Pulikachal is a tangy tamarind (puli in Tamil) sauce. This is an ideal side dish for Molagootal, Thair Sadam, Idly and Dosai. Also, you could simply mix a few spoons of this sauce with plain rice and have it as Puliyumsamdam. Pulikachal has a good shelf life. It can easily stay good for a week to 10 days. It comes in handy on those really lazy days when you just don’t feel like entering the kitchen.
Until recently, I never ventured into making pulikachal, as I was quite apprehensive about making it. I always felt that Pulikachal is for seasoned cooks like my mom and mom in law to make. Whenever Pulikachal was on our day’s menu, I would be out of the kitchen. But as this academic year started, I had no other choice but to start making this since Puliyhari as it is called here in Andhra was on my daughter’s Monday Lunch Menu. For the past six to seven months, every Monday morning I prepare Pulikachal and make Pulihari for my daughter and hence have learnt to make it quite well now. Coming to the recipe:
1. Tamarind – a big lemon sized ball
2. Ginger – a medium sized piece
3. Green Chillies – 4 -5 or according to taste
4. Jaggery – almost the size of the tamarind
5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
6. Asfoetida – ¼ tsp
7. Salt to taste
1. Sesame oil – 2 tblsp
2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
3. Channa Dal – 1 tsp
4. Ground nuts – 2 tsps
5. Curry leaves a few
Roast and grind
1. White Sesame seeds/ til – 1 tsp
2. White Urad Dal – 1 tsp
Soak the tamarind in hot water for a 5 mins. Squeeze and take out the tamarind juice. Grind the green chillies and ginger. Now in a Kadai, heat the sesame oil, add the mustard seed, once thy splutter, add the ground nuts and channa dal. Fry till dals turn brown. Next add the curry leaves and the chilly ginger paste. Fry for a minute. Next add the tamarind juice. Add turmeric powder, asfoetida and salt. Allow this to boil in medium flame for about 5 to 8 mins. Once you see the tamarind juice slightly thickening, add the jaggery and let it simmer for another few mins or till you see oil floating on top and the sides.
Dry roast the til and urad dal and powder it. Add this to the pulikachal. Addition of this powder gives a good flavor and aroma to the pulikachal.
Spicy, Sweet, Sour Pulikachal is ready!
To make the pulyumsadam or pulihari take about 2 teaspoons of pulikachal and mix it with plain cooked white rice. (Make sure rice is not mushy) You can increase or decrease the amount of pulikachal depending on your taste.
1. If you add til and urad dal powder, the shelf life of the pulikachal will be reduced. Also to retain the freshness it is best to roast and powder this whenever required and add it to the required amount of pulikachal.
2. The amount of jaggery mentioned in the recipe may seem too much, but that is the measurement my MIL follows, Jaggery should be equal to the amount of Tamarind. Also keep in mind not to add the jaggery in the beginning itself. Only after the pulikachal is half done jaggery should be added.