As I walk across the Sunday’s farmer’s market, there in the distance I hear someone waving hands and calling out for me. I walked further to get a closer look. Perfect, plump and bright California oranges were stacked one over the other in a bamboo basket. Juicy and voluptuous, it tempts to be the perfect snack to munch one segment after the other. As I grabbed the perfect looking sexy orange in hand, I could see myself creating a luscious marmalade with delicate yet phenomenal Indian spices in my kitchen. With no further thoughts, I hurriedly buy two dozen, saving some of her juice for a orange flavored chocolate cake, then few delicious segments to eat as such, her skin for my Indian marmalade (Orange pachadi in Tamil) and Orange rasam (Indian soup). I have a vision to use all the skin I collect after enjoying the season’s tart and sweet little pleasures.
I simmered the creamy orange-ginger-garlic mixture on the huge front burner of my cooking range. I quickly heated oil in another pan and added a generous helping of mustard seeds, dhal and asafoetida. After they sputtered and popped in different directions, I sprinkled few green chillies and poured tamarind juice on top and covered to cook till the orange skin softened, following in succession were the grated jaggery. The tangy orange skin would titillate the taste buds and interesting flavor after the other would unfold as they slide into your lips and tongue; the sweetness of the jaggery, earthiness of the mustard seeds, crunchy bites of the channa dhal, spicy kick from the green chillies and the flavors of garlic and ginger completes the dish. So refreshing and citrusy, you cann’t get enough of this. Let’s indulge and engulf ourselves in the world of orange.
1 large orange skin – chopped
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbs channa dhal
2 tbs olive oil/ canola oil
2 tbs ginger – chopped
2 tbs garlic – chopped
2 thai green chillies – chopped
Seedless tamarind – 1/2 large lemon size or 1 amla (gooseberry) size
1 tbs jaggery
Salt to taste
Chop the orange skin, ginger and garlic in the same size, about 1/2 cm squares. Heat 1tbs oil in a cooking pan and throw them into the hot oil and cook for approximately 10-15minutes until they are half cooked. Remove and set aside.
Soak the tamarind in warm water and squeeze the juice with hands or in a blender. Be careful to remove the tamarind seeds (if any) before hand. Strain the juice and reserve them for later use.
In a fresh cooking vessel, heat oil and add the mustard seeds, channa dhal and asafoetida, cook for 30seconds . Then add the green chillies and cook for 2 minutes. Mix in the half-cooked orange skin-ginger-garlic mixture. Pour the tamarind juice and cook covered for 15 minutes on medium flame. Once they begin to thicken, sprinkle the jaggery and salt. Give it a stir and remove from heat. Cool it before storing it in an air tight container.
The pachadi can be eaten with curd rice or chapati/ roti.