Around the mid of April is when we celebrate our new year, also called varusha pirappu (literally translating to year birth). According to the Tamil calendar, every year has a name (and there are 60 names). These names repeat every 60 years (obviously!). It is said that a human life cycle is usually 60 years (and hence the 60 steps in the temple at Swami Malai, Kumbakonam; also why a 60th birthday celebration – sashtiabdhapoorthi – plays a big role in our tradition)
This year is called Duurmukhi. Astrologically, this year is ruled by Venus and Mercury. The Lord of Mercury is Lord Hayagriva who is horse faced. (Durmukha also means horse).
Traditionally, there are a few recipes made for the new year. The mango pachidi is the most important of all, the underlying theme being life is always a mix of sweet, sour, bitter & spice.
Raw mango pachidi
A traditional mango jam made for Tamil New Year
- Raw mango – 1
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Powdered jaggery – 1/2 – 3/4 cup
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Fresh Neem flowers – 2 tsp
- Dry red chilli – 2-3
- Hing (Asafoetida) – 1/2 tsp
- Grate the raw mango and add it to a 2L pressure cooker.
- Sprinkle the salt.
- Add 2 tsp water and pressure cook on high for 3 whistles.
- Once the pressure settles, add in the powdered jaggery and mix well. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, add the oil.
- Once the oil heats, add the mustard seeds.
- Once the mustard splutters, sprinkle the hing, add dry red chilli and fry for 10 seconds.
- Turn off the heat and add the neem flowers. Let it crisp up.
- Pour it to the mango jaggery mixture.
Serve warm or cold. Can be eaten as is, or along with breads or dosa (Indian spicy crepes)