Master The Art Of Making Vellarikka Pachadi At Home For Sadhya
Image Credit: Vellarikka Pachadi | Image Credit: Vanitha, Google

Kerala is celebrating its harvest festival, Onam, with full fervour. The festival began on August 20 and will continue until August 31. The festival marks the return of King Mahabali to his village and people from the underworld. On the 10th day of the festival, a vibrant meal called ‘Sadhya’ is served on banana leaves to the people. Sadhya is more than just a culinary experience. Rather, it carries the weight of mythology, which ties the community together and upholds tradition. 

The lavish vegetarian meal is known for its wide range of foods that hold significant cultural and social connotations. It is a customised, multi-coarse vegetarian meal consisting of around 26 items. Among these dishes, pachadi holds a special place. It is one of the dishes that many people remember about Sadhya, in addition to sambar, rasam, appalam, and payasam. Pachadi is frequently contrasted with the North Indian condiments like raita and pickle. The three clearly differ from one another. Pachadi has a subtle interplay of sweet and sour and an acidic flavour with a whiff of umami. 

When it comes to pachadi, there are two segments. Pachadi is an amalgamation of spicy and tangy variants, including Malabar cucumber as its core ingredient. While the other, Kachadi, follows the same route, the only difference is that it uses curd and comprises the milder version of bold pachadi. 

Evolved during the reign of Raja Raja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, who were known as the patrons of cuisine and culture, pachadi were so effective with their taste-making and digestive abilities that they soon travelled to other royal courts as well. Pachadi, in its traditional form today, is not only found in Kerala and Tamil Nadu but also in Karnataka, Maharastra, and Andhra Pradesh. Kachadi, on the other hand, is found in Odisha too, with subtle nuances. 

Pachadi made its way from the lush inland regions to other areas, possibly because of its position in Sadhya. Pachadi, by the time of Krishnadev Raya of Vijayanagram, had established itself as a sign of successful food trade, work, and diplomacy. One of its best characteristics is that it can be paired with any food in any season. Pachadi has multiple variations, namely Vellarikka Pachadi, aka cucumber pachadi, or beetroot pachadi. 

In this article, we will discuss Vellarikka pachadi, which is gluten-free and made with Kerala cucumber, curd, coconut, and aromatic spices. Let’s look at the recipe here: 


  • ½ peeled cucumbers, cut into pieces 
  • 1 cup grated coconut 
  • 1 or 2 green chillies 
  • ½ tsp of mustard   
  • 1 cup curd 
  • Salt as per taste

To Temper   

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil 
  • 4 dried chillies 
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves


  • Heat a pan and add cucumber pieces to it. Add enough water and salt to bring it to a boil. 
  • Grind the grated coconut, mustard seeds, and chillies. Blend it into a coarse paste. 
  • Add the coconut mixture to the boiled cucumber pieces. Ensure the water is fully absorbed. 
  • Stir until the raw smell goes away. The mixture should be thick and slightly coarse. 
  • Whisk the curd to make it smooth and creamy. Add it to the curry. 
  • For tempering, heat another pan and add coconut oil, mustard seeds, dried chillies, and curry leaves. Wait till it splutters. 
  • Add it to the curry and mix well. 
  • Serve hot.