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Pulikachal (Mix to make Tamarind Rice / Puliyodharai)

Posted By Vardhini On May 27, 2011 @ 5:45 am In Condiments,Indian,Pongal,Vinayaka Chathurthi | 40 Comments

Pulikachal (Puliyodharai) | Cooks JoyPulikachal is basically a tamarind sauce which is used to make the famous South Indian Puliyodharai (Tamarind Rice). This is the Iyengar style puliyodharai mix. I don’t remember where I bookmarked this recipe from, but it has been in my diary for months and it is a success every time. I usually make this in bulk and it lasts for at least 6 months in the fridge. This recipe also uses half the quantity of oil than the usual pulikachal. Having this mix on hand helps on those lazy days. This is also a perfect food to take on a trip.

Now for the past one month I have been wearing this super woman hat and doing things beyond my strength and time. There was one such day when I was cooking and taking pictures of two dishes simultaneously and one was this Pulikachal. Now we all know how time-consuming it is to take pictures for just one dish. Needless to say by dinnertime I was completely exhausted and was muttering that I should be sensible next time which was when the golden words popped out of K’s mouth. He had just finished his puliyodharai and looked up and told me “this is the best puliyodharai ever”. K is not the person who compliments often and those words made the whole day’s work worthwhile for me. He also went a step ahead and asked me in a worried tone “you did make a note of what you did to recreate right”. At this point I was blushing and told him .. “Do you remember I have a blog now and this goes to it”.

Anyway some  moments are really sweet and stand out. Well enough of my rambling .. let us start cooking.

1 medium apple size tamarind soaked in warm water (roughly had 3.5 cups of juice extracted)
1/4 cup salt
5 oz oil (A little more than 1/2 cup. Gingelly oil is preferred)
1 tbsp turmeric

Dry roast and grind
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup coriander seeds
1/2 cup channa dal
15 red chillies
2 tsp fenugreek seeds


1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp urad dal
10 red chillies
1 tbsp asafoetida
1/4 cup curry leaves
1/2 cup raw groundnut

Yields : 4 cups of mix.

Soak the tamarind in warm water.

Dry roast sesame seeds, coriander seeds, channa dal and red chillies one by one.

Take care while frying fenugreek as the whole dish is spoilt if it burns.

Ingredients waiting to be ground.

Grind all the ingredients together in a blender to a powder.

Heat the oil and add the red chillies. Fry until the chillies turn black.

Next add all the remaining seasoning ingredients (mustard seeds, urad dal and asafoetida). Then add the extracted tamarind juice. Act fast since the oil is hot and the dals will burn otherwise.

Let the mix boil for around 15 minutes. Then add the turmeric powder and salt. I would suggest to add just 1/2 or 3/4 of the quantity of salt mentioned and do a taste test and then add the remaining salt if needed. Simmer for few minutes.

Now add the ground powder little by little stirring constantly.

Stop when the mix is almost thick. Remember it thickens more on cooling and we do not want to end with a dry powder finally. I only had about 2 tsp of powder left. See how it is nice and thick.

Meanwhile heat about a tsp of oil and fry the peanuts and curry leaves.

Add the fried curry leaves and peanuts to the mix.

Almost there. Mix well. Kitchen smells heavenly at this point :)

Let it cool and then store in glass bottle. Yields around 4 cups of mix.

To make the puliyodharai rice :
Cook rice separately and let it cool. We want the grains to be separate. Once cooled add the pulikachal and mix gently. Quantity of mix depends on how tangy you like. Puliyodharai is generally served with potato fry or papad.


The first pic was uploaded on 5/5/2013.

1. Increase the quantity of peanuts if needed.
2. More peanuts can be added to the rice when mixing with pulikachal.

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