Instant Puliogere Mix


Puliodarai podi

Puliodarai (known across the nation more popularly as Tamarind rice)  is a must in temples, as travel food, in weddings and other social events.

Pulikachal the sauce that forms the base for this rice is a bit laborious ans has to be prepared with planning .  Fresh pulikachal certainly has its aroma and place but often for those in a hurry who need it as a fast food alternative an instant mix with all the merits of pulikachal is a boon. Commercially available mix of various brands are there in the market but home-made mix has its place and retains all the flavors and taste of the moist sauce. This mix can come handy at anytime when in a hurry and can be stored for at least a month at room temperature if no coconut is added as in Karnataka style.



Tamarind  small ball about the size of a lemon

Dry red chilies 10 (preferbly the long variety)

Peppercorns 1 tsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Fenugreek ½ tsp

Coriander seeds 2 tbsp

Sesame 1½ or 2 tbsp

Chana dal  1 tbsp

Urad dal 1 tbsp

Jaggery shavings 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder  1 tsp

Salt 1 tbsp

For tempering

Oil 1 tsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Peanuts  2 tbsp

Asafotida ½ tsp

Salt ¼ tsp


  • Dry roast the sesame seeds in a wok till it starts spluttering and transfer to a plate to cool it.
  • Add a drop or two of oil in the same wok and roast the chilies on low flame till the aroma surfaces.
  • Transfer to a plate to cool and add the fenugreek seeds  to the wok and roast for a minute on low flame. Add the peppercorns to the wok followed by cumin seeds and when you start getting the aroma of pepper add the  lentils and roast till it starts turning golden in color. Transfer to  a plate and in the same wok roast the coriander seeds just enough to get the dry look and releases aroma;  transfer to the mix in the plate.
  • Now is the turn for tamarind to get a complete dry condition by flipping it in the wok for a minute or two. Add it to the chili plate and cool.
  • Blitz the chili and tamarind to get a coarse powder as they take longer to get powdered. Add the remaining roasted ingredients, salt, and turmeric powder and powder to fine state. Add jaggery shavings and run the blender for a few seconds.

This powder can be stored for a few weeks in an airtight container and used when needed.

  • For those who prefer to add the tempering to the mix before storing heat the oil in a wok and let the  mustard seeds splutter.  Add the peanuts, asafotida ad salt and roast till the peanuts are done and crunchy. Add the tempering to the mix and  and mix well.

Puliodarai mix is ready for use. To make puliodarai refer to Melakotai puliodarai given in the blog.


Puliyodarai made with the mix has a flavor its own and close to the Melkottai puliyodarai


Chef’s Note

  • In case you want get the Karanatka flavor roast a tablespoon of coconut grate or desiccated coconut till crisp and  blitz along with jaggery.  However, do remember to store in the refrigerator as coconut does not have long shelf-life.

Sambar Powder


I wonder whether this post is the best beginning for the year 2017. I guess what matters is to resume blogging and with something that the girls feel needed!

For a long time I used to go with the proportions based on Meenakshi Ammal and get the spices ground in the shop and manage for a few months. With the consumption being less, I realize the flavor is lost after a couple of months and I decide to scale down the quantity and pulverize the spices at home.  The texture is not as fine as commercially powdered sambar podi but the flavor is so fresh and fills the place with aroma.
I manage to make about 250 g of powder in place of 1.5 kg I used to make earlier ans find it convenient. Although the main post is for home-made podi, for those who need a larger quantity  the proportion is listed in Notes.

Often my sambar podi serves as Rasam podi too as I add cumin seeds in tempering and flavor with peep powder to avoid making separate rasam powder.


Dried red chili 100 g (long variety preferred)

Coriander seeds 100 g

Peppercorn 1 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds  1 tsp

Chana dal 1 tbsp

Arahar dal 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder 1 tbsp



  • Heat a wok and keeping it on a low flame dry roast fenugreek seeds As it starts changing color add the peppercorn and rast till the aroma starts wafting. Transfer to a plate
  • Dry roast the lentils  in the same wok till the color starts changing and transfer to the same plate.
  • roast the coriander seeds till it feels crisp but not too long and do not wait for color change. Average of two to three minutes should be good.
  • Roast the chilies now till the chilies feels dry and crisp in a minute or two
  • Blend the chilies in the mixie till they are flaky. Add the remaining ingredients at room temperature and blitz till you get the finest powder.
  • Add the turmeric powder to wards the end and blend to mix
  • Let the spice powder cool completely before transfer to airtight container.



Chef’s Note

  • For powder in a larger quantity, I use  the rhizome of turmeric and sun dry the chilies and corinder seeds.
  • All other ingredients including turmeric are dry roasted.

Red chilies  500 g

Coriander seeds  500 g

Peppercorn 100 g

Turmeric 100 g

Fenugreek seeds 50 g

Chana dal 100 g

Arahar dal 200 g

When done commercially, you can get a fine powder.


Rasam Powder


Rasam powder is one of the core ingredients of most rasams unless one were to vary the basic powder with varied spicing as in pepper rasam, for instance. Although many branded powders are available in the market home-made powder has its edge over commercially available spices!


Red Chilies           100 g

Coriander seeds     150 g

Pepper corns   50 g

Cumin seeds 50 g

Arahar dal (split pigeon pea)   50 g

Turmeric powder 30 g (1 tbsp)


  • Place a wok over low flame and dry roast pepper and cumin seeds for 2 minutes. Just as the aroma is released transfer to a platter and allow it to cool.
  • In the same wok dry roast the chilies till it feels crisp. Remove after a minute or two and ensure that the color does not change. transfer to the platter.
  • Roast the coriander seeds again just enough to ensure it is dry and crisp. Transfer to the platter.
  • Roast the dal now till the color starts changing and you get the aroma of roasted dal as will be seen in 3 minutes or so.
  • Transfer the cooled ingredients along with turmeric powder to a blender and powder it fine. Transfer the powder to an airtight container. It can be store for many months.

Chef’s Note

When done on a large scale I prefer to use rhizome of dry turmeric  in place of powder and roast it a little.

When sufficient sunlight is available, it  is preferable to sun dry the chillies and coriander seeds than roast them.

Tamarind Paste

Imli paste



A ready stock of tamarind comes handy in many preparations such as Sambahr, kuzhambu, rasam, puli kaachal when you are in a hurry or even as additive for sour taste in place of amchur (mango powder) in stir-fry  dishes.  An urge for chutneys as khatta-meetha chutney, imli ka chutney can also be quickly made when t he paste is on hand. A well spent time of 15 minute to 20 minutes goes a long way up to a month easily, that is. if the stock does not get over  by then! I always store a bottle of this pulp on hand, but it somehow didn’t occur to me that I should post this in the blog until I decided to do this Rasam series.


Seedless tamarind 250 g (1 cup)

Water 1 cup


  • Take the tamarind scale in a metallic bowl and add about one-third cup of water. Place the bowl in a pressure cooker and steam it for two whistles.
  • On cooling blitz the soaked tamarind to make a paste.
  • Transfer to a colander and mash it with your fingers to bring out as much pulp as possible.  If the pulp is too thick to pass through the sieve add some water from the remaining two-thirds cup  to filter as much pulp as possible. The pulp collected with 2/3  cup of water is as thick as what is shown below. The fiber left behind is just about the size of a marble

  • Collect the pulp in a wide thick- bottomed pan and thcken it on a low flame for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a bottle on cooling and can be stored for about a month.


  • A measure of 1 tbsp of pulp equals  the extract from a lemon-sized ball of tamarind.
  • If you are at leisure, you can soak the tamarind in a bowl and leave it overnight in the refrigerator and skip stemin in the pressure cooker.
  • Needs no additive as salt or oi as the acidity of the pulp preserves it

Imli paste

Paruppu podi (Spiced lentil powder)


Paruppu podi, a  roasted and spiced lentil powder is a common accompaniment with hot rice laced with ghee in many South Indian households even today. A handy powder has its variations with different states. The Andhrites love it with garlic whereas the Karnataka folks use desiccated coconut in the powder. A typical Tamilian household uses arahar dal, red chillies, and peppercorns in the powder. I make mine with roasted Bengal gram and cumin added to the basic ingredients.  Often dry roasted curry leaves are also added in th spice.


Arahar dal 1 cup

Roasted gram  (Pottu kadalai)  ½ cup

Dried Red Chilli  6

Pepper corn ½ tsp

Cumin seeds ½ tsp

Asafotida 1 pinch

Salt 1 tsp


  • On a low flame, in a heavy-bottomed wok dry roast the chilies. As it starts giving the aroma add the pepper corns and cumin seeds and keep roasting by stirring with a wooden spatula till cumin releases aroma. Transfer to a platter.
  • In the same wok dry roast arahar dal and as  the color changes to golden brown add asafotida and roast for for 30 seconds.  Transfer to the platter containing the other ingredients.
  • After switching off the flame, dry heat the salt in the remaining heat of the wok and add to the platter.
  • .Transfer the ingredients to a blender and blitz till you get a coarse powder. Add the pottu kadali to the mix in t he blender and blitz to a fine powder.
  • Transfer and store the powder in an airtight container.
  • Has shelf-life for at least a month.

Chef’s note:

You can add a different taste by taking equal amounts of moong dal and arahar dal instead of plain arahar dal.



Dosai Milaga Podi



Red chillies  100 g

White sesame seeds 100 g

Urad dal  200 g (1½ cups)

Chana dal 100 g (¾ cup)

Tamarind 4 to 5 scales (areca-sized ball)

Salt 2 tbsp

Sugar 2 tsp


  • Roast  sesame in a pan on low flame till it starts turning brown.  Transfer to a plat e and let it cool.
  • Add a few drops of oil to the pan and roast the chillies on low flame till the chilli starts swelling up and aroma wafts along.  Cool the chillies to room temperature in a plate. Roast the tamarind scale in the pan and add to chillies.
  • Add the two dals to the pan and roast them dry till the color starts changing and add the rock salt/table salt and let it get dry.  Cool it to room temperature.
  • When all ingredients have cooled to room temperature, blitz sesame to a fine powder and transfer to a plate. Transfer the chillies and tamarind to the blender and blitz it to powder. As the chilli may still be in a flaky form add half the dal and powder finely. Transfer to the plate with sesame.
  • Transfer the remaining dal to the blender, add sugar and grind to a coarse powder. Transfer to the remaining mix and mix well. Store in air tight bottles

Makes two bottles of podi.

Chef’s Note: If you like asfotida flavor in podi, roast ¼ tsp asafotida powder along with dal.

Pudina podi



pudina podi

Very often spice powders come handy  for flavoring or for a quick mix and bite when in a hurry. Mint by itself is a herb  with an overpowering flavor that can be felt for miles!

A small addition of this spice powder has a way of enhancing the veggies taste and flavor immensely. It can be divine when mixed with steaming rice along with a dollop of ghee or oil.


Mint leaves   2 cups

Red chillies 10

Tamarind  3 or 4 scales

Chana dal   ½ cup

Urad dal     ½ cup

Salt  1 tsp (heaped )


  1. Wash the mint leaves well,  drain out all water, and spread them on a cloth, paper towel, or newspaper to remove all moisture.  Place the leaves on a plate and leave them in bright sunlight for the leaves to dry. It may take about a few hours or two days depending on the heat intensity.
  2. When the leaves feel dry and crisp powder them finely using a blender.
  3. Roast the chillies (if need be use a few drops of oil) till the color changes and you get an aroma.
  4. Roast the tamarind scales, add salt and roast till dry. Add them to roasted chillies and blend to get coarse powder,
  5. Roast the dals till it turns golden in color. Cool them and transfer to the powder in the blending jar and blend to get a fine powder.
  6. Transfer the powdered ingredients to a dry bowl and add the powdered mint also and mix well.  Store in an airtight container.  If all ingredients are dry and moisture free stays good  even up to a month at room temperature.