Key Differences Between The Kerala-Style Kichadi & Pachadi

Within the spectrum of the vast array of accompaniments to eat with rice in Kerala cuisine, yoghurt-based curries form an integral part of the culinary heritage. Preparations like the moru curry, pachadi and kichadi are not only special components of a festive sadhya spread, but also enjoyed during the summers for a light meal. However, often times, the kichadi and pachadi are used interchangeably while referring to either preparation – both of which are individualistic in their own small but significant ways.


The tempered yoghurt side dish – which is usually made with a base of coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds, has pre-coooked vegetables mixed into the yoghurt-coconut base. Eaten as a side with rice, sambar, thoran and pappadum, the pachadi is paired with other dishes for texture and flavour. The pachadi is usually made using vegetables like okra, pumpkin, beetroot and even pineapple – all of which are partially cooked beforehand. Unlike the kichadi, the pachadi is a mildly flavoured variant which has a mellow tang, which juxtaposes with the obvious sourness of the kichadi. While the pachadi can also be served at room temperature, the kichadi is best enjoyed when served cold.

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What makes the preparation of the kichadi different when compared to the pachadi is the absence of a coconut base that is used in the latter. Made using yoghurt, raw vegetables or fruits and tempered in the classic Keralan way, the kichadi is a cooling summer accompaniment that is enjoyed as part of a sadhya spread or simply with some rice and sambar. Typically, the composition of a kichadi is closest to the North Indian raita, whereas the pachadi has its own individual identity that is a reflection of South Indian culture. Ingredients like cucumber, gooseberry, mangoes and carrot are usually preferred while making a kichadi – which is tempered with spices, curry leaves and mustard seeds. While popular belief also dictates that the differences between the two tempered yoghurt preparations involve diversifying them by the choice of fruit and vegetables used to prepare them, both – the kichadi and pachadi tend to use most kinds of key ingredients commonly.