Friday, July 17, 2009


'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.

Puliyotharai powder:
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.

Puliyotharai preparation:

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.

Serving suggestions:
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.


Mangala Bhat said...

wow! nice! mY fav item ..Thanks for the recipe

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Yummy puliyotharai... looks so tempting and mouthwatering

Home Cooked Oriya Food said...

Awesome... tempting...

Raks said...

Yes,you are right,for most of us we start mouthwatering!!And we become nostalgic!I had once with garlic thro my friend,was tasting heaven!!
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Viki,so,if we need the authentic flavour virgin sesame oil may be needed..can understand that..Oh my..and garlic..You know viki,evenif you write lill,i love to read you since it can evoke certain memories..The way you have described about puliyotharai packed in a banana made me nostalgic there..go that homely aroma and flavour..nothing can replace it..The first time i get virgin sesame oil,i am goin to try this..i dont want to disappoint otherwise..bookmarked.Thanks

chef and her kitchen said...

I just love this dearie..But never thought of garlic in this recipe...looks yummy..

ARUNA said...

i love going to temples here bcoz the puliyotharai they serve is so the recipe!!!

Poornima Nair said...

One of my favorite rice varieties, I hog when I go to the temple. Urs looks so yumm.

Anu said...

Wow yummy puliyotharai.... mouth watering....

Srilakshmi said...

Looks so tempting, I want to grab a spoon and attack! Never added Garlic to Puliyotharai before..I remember mom cooking with Sesame Oil as well, tastes great!

chakhlere said...

hey viki this looks amazing!!
Drool worthy!

Gita Jaishankar said...

Nothing the beat the taste of food prepared by our moms :) You have taken me down the memory lane with this post...oh I too love the aroma of rice packed in banana leaf...looks good dear!

Pooja said...

Looks so delicious Vicky :)

Indian Khana said...

U r so rite the name itself makes as drool...looks so gud

Shama Nagarajan said... to have that plate fully.......yummy...

Ann said...

oo!! looks so good Viki :) One of my fav travel food.

Vibaas said...

my all time favorite :-) Tempting!

Chitra said...

Adding garlic is new to me..HAve to try once..Thanks viki for sharing with mouthwatering post!!

Hari Chandana P said...

looks spicy and delicious... thanks for sharing... will try.. :)

Unknown said...

Puliyodharai is my fave of all kalandha sadham..Urs look yummy

Doloncookbook said...

Wow ... Very nice & interesting recipe .
By the way I made tuti fruti at home & came very nice ... Thanks dear for sharing the recipe ...

lissie said...

mouthwatering puliyotharai, dear! your post makes me mom used to make parcels using banana leaves for long journeys...! said...

I love tamarind and so this rice is a winner with me.

Rina said...

Love puliyotharai...thanks for the vivid recipe..

MAGESH said...

Hi viki,
My native place is thirunelveli, i am very happy and interested to watch your blog because you posted our nellai dishes and it is very helpful to me, sukku coffee is my fav, pls post kuttanchoru(mixed veg rice one of the famous dish in nellai)