This Pachadi recipe is a curry from Kerala, essentially a curry with a gravy base of ground coconut, curd/yogurt and mustard seeds. To this paste, one can add either Tomatoes / Thakaalli or Ladies finger / Vendekkya to make Pachadi. When adding Ladies finger make sure it is fried so that it is not gooey when added to the curry. In Kerala, most curries have a gravy base of ground coconut and cumin seeds / jeera. This may be the only curry from Kerala in which mustard seeds are ground. So if you love the taste of mustard paste, I would suggest you try this Tomato / Thakalli Pachadi.
My mother mostly made Pachadi with tomatoes and that is the one I like. After marriage, I did not make this kootaan (curry) at our home for long because my husband is allergic to curd/yogurt. Hence curries or dishes made with curd / yogurt are usually not prepared at our home more because it is tedious to cook different curries when there are only the two of us at home. Tomato Pachadi was included in our menu at home after my mother made this kootaan using just a couple of tablespoons of absolutely fresh curds, going by the premise that if my husband ate aviyal that has a little curd then he could take this as well. On trying this kootaan, he did like it, so we had one more kootaan added to the list of curries made at home. So a kootaan that is usually made with equal amount of coconut and yogurt is made at our home with just a couple of tablespoons of yogurt.
Tomato / Thakaalli - 2 medium
Coconut / Thenga grated - 1.5 cup
Curd / Yogurt / Thayir - 2tbsp
Dried Red chilli / - 4
Green chilli - 2
Turmeric pwd - 1tsp
Mustard seeds - 1.5tsp for grinding
Curry leaves - 3 sprigs
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1tsp
Salt to taste
Chop tomatoes into medium sized pieces. Heat a saucepan with a cup water, add chopped tomatoes, salt and turmeric powder and cook on medium heat. Separately grind coconut, mustard seeds, green chillies and 2 of the dried red chillies. Add minimal water when grinding so that the mustard is ground well. Then add the yogurt also and give it a quick whisk and this fine paste is ready to be added to the curry. Once the tomatoes are cooked add the ground paste and mix well. Add a little water as required to get a thick curry consistency. Let it boil once, lower the gas to check for salt and then take it off the heat and keep it covered. Heat a small pan for the tadka / vagaar / varathu iddal and add the oil. When the oil is hot put in the mustard seeds, let it splutter then tear 2 dried red chillies into pieces and add it in along with the curry leaves. Stir it and take off the heat and pour the mix into the curry and cover immediately. Open the lid when ready to serve.
To get the authentic taste of this curry more yogurt is to be added when cooking. Like I said we restricted the amount of yogurt to suit my husband's palate. The tomato pachadi is best had with rice and paired off with thoren and pappadam.