Dosakai pachadi: a creamy cucumber relish

We had hot steaming rice for lunch today with a most unexpected side – a cooling cucumber relish made with a paste of black mustard seeds and white sesame seeds.  Not much else was needed for a satisfying meal.  I was surprised by how good the relish tasted rubbed into the rice – it was mustardy, spicy from green chillies with a hint of sour from tamarind.  Finely chopped cucumbers and the ground sesame gave it an interesting texture – creamy and nutty, but studded with bites of pale green.  A sort of refreshing South Indian summer pesto best enjoyed with warm rice.

Dosakai pachadi

1 large garden cucumber, peeled and finely chopped

Paste ingredients:

3 tbsp sesame seeds

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

2 or 3 green chillies

1 tsp of Swad tamarind fruit paste, deseeded

Pinch of turmeric

Salt to taste

Tarka ingredients:

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1-2 dried red chillies, broken into smaller bits

1 tsp of oil

1.  Soak the mustard seeds and sesame seeds in water for a half hour.  Discard the water.  Place all the other paste ingredients in a blender and grind to a fine paste with minimal water.

2.  In a bowl, stir the cucumbers into the paste.  Heat some oil in a small pan and add the tarka ingredients.  Allow the cumin and mustard seeds to sputter, and then pour over the cucumber relish.

Serve at room temperature with warm fragrant rice.