If you have ever been to a typical Telugu village, you would recall with fondness, the fragrance of Nature at its purest, the wafting aroma of spices, and the tinkling laughter of happy souls. When I think back to the idyllic holidays I spent with my grandparents, one of the recurring memories is that of the enchanting taste of traditional Telugu stoneground fresh chutneys. These homemade delicacies, crafted with love, vegetables, herbs, and spices, were an integral part of our mealtimes.
Walk with me as I journey through the art of making Telugu chutneys in the traditional way!
A fresh start, always
Fresh stoneground chutneys or roti pachadis play a vital role at mealtimes in Telugu homes, as they are known to single-handedly elevate the delight quotient several notches. These vibrant and versatile accompaniments are crafted using a variety of fresh vegetables, herbs, and spices, each contributing their unique flavour to make a synergetic whole. From the tangy dosakaaya (yellow cucumber) chutney to the zesty dondakaaya (ivy gourd) chutney, and the cooling sorakaaya (bottle gourd) chutney, there is a chutney to complement every meal.
Written in stone
Typical Telugu households swear by the twin implements - the humble but cherished mortar for grinding and pestle for pounding - together called the ‘rolu-rokali in Telugu, and ‘sil batta’ in Hindi.’ These simple yet powerful kitchen tools have been used for centuries to create the perfect texture and consistency for chutneys. The mortar, typically made of granite, acts as a sturdy base, while the pestle, a cylindrical stone, is used to crush and grind the ingredients. The repetitive grinding motion releases the flavors and aromas of the spices and other ingredients, resulting in a rich and well-balanced chutney.
The art and science of making Roti Pachadi
To experience the magic of Telugu stoneground fresh chutneys, (called Roti Pachadi meaning chutney made in the rolu), one must witness the process first-hand. I can still vividly recall sitting beside my grandmother as she skillfully selected the freshest vegetables, aromatic herbs, and premium spices. Then, using the mortar and pestle, she would commence the rhythmic grinding process. When to add which ingredient, and in which proportion, is a science by itself, I realised!
As the ingredients were crushed, the medley of raw components transformed into a harmonious blend of flavours. The coarse texture of the roti pachadi is to retain the essence of each ingredient to achieve a delightful mouthfeel. The gentle rhythm of grinding, accompanied by playful banter of children and adults gathered for the holidays, added a touch of nostalgia to the entire experience. The intense aroma wafting through the air heightened our anticipation of the forthcoming culinary repast.
Preserving tradition and native intelligence
The use of stoneground techniques not only imparts unique flavours but also holds cultural significance. The mortar and pestle encourage a hands-on approach to cooking. They demand patience, precision, and a connection with the ingredients. While modern appliances provide convenience, they often fail to capture the essence of the traditional methods. The mortar and pestle allow us to be present in the moment, savouring the process as much as the end result.
Roti pachadis evoke a sense of nostalgia that goes beyond their delectable taste. They remind us of simpler times, of gathering around the kitchen with loved ones, and the joy of creating something from scratch. The memories of the rustic mortar and pestle being handed down from one generation to another add depth to India’s culinary traditions.
The next best to Ammamma’s Roti Pachadi
For all those who love the unique flavour of Roti pachadi but have no time to prepare it fresh every day, here’s a quick solution to have your pachadi and eat it too…with utmost relish! Priya Foods, the brand that stands for all that’s traditionally Telugu, has an array of not 1, not 2 but 5 mouth-watering flavours of Roti Pachadi - Beerakaaya (Ridge gourd), Vankaaya (Brinjal), Sorakaaya (Bottle gourd), Dondakaaya (Ivy gourd ) and Dosakaaya (Yellow Cucumber)! Bursting with handpicked and fresh veggies, herbs are spices, these chutneys are pounded and ground to the exact texture that makes Roti Pachadis uniquely flavourful. Their versatility makes them ideal accompaniments to any meal and to any genre of food - from South Indian to North Indian, from snack to dinner.
Thoughtful to the extreme, Priya Foods also offers 2 exciting breakfast chutneys - a Morning Medley of Tomato-Onion and Tomato-Ginger to perk up your breakfast, be it a dosa or a paratha!
The packaging is done with Thermal Retort Technology that preserves the freshness for a long time without the use of any preservatives at all! Zero preservatives…can you believe that, or beat that!!
Make it a point to consume the Roti Pachadi soon after opening the pack. You can refrigerate it and have it within 5 days. But believe me, this will never pose a problem, as you can’t stop at one helping…ever! You can place the order now, at https://priyafoods.com/collections/roti-pachadi and go on a nostalgic journey to your grandmother’s home at your next meal time!