The Tamil New Year, Varsha Pirappu or Puthandu, is observed on the first day of Tamil month Chithirai, the first month as per traditional Tamil Calendar. Chithirai 1 or the Chithirai thirunal is an auspicious day for Tamil speaking people in India (Tamil Nadu) and across the world, especially in Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa. In 2009, the date of Varsha Pirappu or Tamil New Year is April 14. This day is also celebrated as Vishu by Malayalis.
A major highlight of the Tamil New Year is the viewing of ‘Kani’ – meaning auspicious things. Legend has it that viewing auspicious things on this day will bring good fortune throughout the year.
The special and important dish for this day is pachchadi(as spelled as pachadi) as it blends all tastes and signifies life. Pachadi is a mix of all tastes in life, the sweet, the sour, the bitter, the spicy and the salty. It is made with raw mango and neem flowers where neem flowers is a must.
Raw Mango-Neem Flower Pachadi Recipe
Neem flower – 4 tsp
Raw mango – 1 medium size
Jaggery – 1 cup
Salt – a pinch
Green Chilli – 1
Turmeric – a pinch
Mustard – 1/2 tsp
Oil/ghee – 2-3 tsp
1. Peel off the raw mango skin and cut them to pieces, add pinch of turmeric and get them cooked.
2. Prepare jaggery syrup and add the cooked mango to it and allow it to boil a few mins.
3. Fry the neem flowers in little ghee and add it to the jaggery-mango.
4. Finally garnish with roasted mustard and green chilli.
This neem flower raw mango pachadi is ready.
Javvarisi Payasam Recipe or Sabudhana Kheer Recipe
Javvarisi or Sago or sabudhana- 1/2 cup
Milk – 3/4 litre
Sugar – 1 cup
Cardamom powder – a pinch
Cashew, badam, dry grapes – to garnish
1. Add 3/4 to 1 cup water to this javvarisi and get them cooked in a cooker leaving for 1 whistle.
2. keep stove in low flame and boil the 3/4 litre milk until they become 1/2 litre.
3. Then add sugar and cooked javvarisi and keep stirring.
4. Add the cardamom powder, ghee – roasted cashew, badam and add dry grapes and serve hot.
Javvarisi payasam or sabudhana kheer is ready.