Puliyodarai (puliyogare) immediately takes me back to our annual train journey from wherever my father was stationed to our hometown Srirangam. We always carried idli and milagai podi for breakfast, parathas and tayir sadam for lunch, and dinner was puliyodarai and tayir sadam. And what a puliyodarai my mother made!

Here is her recipe.

Tamarind (size of two tennis balls)
Channa dal (கடலை பருப்பு) – 2 tbsp
Urad dal (உளுத்தம் பருப்பு) – 2 tbsp
Dried red chillies – 12
Asafoetida powder (பெருங்காயம்) – 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds (கடுகு) – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Gingelly (Sesame) Oil – 1/2 cup

Ingredients for pulikachal


Soak tamarind in water and extract all the juice (upto 3 cups). Put oil in kadai, heat and pop mustard seeds, chillies and the dals. When the dals turn golden brown, add asafoetida and the tamarind juice. Allow to boil till it thickens, stirring frequently. Add salt. When it becomes a thick paste and the oil separates, remove the pulikachal from the heat and set aside.

Puliyodarai powder 
Coriander seeds (கொத்துமல்லி விதை) – 2 tbsp
Channa dal – 2 tbsp
Black pepper (whole) – 1 tsp
Methi seeds (வெந்தையம் விதை) – 1/4 tsp 
Dried red chillies – 2
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp


Dry roast all of the above and grind coarse.

Ingredients for puliyodarai powder

Gingelly oil – 4 tbsp
Raw peanuts – 1/2 cup
Long grained rice – 2 cups
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Methi seed powder (வேந்தையம் பொடி) – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 15
Salt – to tast


Fry the peanuts in 2 tbsp oil and set aside. 
Cook rice in slightly less than usual amount of water, so that it is fluffy. Transfer to a large mixing bowl while hot and add turmeric powder, methi seed powder, curry leaves, peanuts and remaining oil. Allow to cool, then add 3 tbsp of the pulikachal, 2 tbsp of the puliyodarai powder and salt. Mix gently until it is distributed evenly.

The remaining paste and powder can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 months.

Serves 5-6 people.

Rice with pulikachal and puliyodarai powder, ready for mixing

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