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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Puliogare - Iyengar style

Pulihodarai /pulihora/ Puliogare is among my favorites. I am sure that every South Indian would love a traditional Style puliodarai anyday. I love all the four variations in the recipe - Telugu, Iyengar and the typical tamil styles. Though the recipe sounds and looks the same on the whole, we do have subtle variations.

The Iyengar style recipe is considered the most authentic. I wanted to do a post, but then met a very talented blogger - Veda. One look at her food blog, and I decided to request het to do a guest post. I loved her writing style and her approach to creating a very descriptive post. Veda's Iyengar's Kitchen has a great collection of authentic Iyengar style recipes and snippets for the kitchen. I was touched to see that she had dedicated her food blog to her Paati (Grandmother). This talented lady also blogs - Kai Kriye, where she shares her artistic creations including crafting, painting, and decor ideas. I was happy when she obliged and sent her recipe to be featured on Avial and Rasam.

Presenting her very well written recipe with equally appetizing pictures!
Veda's Iyengar Puliogare 

The quantity of the paste what you get from the below mentioned ingredients can be stored for a year in a good, tight container. It roughly fills up a 700 ml container.
Dark Tamarind – 1½ cups (darker the tamarind, better it is, because it gives that extra dark brown color to the ogare)
Oil - ½ cup
Mustard seeds – 1 tspn
Curry leaves – 3 strands
Asafoetida (Hing) - ½ tspn
Red chillies (Preferably byadigi variety) – 8
Rasam powder – 8 tbl spns
Salt – According to taste
Jaggery – 2 blocks

Ingredients required for mixing the rice with the Gojju to make puliogare:

The quantity of ingredients given here are for the amount of rice mentioned. It may vary according to your taste and quantity of rice.
Cooked Rice – 2 cups (separate the grains by spreading it on a large plate)
Oil - ½ cup
Mustard seeds – 1 tspn
Curry leaves – 4-5 strands
Asafoetida (Hing) – ½ tspn
Ground nuts– Quarter cup
Grated Dry coconut – 2 tbl spns
Pulioyogare gojju or concentrate prepared earlier – 3 tbl spns
Salt to taste

Powders for seasoning:Black Sesame seeds (Ellu in kannada and Til in hindi) – 1½ tbl spns (don’t add too much, although it enhances the flavors….it might get bitter if added in a large quantity)
Peppercorns – 1 tspn
Coriander seeds – 1 tbl spn
Rasam powder – 2 – 3 tbl spns

Preparation: Steps 1- 13 are how to make the gojju or the paste and Steps 14 – 18 how to mix the concentrate with rice.

Step 1, 2 and 3: Soak the tamarind previous night in little water (about 2½ cups of water). Next day extract the juice of the tamarind by grinding it in a blender. Blend it to a smooth paste and sieve it as shown in Step 3. Extract as much as possible. Step 2 is just to show how much jaggery is required for 1½ cups of tamarind. 

Step 4: In a large deep bottomed pan, take Oil, add mustard (allow spluttering), curry leaves, asafoetida, red chillies. Fry and add the tamarind paste extract. Allow it to boil.

Step 5: Add rasam powder once it boils. Reduce the flame. Keep it at Low. This is a very important step because the more it boils in a lower flame chances are it doesn’t get burnt. This step is also important because the whole idea of a concentrated paste is to allow it to concentrate slowly.
Step 6: Picture taken after 15 mins of boiling. Note how slowly the paste is getting concentrated. That’s the way typically puliogare gojju is prepared.

Step 7: Add salt and jaggery and continue to stir.

Step 8: We observed that we required more jaggery. How did we do that? Well tasted it of course!!!!

Again let me highlight this. It’s very important to taste it in between to check for the variations in the taste (less or more). Try imagining this! We want a combination of tanginess, spicyness and sweetness all in the above order. So try tasting and check what you need to add whether it is chilli powder or salt or jaggery. Try adding small portions. This way, you can be rest assured that you are not adding too much to mess up the taste. 
 Step 9, 10 and 11: Remember each picture taken here is after every 10 mins approximately. So the whole boiling process is about 1hr and 15 mins. That’s how long it should be boiled on a low flame to get the paste of desired consistency.

Steps 12 and 13: This picture is taken to show my readers just how the consistency should be. When you lift the ladle, the paste has to slowly fall back in to the pan. Again pictures are taken after every 10 mins. I wanted to time the whole process because it’s important for us to know just how long the boiling process is done.

After Step 13, you get a paste which is ready to be mixed with rice. At this point you can just store the whole paste if you are not going to mix with rice right away. The gojju or the paste can be kept in refrigerator up to one year. This is also one of the main reasons you have to boil for a long time because the shelf life is also longer.

If you plan to use the paste say after 1 month or more, the day you intend to use it keep the stored box out of the fridge and allow it come back to room temperature. (This will aid you in mixing with the rice more easily).

But if you plan to use the paste immediately proceed in the following way:

Step 14: Cook rice and separate the grains on a large plate. First wash the black sesame seeds, dry them well on paper towel. Fry them without oil in a small pan and when it splutters lightly, switch off the flame. Fry the coriander seeds and black peppercorns as well and grind them all together. Add this powder to the rice.

Step 15: Add grated dry coconut and rasam powder.

Step 16: Add the gojju (concentrated puliyogare paste prepared earlier)  

Step 17: Mix the rice with all the above powders and gojju first. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO MIX IT WITH HANDS. This is because all the flavors and the paste used get coated nicely on the rice. Then add the seasonings mentioned below.

Step 18: Take Oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, ground nuts and allow them to splutter. Add this tempering to Rice. Taste it and add anything that’s less like salt, jaggery, etc...

Important Points:

Tamarind – Darker the better. Infact when we prepared, we weren’t able to get darker tamarind so that’s why the color is lesser. The original color of puliyogare has to be dark brown.

Red Chillies – The kind of red chillies we use is less spicy and gives more color. So that’s the reason we add the chillies and the rasam powder in large quantities. However not always can one find the same kind of chilli. So check for the spiciness of chillies that you use at home and then reduce or increase their number.

Rasam powder – It’s the base of a good puliyogare. Again we make this at home, so that it’s as authentic as possible. Many people prepare different kinds of rasam powders, so definitely the taste varies while mixing it in puliyogare. However you can always make a small batch of fresh rasam powder provided in the rasam powder link.

Black Sesame seeds – Always try to get a freshly manufactured packet. Because if it’s old and slightly smelly it could ruin your puliyogare. One very important point of black sesame seeds is that taste it before you use it in your puliogare. Because sometimes they can be bitter. If it’s bitter then don’t use it.

I know there are many people who are working and have kids to manage. Life can get busy when many such commitments are to be fulfilled. For such people, I would suggest to them to get the authentic iyengar puliyogare gojju mix from the condiment stores and try this with the rest of my preparation steps. I am not promising them that it will taste as authentic as the one mentioned above. However, you are still making an effort to make home puliyogare with the available ingredients.

My sincere suggestion to all my readers “Please experiment at least once with the above authentic recipe along with the gojju and you will never look back”!!!

It might take a while for one to master this, but then one has to start somewhere to get some practice right???? So there you go, I have revealed the most sought after recipe of Iyengars. Not that you haven’t seen many recipes of puliyogare on the net. But just that this one is from the IYENGAR’S KITCHEN.

Veda has inspired me to work on my style and methods to post a recipe. I have decided to create a blogroll to include vegetarian bloggers across the world, and Veda's blog is the first to be added to my food bloggers' list. Hope you enjoyed the post as much as I did compiling it. I am planning to make puliogare / tamarind rice this weekend.

Content and Pictures courtesy: Veda Murthy - Iyengar's Kitchen. I am sure you will love her blog and work as much as I do.


  1. This is Awesome. Beautiful and a yummy post.You made things so simple and clear. Would love to try my hands on this one. Slurp....Great work. Keep it up.

  2. Hi suman
    I too loved how descriptive Veda is with her posts!! :)...I am so glad u liked the post and the try it out and send in a picture.

    luv sudha

  3. Very glad to see you in my blog Sudha and thank you so much for those lovely comments and adding me in your blogroll. Puliogare yummmm my favorite too and great job you have done nice post....

  4. Thank you Rekha...I need to pass on this compliment to Veda. It is a guest contribution from her for Avial and Rasam. :)

  5. hi sudha!!!!i had never seen ur post about my blog. this has definitely inspired me to come back n start food blogging again in full swing! ur post made my day!!!!have a wonderful year ahead


  6. hey Veda
    thanks for the visit and ur lovely comment...i do expect to see more on ur food blog in the new year...


  7. hey Sudha...i have never has this puliodarai...and was so delighted to see a detailed recipe and one more talented blogger here :)



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