Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pulikachal - an instant spiced tamarind mix to make Puliyodharai/Tamarind rice in a jiffy

Most South Indians that travel are familiar with this staple that is usually made in large quantities at home before the travel date. When I was a child, the smell of pulikachal being made signified that the summer vacations were about to start. We would board the train, with a small koodai(basket) which held our dinner. Tamarind rice and curd rice, both wrapped in banana leaves from our backyard and then wrapped in a layer of newspaper and tied up with vazha naru( twine from the banana plant) would be placed in the koodai along with a bottle of water. The train had to move barely a few inches before we would start feeling hungry and start opening our packets of food. The smell of rice wrapped in heated banana leaves is truly something that you have to have experienced to understand. Mere words are not enough to describe how incredibly satisfying it is.

Pulikachal, the key ingredient in making puliyodharai/tamarind rice is sold as puliyodharai/puliyogare/tamarind rice mix in stores, but if you have a little bit of time, then it is easy to make at home.

What you need:
Tamarind - 1 lemon sized ball soaked in 2 cups of hot water
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

For the spice powder:
Urad dal - 3 tsp
Red chilli - 7 or 8 (adjust based on your spice tolerance and the spiciness of the chillies used)
Coriander seeds - 3 tsp
Sesame seeds - 2 tsp

For tempering:
Sesame oil - 1/4 cup
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dal - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli - 2, broken
Curry leaves - a sprig
Peanuts - 1/4 cup

Extract thick juice from the soaked tamarind and keep aside.

In a heavy bottomed pan, dry saute the urad dal, coriander seeds and red chilli until the dal turns reddish brown. Add sesame seeds and toast quickly till it starts to pop. Cool, powder and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat oil and add all the tempering ingredients except peanuts. When the mustard seeds pop and the dals turn reddish, add the peanuts and toast for a minute. Add tamarind extract, turmeric powder and salt. Let this boil over a medium flame until it starts to thicken and oil starts separating out from the sides. Switch off heat and add the spice powder. Mix well.
Once it cools completely, store in an air tight container. This can be stored at room temperature for a week and in the refrigerator for up to two months.

To make puliyodharai, add required quantity of pulikachal to cooked, cooled rice and mix well.Adding a spoon or two of sesame oil while mixing it with rice adds to the taste. I also feel that the rice absorbs the flavor of the mix better if it is allowed to sit for at least a few hours after mixing.

This is my entry to Blogging Marathon under the theme Kids' delight - Travel food.

This also goes to  Srivalli's Kids' Delight event guest hosted this month, by me, on the theme Travel Food.


vaishali sabnani said...

Very interesting ! I like your idea of storing this spice mix

Harini R said...

I remember the puliyodarai wrapped in banana leaf. Tastes divine. This masala where you added urad dal is new to me. Shall try out this variation.

Priya Suresh said...

I cant imagine travelling without lemon or tamarind rice, pulikachal is a much and its looks absolutely droolworthy.

Sharmila kingsly said...

I always make this everyone month and store. Such a great recipe.. Love this on a busy day it comes handy.

Unknown said...

I love Tiger rice a lot :D so deliciously made pulikachal and aromatic freshly ground spice mix sounds so yummy .. As harini said I remember my friends bring puliyodharai wrapped in banana leaf, it is heaven with some potato fry and chips.

MySpicyKitchen said...

Yes, I do remember. Long distance travel always meant pulihora, poori aloo and yogurt rice. We don't use the spice mix though. It must give an extra flavor to pulihora

Jyoti Babel said...

I have been meaning to try making tamarind rice. This one looks like a great recipe. will try soon

Srividhya said...

Pulikaichal is part and parcel of my kitchen. Earlier kiddo doesn't prefer it that much. But now it has become his favorite and no wonder it has become staple in our kitchen. Puliodarai wrapped in banana leaf or mandara elai is heavenly. ;-) Love your version and a perfect share for this theme.

cookingwithsapana said...

I just go crazy with the smell of tamarind rice. Love it to the core. Thanks for sharing this mix recipe, I will make a batch real soon.

Suma Gandlur said...

The idea of tamarind rice wrapped in a banana leaf probably brings out nostalgic memories for evrey south Indian away from the homeland, I bet. Your paste and rice both look delicious.

Priya Srinivasan - I Camp in My Kitchen said...

i m drooling!! tamarind rice in banana leaf and newspaper brings back so many memories!! so true, podi idlies and tamarind rice are perfect travel food!!! Looks scrumptious dear!

Suja Ram said...

Pulikaaichal is almost everyone's favourite and its such a life-saver for travels..

Chef Mireille said...

I love tamarind rice - it is a simple yet delicious flavored rice

Sailaja Damodaran said...

Looks yum