Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tamarind Rice ( Puliyogare/ Pulihara/ Puliyodhare)

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi All!

Since the Ganesh Chaturthi and Gowri Pooja came around mid-week, it was a bit crazy and hectic. The mid-week storm, gusty winds and rainy day played truant but did not dampen my spirit. I was happy to find Plantain leaves (Keli Paan), Betel Leaves (Padi Paan) at Indian stores. I found a good bunch of sweet smelling Pink Carnations and Daisies in alluring shades of burgundy, yellow and purple. The fresh flowers adorning nooks and crannies of the pooja corner, scent of floral Agarbattis certainly added a sparkle to the festive atmosphere.

Now, I am not big on sweets neither is the husband. So, I decided to make a simple dish for the festival. It also was a good opportunity to replenish my Puliyogare Gojju stock which was almost over. In India, I never made Puliyogare from scratch and relied on the small North Karnataka store in Rajajinagar near a friend's house which supplies the best Gojju in Bangalore in my opinion. I never knew that the Gojju is available as a ready mix, until my friends Mom introduced me to the store. In US, the small packet of store bought MTR Puliyogare mix seemed a bit bland and more sweet and I enjoy my food when its spicy. Surprisingly, it didn't pique my interest and that's when I decided to make my own Puliyogare Gojju mix. For the longest time, I used Coconut powder (unsweetened) but now have begun using scraped pieces of Copra which are easily available at Indian stores.

I make a small batch of this mix and it comes handy for 5-6 meals. My Ma uses Black Sesame seeds and I use White seeds since I had them handy. The black seeds enable the dark brown color for Gojju. On weekdays when I don't have the energy to cook, I turn to this Gojju for serving a nourishing meal. The good thing is both of us are big fans of Puliyogare, so more reasons to enjoy this dish. Its an extremely portable dish and is our favorite for lunch box.

~ Puliyogare ~
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


Puliyogare Masala Powder -
Copra (grated) or Coconut powder (unsweetened) - 4 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
White/ Black Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
Black Pepper corns - 2 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Chana Dal - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - Just a pinch
Red Chillies (split into two) [Byadgi variety] - 8
*** Dry roast all of the above one by one and then allow to cool.
Grind to a fine powder ***

For Seasoning -
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Chana Dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprig
Red Chillies (split into two) [Byadgi variety] - 2-3
Coconut oil - 1/2 cup
Peanuts - 1/2 cup

Puliyogare Gojju -
Tamarind pulp (very thick) - 1 cup
Jaggery (scraped into bits) - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Puliyogare Masala powder
Seasoning Ingredients


To Make Puliyogare Gojju -
Microwave Peanuts for 3 minutes till they get toasty. Allow to cool till they attain a  crunchy texture. 
In a bowl, add warm water and soak the tamarind for 10 minutes. Extract the thick pulp and remove any fibre, residue from the pulp.
Heat oil and season with mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter, add the Chana Dal, Urad Dal, Red Chillies and Curry leaves. Add the Peanuts now and saute. Be careful and step back as they splutter rapidly once added in hot oil.
Add the Tamarind pulp now, add jaggery bits. The consistency will be thick like a sauce, bring to a boil. Adjust salt, add turmeric and red chilli powder. Once its par-cooked, add the powder mix. The powder absorbs the mixture quickly and the whole mass will come together like a thick chutney. Once oil oozes out, turn off flame. Store in an air-tight non-reactive jar for future use. It has a shelf life of 1 to 1 and 1/2 month.

To Make Puliyogare -
Cook Rice of choice. Heat a pan with little coconut oil, add the rice and mix well. Add the Gojju and mix well (2 tbsp of Gojju mix for 1 cup of cooked rice with 2 tbsp of coconut oil). Add salt only if required. A perfect tasting  Puliyogare is tangy, salty and sweet. Serve warm as a meal on its own.

Note - The Tamarind affects the quality of Gojju made. I use dark variety of Tamarind (the round blob variety) which I get from India. If the Tamarind has impurities, get rid of them before use, else the impurities will seep in, spoiling the Gojju mix. Use Copra if available instead of Coconut powder.

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