Sugar and spice and all things nice

In which we remember our blog, our Telugu-ness and our lunch. (not necessarily in that order.)

Mango Rice and Ugadi Pachchadi

Yello. Please note the conspicuous absence of apologies and excuses. I have evolved so much, no?

So we woke up this morning feeling all wholesome, traditional and festival-ey. As this tends to be a bit of a rare occasion we usually like to commemorate it with wholesome, traditional and festival-ey food. And nicely enough, today be Ugadi. As they say, timing is everything. So here we have for you two things —

First, the Ugadi pachchadi, the traditional chutney/mixture combining the six primary tastes (shaD-ruchi) that symbolizes the different experiences that make up life. (Yes, deep philosophy can be found anywhere, you just have to look for it.) The six tastes in question are sweet, bitter, sour, tart, chili and salt. Jaggery for sweet, tamarind for sour, raw mango for tart, red chili for chili and salt for salt. Neem flowers are used for bitterness, and if you cannot find them then please don’t substitute karela/bitter gourd. It doesn’t work. Really. I’ve tried.

The tart and sour thing confused me for a while, but try sucking on a piece of tamarind versus a raw mango and you’ll quickly know the difference. Tart is what makes your tongue click against the roof of your mouth with a ‘tcha’ sound. Yes, that is tart. I think they call it vagaru in Telugu. Its that tongue pricking feeling that is most prominent in baby raw mangoes.

The funda of eating this pachchadi, as mom explains it, is that you have a spoon of this the very first thing in the morning on Ugadi. The first taste you encounter (after the taste of your toothpaste, preferably) determines how the rest of your year will be. I imagine the system can be rigged easily enough by putting copious amounts of sweet, but that’s a whole different ball of jaggery.

The second entity in the picture is the luminescent raw mango rice, that symbolizes the presence of one too many raw mangoes in the fridge that were bought for the aforementioned pachchadi. No, but seriously. Raw mango rice (known as maamidikaaya chaddi in Telugu. No, not chaddi as in what Dada Kondke used to wear. This is the softer d sound.) is truly a work of art. One of the simplest of rices to make (the only thing simpler is perhaps lemon rice) — it combines cooked rice, grated raw mango and tadka (also known as phodni, bagaar, popu, seasoning, whatever-you-wanna-call-it) to create a simple, flavorful dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Heavenly, it is.

Anyhoo, if you want recipes, please ask. If you want to eat it, cook it.

Happy new year, Ugadi, Gudi Padwa, Yugaadi, and Cheti Chand to all!

50 thoughts on “Sugar and spice and all things nice

  1. Nightwatchmen

    Ugaadi Subhakanshalu I hope I got that right, it has been quite a few years since we have shifted out of the land of Gongura Pachhadi’s

    Ugadi to me is always associated with my school days when I was in Hyderabad(u), and would wait with a lot of excitement after the pachhadi to watch the movie that DD-Hyderabad would show, one memorable one was called Stuartpuram Dongalu which by the way was a real town as we realized on our way to Vizag recently for a wingies marriage.

    Googling for aforementioned movie shows that there is no site with a review of it, may we dare to suggest that you ought to redress the situation……

  2. Paddy

    virodhi naama samvatsara subhakakshalu

    For my recipe I had the luxury of having neem-flowers in the cutney as well (trappings of nobility these days in the bay area)

  3. Annoynymous

    A very happy new year to all (even to those who aren’t celebrating one this month; you’re bound to have one sometime)

    Great post, Megha! Apart from the deliciously beautiful photograph, your post takes one back to Ugadis past.

    One of my favorite Ugadi memories (apart from the pacchadi of course) is the sheer amount of awe felt at watching an Avadhanam. For those curious about the reason for awe, here’s Wikipedia to the rescue –

  4. AV

    Happy new year! You shouldnt have to apologize at all – its your little bloggy and you can update it whenever you bloody well feel like it – no?
    But it is awwww some to have you back :D

  5. Zz

    So, since mom says so, and moms are always right, this pachchadi post indicates that we’ll get tasty writing and pictures every day, all year, right? :)

    That’s a happy new year!

    ~ the glutton

  6. Amol

    May the ” VIRODHI ” Samvath bring peace and happiness to all of us.
    Happy Ugaadi!
    Missed you muchly. Welcome back.

  7. deitaDi

    virOdhi naama samvatsara hRdayapoorvaka Subhaakaankshalu!

    khatarnaak re-entry icchinar bhai. Interval tarvaata hero teeru.

    aa phutva choosthunTe oka range la nOroorutundi – monitor lOpaTiki cheyyi beTTi pacchaDi, saddi tinaalanipistundi :) masth capture chEshnaru.

    post chaduvunTe girruna ringulu tirginai.. chinnappuDu India la ugaadi appuDu unDE hangaama.

    mabbulnE lEshi, jaldi jaldi snaanam chEshi, kotta baTTalEsukovaalnanna aaraaTam.. liter-lu liter-lu ugaadi pacchadi tinuDu/taaguDu (amma konchem palchaga chEstunDe).. tatima rOjulu enni kOti panlu chEshnaa gani, aa rOju shareef shankara lingam cuttings-u (aa shareef buddhulu samvatsaramanta unTayanna (aty)aaSa ) .. amma chEshETi kammani vanTalu.. ooh! maa inTla ugaadi speshal anTe bhakshaalu!! saayantram pooTa guDi daggara panchaanga SravaNam.. sigh.. oka reel tippinDru.. tankulu :)

    post ki sooper timing kooDa! ugaadi rOju raashnaranTe, rOjukO post kaakapoina, regular ga raastarani, raashi iTlaanTi gnaapakaalu teppistarani, and/or kaDupu paGilETaTTu navpistarani, aaSa :)

  8. AJ

    (leaving a comment here for the first time) . Used to read this blog regularly , then, about more than a year back, stopped reading after becoming frustrated with the lack of posts !!!..

    Today, just on a whim, googled ‘A walk in the clouds + rediff + blogs’ and got your link (had forgotten your url and had deleted from favourites, again from frustration).. and saw that there is a new post !!!!!!..

    glad to see you back, hope you post more regularly..

    Cheers :-)

  9. Lak

    Belaaaated happy ugaadi, and rama navami (how about a pic of paanakam?) Good to see you back, even if not so frequently!

  10. Phaedrus

    Good reel-tipper :)
    pothe, you only advise not to use kakar-kaya ..but you dont give an alternative.
    Have you ever found an alternative to neem-leaves to add to uGaadi pachchaDhi?

  11. Shekhar

    Read your blog for the first time… Intresting and pretty bold… I am not here to comment on any of the very controversial topics but to appreciate your style of writing. Hope to see more blogs soon :)

  12. Sue

    I have developed a coping mechanism to deal with your blogging mechanism. I visit once in several weeks. :)

    It’s too late for Ugadi but man, I want that rice.

  13. Lalit

    Dear Megha
    Come back (to blogging).
    Mom serious. Father missing you.
    All is forgotten. Nobody will say anything to you.
    Just come back to post.

    BTW have you got married and flown off ??

  14. anamika


    Hope you are doing well! This is Anamika Tiwari Chief Editor at At present we are interviewing entrepreneurs and now we are starting another section to feature (interview) bloggers and their blog on

    Would like to feature your interview on our website.

    I was not able to find any contact details of yours so using this comment box. Please let me know your email id or else contact us on, so that we can send you the questionnaire and feature you on Please visit to know more about us.


  15. Bhanu

    I keep checking if you posted anything new.

    In case you see this…just wanted to post the link my pictures from my stay in Europe. Previously you saw these pics on my blog but wanted to let you know that I put up quite a few on flickr.

    Hope all is well at your end.

  16. ramesh


    Have you given up on blogging? Please dont? Come bake and cook your head off for the body politic. Erm.. whatever…


  17. Rakesh

    Ugadi is supposed to be an auspicious day to start something new, not to desert something! it’s been 2 ffing long years. Happy Ugadi

  18. Cocktail Party

    Loved your postalu:) but trust me I had no clue on the essence behind the Ugadi special delicacies..Yummy!!!

  19. Well Wisher

    Hello Megha, I have your blog bookmarked and keep checking once in a while. What happened to you? I am quite curious. Please come back and give us another blog this Ugadi.

  20. Ajay Pandey

    Hi Megha,

    Hope this post finds you in good health. I have landed to your blog through Google. I would like to make a request to you. Do you think it is feasible for you to review in your blog. We want an honest opinion on the product and business model. Let me know if this topic interest you? Any information you need, I’ll be happy to provide back.

    Thanks in advance!
    Best regards

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