First things first - I'm going home for the holidays!!! Result: I'm way too excited to fix the critical bugs in my queue (I've always wondered what's with the spelling of 'queue'!!!).
Second things second - I'm going home for the holidays flying Air Deccan (for the first time, mind you). Result: I've heard contradictory things about flying Air Deccan. Most said it's ok, nothing to worry about. One said it's really dangerous 'coz their flights are under-maintained and some dont even have a licence to fly! Well, I'll know by midnight today (when I'm supposed to land in Chennai). I'm tempted to write something crappy like 'If I don't make it: It's been a great journey on this blogging circuit, thanks guys for making it so good!" - but I refrain from making pessimistic comments before I travel. Wish me bon voyage, would ya?!
Third things third - I'm going home for the holidays flying Air Deccan to meet my folks on Ugadi! Result: Happy Ugadi everyone!!!
Fourth things fourth - We watched Bluffmaster yesterday and I fell in love with Abhishek Bachchan. But Aishwarya Rai can rest in peace 'coz I'm married to a wonderful guy already. :-) Result: Everyone, if you haven't watched it yet, go watch 'Bluffmaster'. And hey, Priyanka Chopra was ok too. Boman Irani rocked. And, Nana Patekar! My god, when did we have such good actors all at the same time in Indian cinema (excluding Mohanlal movies - they always have big stars)!
Now to the main topic of this post - Ugadi! Also, Yugadi - Yuga + Adi - Beginning of a new age. (Celebrated this year on March 30)
Have I told you I like Ugadi more than Diwali or Sankranti? Yep, me loves it. Me loves the Ugadi Pachchadi and the mangoes and the yummy things that Mum makes at home. Me loves going to the Telugu Samiti programmes in the evening, spend an evening entirely surrounded by Telugu - it was a big deal then 'coz we were in Trichy surrounded by Tamil!
The Ugadi Pachchadi I made turned out sweet last year! :-) So was my year, actually (touch wood). There is a belief that the way the pachchadi turns out is how your year would turn out to be. So..for all those interested (I don't believe there would be many, but still...) here's how you make the Ugadi Pachchadi.
Ingredients Raw Mango - 1/2 of a medium size mango. Julienne or chopped to small pieces. Tamarind Black Pepper (coarsely ground) Banana Jaggery Neem flowers (yep, you need 'em for sure! No replacements!)
Optional Ingredients Honey Other fruits
Process: Soak the tamarind in water for 10-15 mins. As to the quantity of tamarind, a rough estimate would be 1/4th of the size of a golf ball. (I bet this recipe is one of its kind if it expects you to have seen how big a golf ball is!). Add the jaggery to this and mix properly so the jaggery melts completely in the tamarind water (remove tamarind pieces after extracting all the juice). Add the mango pieces, fruits, sprinkle black pepper, neem flowers and mix. The consistency can be thick like a chutney (add more banana and less water to the tamarind) or not-so-thick like payasam (more water with tamarind).
Ugadi Pachchadi ready! :-)
Simple, wasn't it? It's not mandatory to use all the above ingredients or use the above only. I'll tell you the significance of each and you can 'experiment' with it! The predominant tastes are sweet (theepi - jaggery, banana), sour (pulupu - tamarind), hot (kaaram - pepper) and bitter (chedhu - neem flowers). (I think I'm missing a flavor - is it vagaru? Telugu folks out there, inputs please!) The importance of Mango lies in the fact that this is that time of the year when you start to get cute green mangoes on most mango trees. You should probably know, this is also the time of the year when the neem tree starts to flower! So..its a mix of all the new things that come up around you and all the tastes symbolizing all the different emotions you go through in a new year.
There are lots of other things that come with Ugadi - Panchanga Shravanam (listening to the panchangam to see how the year would be for each zodiac sign), singing 'Maa telugu talli ki' (that's like the anthem of Telugu!), having umpteen flavors of the same ugadi pachchadi at a different friend/neighbor's place - it's such a cute festival, isn't it? No big brouhaha like Diwali or Sankranti!
So me off to Chennai to eat my Ammamma's Ugadi Pachchadi (among other yummies!)
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