Sunday, February 9, 2014

Puliodharai - Tamarind rice

The tangy, spicy Puliodharai is a special meal. It reminds me of the long travels, school day lunch boxes, temple prashadham , all my sister’s pregnancy J………

I could proudly say that my mom makes the best puliodharai I have ever tasted. There were lots of fans for her puliodharai among my friends and my sister’s friends. I used to pester my mom so much to make me puliodharai atleast once a week. I will finish my lunch and come home and still ask her to give me puliodharai for dinner. And my son is just like me. He loves Puliodharai and is very happy if I pack it for lunch.

Puliodharai taste the best when it is served a few hours after it is made.  So when you are thinking of packing some food for the next trip/travel make sure you pack puliodharai. You can just eat it plain or with some chips and it makes an awesome meal.

Puliodharai is also served as prashadh in lot of temples in Chennai. In the temples they used to distribute the rice in the disposable bowls made of leaves (we call it as “Dhonnai”). Also whenever we have some pooja at home puliodharai is one of the food always served to guests.

So when I saw the event announcement for cooking a main dish in the "Cook Click n devour' site here. I wanted to send this recipe for the event. 


It is very simple to make them at home. Just give it a try and let me knowJ


For the paste/Pulikachal:
½ cup of Tamarind
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon sesame/gingelly oil
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
5 dried red chilies
A handful of curry leaves
Pinch of hing
Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water for at least 15 minutes. Then squeeze out the thick pulp and keep aside. In a pan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, once the seeds start to splutter add the curry leaves and the red chilies. Then add the tamarind pulp, salt, hing and turmeric powder. Cook this until the raw of smell of the tamarind disappears and the oil starts separating. Let the paste cool and you can store the paste for a week if refrigerated. This way you can make the tamarind paste/pulikachal when you find time and use it during the week days for making puliodharai.
The smell of the paste when it is getting cooked is so good, that you will start drooling automatically.

For spice mix/powder:
2 tablespoon channa dhal
2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon Methi/fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seed
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
6 dried red chilies
2 sprigs of curry leaves
Pinch of hing
Dry roast all the ingredients listed above separately in a pan until the raw smell disappears. Let them cool down completely then grind into a coarse powder using a spice grinder or an Indian Mixie. Store the spice powder in an air tight container for up to a month. This spice powder can be used in a variety of other recipes too. So I usually double the ingredients and make the powder. It comes handy for a lot of recipesJ

Making Tamarind rice
2 cups basmati rice
3 cups of water

For tempering:
1 tablespoon Sesame/Gingelly oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
5 dried red chilies
¼ cup Peanuts
2 tablespoon channa dhal

Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes. Then cook the rice along with the water. Once the rice is cooked, transfer the rice into a big plate/tray and let it cool. Meanwhile in a separate pan, heat the oil for tempering. Once the oil is hot enough add the cumin seeds, curry leaves, red chilies and hing. Then add the peanuts and roast them for another 2 minutes. Now add the channa dhal and roast them until they turn golden. Remove from the flame and let it cool.
Once the rice and tempering comes to the room temperature, add the tempering to the rice along with the pulikachal/tamarind paste. Also add 1 teaspoon of the spice mix/powder and mix them all together gently without breaking the rice. You can taste the rice at this stage and add more salt or the spice powder accordingly if needed. Now pack them or serve them along with some fried pappad/chips and enjoy.

There are days when my son suddenly gets a craving for tamarind rice and asks me to pack it for the next day’s lunch. Usually on those occasions I wake up in the morning and make the Pulikachal, Spice powder and then make the tamarind rice. Even though it looks a bit time consuming, it doesn’t take much time or effort. 

-- Sang V

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