'Puli saatham' , the name itself has the power to make any one drool. There are so many variations in making a puli saatham.
In Tirunelveli (TamilNad, India) ,we call it as Puliyotharai. The main variation is the addition of garlic and its roasted ingredients .Moreover we have the habit of using pure chekku Nallennai otherwise called Virgin Sesame oil for the pulihora and dosai.
After tasting the dosas and Puliyotharai made with that virgin sesame (gingelly) oil we cannot satisfy our taste buds with the branded gingelly oil.
Still I remember the vacations amma and chithi making Puliyotharai for our temple visits. The post brings me the memories of our vacations in Tiruchendur resorts (a beach side village famous for its Lord Murugan Temple) and the long train journeys to Madras:) Mom used to pack the puliyotharai in broiled banana leaves.(Placing the banana leaf over the fire for a few seconds make it flexible to pack food). I have always wondered if the aroma of the puliyotharai comes from the banana leaf or by the gingelly oil:) But now I am sure it is by the love of the person who prepares it:)
Anyways here goes the recipe for Puliyotharai.
Other names: Puliyodharai / Tamarind rice / Puli saatham / Pulihora.
Raw ponni rice (Pacharisi) / Basmati rice - 1.5 cup (300 gm)
Salt - 1 tsp (to taste)
Tamarind - a lemon size ball
Gingelly oil - 4 tbsp (2 tbsp per cup of rice)
Garlic - 10 pearls (must)
Channa dhal - 1 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Unroasted Ground nut - a handful
Cashew nut - 15
Dry red chilly - 4
Curry leaf - a sprig.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida (perungayam)- a pinch
To roast and powder afresh:
fenugreek seed (venthayam) - 1/2 tsp
mustard seed - 1 tsp
oil - 1 tsp
Cooking the rice:
Cook the rice with 1/2 tsp salt and ample water .
Drain the excess water. Spread the cooked rice in a wide plate (thambalam) and let it cool completely.
Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok and fry the fenugreek seed and mustard till we get nice aroma.
Cool and powder it in a hand mortar / blender.
Puli kaachal (Tamarind masala):
Heat 1 tbsp gingelly oil in a wok. Fry the ground nut, cashew nut separately and keep aside.
Again heat the remaining oil in the same wok.
Add mustard, Channa dhal, red chillies (torn into bits),curry leaf , asafoetida and fry well till mustard pops.
Then add the peeled garlic and stir till the garlic starts turning golden.
Extract juice from tamarind using 1 cup of water and pour the juice into the wok.
Now put the Turmeric powder , salt and boil till the oil starts showing.
Then add the freshly grind powder. Turn off heat.
Puli kaachal is ready. We can store it in refrigerator for further use also.
Sprinkle the roasted nuts over the cooked rice.
Add the puli kaachal to the cooked rice little by little and mix well till it tastes good (not too sour).
Puliyotharai is ready!
Keep the remaining gravy refrigerated for further use.
Serve as main course lunch / dinner / breakfast.
Serves 2 adults.
The best side dishes can be the crispy masal vadai and thengai thovaiyal (thick coconut chutney) or simply with potato chips.
It goes well with hard boiled eggs too.
Tamarind rice cooked in this manner can stay fresh for nearly 3 days without refrigerator. So it can be packed as a best packed food for a long journey, if we prefer home made food.
If packed for a long journey , make separate parcels for every time use. Do not mix the touched food along with fresh one. Do not keep coconut chutney for the journey as it will get spoiled soon. Care should be taken not to touch the food with hand / wet spoon while cooking , if we need a long shelf life.