Pulikaachal | Puliyodharai Recipe


One of the must have bring back when I am coming back from India. I had been working hard to bring it close to my mother’s flavor so I can savor this even in her absence. The best part I like in the pulikaachal recipe is the flavor of sesame seed (Ellu) coming through the rice. This would be excellent choice for lunch boxes.

Please make the pulikaachal with the actual tamarind and not the tamarind paste, because it makes a big difference in the taste. Again I am very excited to share my mother’s recipe with all you. Please let me know your feedback.


Preparation time – 10 mins
Cooking time – 1 hr
Difficulty level – intermediate


Ingredients to make Pulikaachal – (Makes around 2 pints or in the Tamil way 2 horlicks bottle full)

  • Puli (tamarind) – Big orange ball size
  • Channa dal (Kadalai paruppu) – 1/3 cup
  • Urad dal (Ullutham paruppu) – 1 tbsp
  • Red chilies – around 20 (adjust this based on your spice level)
  • Sesame oil (Nalla ennai) – ½ cup
  • Methi seeds (menthayam) – 3 tbsp
  • Jaggery (vellam) – 1/4th cup
  • Peanuts (roasted) – ½ cup (adjust based on your liking)
  • White sesame seeds (ellu) – 4 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder (Manchal podi) – 1 tsp
  • Asafetida (Perungayam) – ½ tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Curry leaves (karuveppilai) – few

Procedure to make Pulikaachal  –

  • Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of hot water for about 4 hrs. Squeeze the juice from the tamarind and extract it. Do the same thing again with about a cup of water and extract the juice. Keep this aside.
  • Dry roast the sesame seeds and powder it finely.
  • In about 2 tsps of oil fry the red chilies, channa dal, urad dal, menthiyam and perungayam. Let it cool down a bit and then grind it into a coarse powder.
  • In a deep pan, add the sesame oil (Gingelly oil). Add the mustard seeds, Asafetida, turmeric powder. Once the mustard seed splutter, add the extracted tamarind water. Let it boil well. Then add the curry leaves.
  • Once the tamarind water has reduced to about half its quantity, add the coarsely ground spice powder. Boil for about 10 more mins. You will notice that once the spice powder is added the tamarind water thickens. At this point add the salt and then the jaggery.
  • Once the pulikachal has reached a semi solid stage add the ellu powder and mix well. Switch off the flame and let it cool down to room temperature. Now add the peanuts and mix well.
  • Store the pulikaachal in airtight container in the refrigerator. If stored well, it will be good for about a month in the refrigerator. Ensure that you don’t introduce any moisture into the pulikachal for it to stay for a long time.

Tips for mixing riceCook the rice and let it cool down. Add a little sugar (about ½ tsp) first to the rice and then add the pulikachal and mix evenly. Add ghee or gingelly oil when mixing the rice to increase the flavor.  Adjust the salt to your taste.

Notes and observation

  • Use tamarind instead of tamarind pulp for better flavor.
  • I use the roasted and slightly salted peanut (planters) and it works great.
  • Make sure that you don’t use wet hands when using the pulikachal, because that could introduce unwanted moisture into the container and cause it to spoil soon.

Enjoy the mother’s flavor even in the absence of her !!!

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