Arachukalaki is a distinctive side dish of Palakkad Iyers. It is a curd based side dish for our mild kootans like Molagootal and Mulagutiam. You could call it maybe a Palakkad Raita. The name arachu kalaki exactly translates to the procedure of how this dish is made: Arachu meaning grind and kalaki meaning mix. This is a really simple dish.
In olden days, seasonal fruits like gooseberries or nellikai in Tamil, mangoes or mangai in Tamil etc would be preserved in brine in large bharanis (big porcelain vessels) for the entire year. Whenever one felt like having a nellikai or mangai – there it was always available. My mother-in-law still follows the tradition. So this winter when the gooseberries were readily available in the market, she bought a Kg of them and preserved it in brine. Today we made arachukalaki out of these preserved gooseberries. So, here’s how arachukalaki is made:
Ingredients (Serves: 3 – 4)
1. Fresh or Preserved Nellikai/ Gooseberries/Amla – 2 big
2. Grated Coconut – 2 tblsps
3. Sour curd – 2 to 3 tblsps
4. Dried Red Chillies – 3 – 4
5. Methi seeds – ¼ tsp
6. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp k
7. Curry Leaves a few
8. Coconut oil – 1 tsp
9. Salt to taste
Heat a small pan with ½ tsp of oil, fry the methi seeds and red chillies. Deseed the Nellikai or gooseberries. Grind the nellikai pieces, grated coconut, fried, methi seeds and red chillies into a fine paste. Add little sour curd to get a smooth paste. Add salt to taste. Transfer the ground pastes into a bowl. Now, adjust consistency by adding some more curd. Mix well. Arachukalaki should not be very thick like thogayal, it should be like pachadi or raita. Heat a small frying pan with the remaining oil, add the mustard seeds, when the splutter pour it on top of the arachukalaki. Garnish with a few sprigs of curry leaves.
Nellikai Arachukalaki is ready to be served with rice and molagootal. You can also relish the taste of this arachukalaki with idly or dosai.
Note: Arachukalaki can also be prepared with small raw mangoes (Vadu manga or Kanni mangai as it is called in Palakkad. Procedure is the same. Just replace gooseberries with raw mangoes).
It can be made with Chenai (yam/Suran) also. Remove skin from chenai, cut into small pieces. Rest of the procedure remains the same except that you need to add a little tamarind while grind since chenai does not have a sour taste.