Posts Tagged ‘Iyengar Pulikaichal’

What’s cooking? Well, a dozen recipes and more….

Saturday, August 10th, 2013

Well, a lot has been happening at home though I have not posted much. Just to name a few, I went back to school for sometime, been studying and working and also taking my son to his favorite activities etc., etc., Luckily my mom was here to put up with all of my stress and she took care of me and the cooking(talk about a treat!!).

I did take pictures of her recipes right from milagu kozhzmbu, parupusili, thavalai adai, home made idiyappam, pulikaichal, ennai kathirikkai kara kozhambu, appams,Kozhukattais, aloo stuffed peppers etc etc., But I had no time to post it. Actually my new year resolution was to post one recipe a week and I did post a couple for the first three months, so I guess it balances out.

Here are a few I want to share:
– My son now expects me to cook like her(!!!). She made alphabet dosa’s, animal shaped dosa’s, sunflower dosai’s for him for lunch with an array of chutneys in his lunch box that I even got a call from his teacher who was amazed by mom’s food art. Needless to say, he loved eating the same old dosas with a new twist.


– And I felt like a little kid too, with her packing my breakfast and lunch box every day with different items! When I came home, dinner was done, all the chores were done and all I had to do was to play with my son, eat dinner and go to sleep!

Some of the recipes I will be posting in the coming days will be

-Mint rice with fried potatoes
-Egg curry
-Wedding pulao
-Thavalai adai
-Home made idiyappams
-Soft and fluffy stove top rotis

I am starting off with Pulikaichal(Tamarind gravy? Sauce??). This is very typical Iyer/Iyengar comfort food. I know this is old stuff, but sometimes old recipes are the ones we yearn for, don’t we? I often felt like, my mom made this on xyz occasion- wish I was there now, so why not pulikaichal first?

Mom says Iyers use dry chilies or chili powder while Iyengar version is roasted pepper and cumin.

Ingredients: To make a thick 100g paste of Pulikaichal, you will need:

Channa(Chick peas) – about a handful, soaked in water for 5-6 hours.
Tamarind paste- 2 tsp
Coriander seeds- 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp
Dry chilies-4 to 5 and green chilies 1-2 or 1/2 tsp red chili power
Ginger- 1 inch piece, chopped finely
Curry leaves- one sprig
Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp
Sesame Oil- 4 tsp
Chana dal and Urad dal- 1/2 tsp each
Peanuts 1-2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Optional-Turmeric powder


Soak the dry chickpeas in water for 5-6 hours, then drain the water, pat the chickpeas dry with a paper towel. Set aside.

Dry roast the coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds to a golden brown color, let it cool down and powder it as a fine powder. Set aside.

Heat oil in the pan(kadai, preferably), add mustard seeds- when it splutters add dry chilies(and green chilies if you are adding them or red chili powder), saute well, add chopped ginger, asafoetida, urad dal, chana dal ,curry leaves and then chick peas and pea nuts and roast to a golden brown color.

Mix tamarind paste in 1/2 cup water, pour it into the kadai. Let the mixture simmer for 20-25 minutes. If you add more water it will take a long time for it to reduce down and thicken.

When the oil separates out after about 20 minutes, add the dry roasted coriander and fenugreek powder and the pulikaichal will come together. Mix well. Add salt now(not when it is boiling). Transfer it to a clean, dry bottle or container and let it cool down. Always add salt at the end for pulikaichal.

My mom said she did not add excessive oil as she wanted it to be thick and stay in my refrigerator for a long time. If you like, you can add 1 tbsp oil more. She also says turmeric powder is not needed, but if you want, add it along with the chilies.

Thats all! Store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

When you need tamarind rice: Cook basmati rice and let it cool down. Add about a tsp of this pulikaichal, 1 tsp of sesame oil, a pinch of salt and mix it well.

You can do the same for rice noodles too.