sadness are really two sides of the same coin. It is a stoic reminder that we need to face life with poise and take a balanced approach towards both pleasure and pain.
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup thickly extracted tamarind paste/extract
- 3 tbsp powdered jaggery
- 1/3 cup raw mango finely chopped with skin
- 1 tbsp neem flowers
- 2 tsp pepper powder (or red chilli powder)
- Salt to taste
- Take a bowl, add the water, tamarind paste and jaggery and mix thoroughly.
- Add the mango pieces, neem flowers, pepper or chilli powder, salt and mix well.
- It is key to note that the dish has no set proportions and you can adjust the quantity of the ingredients as per your taste and preference of the flavours.
This article was originally published in Seema Magazine.