Sunday, June 29, 2008


Puliyodarai or Pulihorai is an Iyengar specialty. Its a tamarind-flavored rice made with peanuts and a basic tempering of spices. It's really very simple if one has the necessary paste on hand. Here's the way we make it at home.

Iyengar Puliyodarai

The Paste

1/4 kg Tamarind Pulp
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 dried red chillies + 20 for adding later
1 tsp turmeric
1 pinch asoefetida
4 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp peppercorn

Soak the tamarind pulp in a water (enough water to cover the pulp). Soak the mixture for 15 minutes. Drain the water and keep separately. Grind the pulp to a thick paste.

In a saucepan, heat some sesame oil. Add a teaspoon of mustard seeds, 2 teaspoons of fenugreek, 2 dried red chillies. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the reserved water, pulp, turmeric and salt. Let it boil for a while until the raw smell of tamarind has disappeared. Add a pinch of asoefetida to the boiling liquid.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, dry roast the coriander seeds and peppercorn. Grind to a fine powder. In the same pan, roast 20 or so dried red chillies and grind to a fine powder.

When the above liquid begins to thicken, add the dry ground spices. Allow the mixture to thicken to a paste. Remove from heat and let cool. You can store this paste for up to a month in the refrigerator and for longer in the freezer.

The Tamarind Rice

1 cup Rice
2 tsp Urad Dal, roasted
2 tsp Channa Dal, roasted
2 tbsp Peanuts, skinned and roasted
1 tsp white Sesame Seeds, roasted and ground

Cook rice with a pinch of turmeric (use the measure 1 cup rice: 3 cups water).
When cooked, cool the rice and add salt and mix.
Add the roasted lentils and peanuts and mix well. Sprinkle with the roasted sesame seed powder.
Add one tbsp of the paste (for every one cup of cooked rice) and mix thoroughly.

This is obviously easier to make if the paste is available. Though the paste is available in most Indian grocery stores, the home made paste is well worth the effort.

Puliyodarai tastes great served with thick plain yogurt.

This is off to dear Sig for the JFI for July featuring Tamarind. JFI is an event featuring different special ingredients and was originally started by Indira of Mahanandi. I loved this month's theme because this age-old recipe is close to my heart and one that we've made in our house for generations.


Lisa Turner said...

I love everything about this recipe. I just had dinner, but I'm hungry again.

Siri said...

Yeh Yeh! the classic 'Puliyodarai'..:) I am a bit lazy .. so get the MTR Mix..thanks for the recipe da!!.


Jamie said...

Arundathi, this rice looks very good. I think you are right...if you make up the paste ahead of time, this rice would be easy to make. I would like to try this, but first will need to track down all the ingredients. Thank you!

DK said...

I luvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv puliyodharai! but then I guess v few dont! Luks yummy! care to send me a parcel ;)

Unknown said...

Arundhati, I had it in one of our friends place and loved it,Thanks for sharing it and I am going to make the paste and let u know.

Srivalli said...

wow anu ..that looks yummy!..I can never be happy with one serving!..:).I just checked on your other posts...all so lovely...will read again later...bread looks much better in the blog..:)))

bha said...

tamarind rice is one of my fav tamilian food, specially the one we get in the temple....

the bread pic are beautiful and the bread has also come out very nice

Baskaran said...

Hello Arundhathi,
Puliodharai served in Koils as Prasadam is divine in taste. We have tasted Puliodharai in our Iyengar friends homes. We were told that te authentic version of Iyengar Puliodharai comprises of two components the paste and the pulidharai mix powder which is added finally. Your version appears to be simple and easy to prepare.The secret of Iyengar version of Puliodharai is the flavour of Ellu mingled with perungayam
Your display of pitures of puliodharai reminds us the Koil Puliodharai. You could also have also included the picture of Puliodharai paste to show its consistency

Arundathi said...

Lisa - :) Not too late to have a "light supper"!

Siri - Yup - I used to get the MTR mix too - the 777 mix is even better, btw.

Jamie - I hope you do find everything - it shouldn't be too hard!

DK - on its way :)

Pearlsofeast - Do let me know - thanks!

Valli - LOL! Thanks!!

Bhags - thanks a lot. yes, this is the temple recipe, i think.

Baskaran - thanks so much for reminding me of the paste - I've updated the post with the photo - hope that helps.

The components are the spice paste, the fresh roasted spices and the rice - thats it - if you have the paste, you don't need the mix powder.

Sunshinemom said...

I made this sometime back and photographed the pulikachal paste in a similar white bowl:) I love it best with appalams! Lovely - a traditional post after a long time!

Ranjani said...

very interesting! I've never made this from scratch, but I bet if I did my mil would be totally impressed- she's a typical puliyodarai eating Iyengar maami!
Thanks for sharing:)

Sujatha said...

Wow, I am drooling at your puliyotharai! Your recipe looks different than mine.. Sure got to try this! thanks for sharing :)

Sig said...

Tamarind rice always make me drool, I've never made it from scratch... but I'm sure the homemade version tastes much better than the packaged ones.. Thank you for this delicious entry dear Arundathi!

Chef Jeena said...

Now this is a rice I could get my spoon right into, it looks so very tasty.

Baskaran said...

The puliodharai concentrate appears to be too thick and dry as displayed in the photo. We have a doubt whether we will be able to blend the paste unformly with rice without making it mushy

Arundathi said...

Thanks, everyone! I love the Iyengar Tamarind Rice- its light and lovely.

Baskaran - actually when you add the paste to the hot rice, there shouldn't be any problem mixing it in. If you find it difficult, you can always mix the tbsp of paste that you are going to add with some hot water to make a slightly thinner paste and then mix it in. I've personally not had a problem mixing in the paste.

Bharti said...

I love this Lemont mandir in Chicago makes and serves this on the weekends. I guessed the ingredients and make a version of it but will surely try your "authentic" recipe next time.

A_and_N said...

Arent Iyengars notorious for NOT sharing their puliyodharai recipes ;) ? But seriously, this looks gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

the puliodharai paste is mouth-watering! thanks for sharing the authentic iyengar recipe

Arundathi said...

Bharti - I hope you'll try it and let me know.

A&N - obviously not all of them! :D

Skribles - You are very welcome!

Veda said...

Hi arundathi,....

what a coincidence....i sent a puliogare entry to JFI too!

Urs looks good too!!!


VanPham said...

Yeah! I love Tamarind, We use a lot in Vietnamese food in the south of Vietnam.