Tamil New Year’s day is celebrated in accordance with the solar calendar and is celebrated by preparing many festive treats. Vepampoo(Neem flower) Pachadi is a mandatory dish prepared on the Tamil New Year's day in our house hold. This is made with neem flowers which have a bitter taste and the addition of tamarind juice, jaggery, green chili, salt to this dish gives it a bitter, sweet, sour, salt and spicy taste depicting the different tastes life has to offer in one’s life. Interesting right ? One has to get acquired to taste of this dish in order to enjoy this unique dish .
Preparation Time – 10 Minutes
Cooking Time – 15 Minutes
Serves – 4
Vepampoo (Neem flower) – 3/4 Cup
Tamarind – Gooseberry sized ball
Water – 2 1/2 Cups
Salt – 1 Tsp
Green chili – 2 to 4( I used just two as the green chili I bought were super spicy)
Jaggery – 1/3 Cup( I used palm jaggery which is low on glycemic index and on the dark brown black color)
Rice flour – 1 Tsp
Oil – 1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 Tsp
1) Soak the tamarind in 1/2 Cup of warm water for 30 minutes and squeeze out the pulp at least 3 times adding 1/2 Cup of water each time and set it aside.
2) Heat a pan and add 1 Tbsp of oil and then add the neem flowers and fry till they are well roasted and are brown in color and crispy and keep the neem flowers aside.
3) Now add the remaining oil and once it is hot add the mustard seeds. After they stop spluttering add the asafoetida piece and green chilies and then add the tamarind juice and boil for 7-10 minutes till the raw smell of the tamarind is gone.
4) Add 3/4 Cup of water to palm jaggery and simultaneously simmer on low heat till the jaggery disolves, once it is completely dissolved pass the liquid through a strainer and add this to the boiling tamarind mixture. In the remaining water, dissolve the rice flour and add the rice flour paste to the mixture and simmer for 2 minutes and switch off.
5) Before you serve crush the roasted neem flowers and add it to the spicy sweet tangy mixture combine and serve immediately.