Monday, June 30, 2008

AUTHENTIC IYENGAR PULIOGARE (A combination of tangy, sweet and spicy tamarind rice)

I started with a poll to know what you all want to see here and I was not surprised to see what topped the voting poll. Yes it is indeed PULIOGARE!!!! (Puli in Tamil means tamarind and Ogare means Rice). This is a traditional Iyengar cuisine which is a “Must” in most of our festivals and functions. I waited for quite a while to post this recipe and I will tell you why. I always wanted to prepare puliogare along with a skillful hand with an elder at home be it my Grandmother, my Mother, my Aunt or my Mother-in-law. They are all so advanced in preparing this, that I can depend on any one of them for this authentic recipe. I grabbed the opportunity to prepare this when my Mother-in-law was here on a vacation. It was a great experience for me!!!!

Of course, I considered it exceptionally authentic when my Paati (grandmother) used to prepare this dish. With her training to her successors, she passed it on to my mother, my aunt and the rest.. My Paati inspired us constantly to learn all our traditional cuisine before she left us. She did not want us to forget what dishes she prepared when we were kids and insisted that this tradition has to be conceded on to the future generations. So this is my approach to preserve our traditional cuisine in the form of a blog and pass it on to my next generation.

Ingredients for making the Puliogare Gojju (Gojju is the paste which is concentrated and used to mix rice along with the seasonings):

The quantity of the paste what you get from the below mentioned ingredients can be stored for a year in a good, tight container. It roughly fills up a 700 ml container.

Dark Tamarind – 1½ cups (darker the tamarind, better it is, because it gives that extra dark brown color to the ogare)
Oil - ½ cup
Mustard seeds – 1 tspn
Curry leaves – 3 strands
Asafoetida (Hing) - ½ tspn
Red chillies (Preferably byadigi variety) – 8
Rasam powder – 8 tbl spns
Salt – According to taste
Jaggery – 2 blocks

Ingredients required for mixing the rice with the Gojju to make puliogare:

The quantity of ingredients given here are for the amount of rice mentioned. It may vary according to your taste and quantity of rice.

Cooked Rice – 2 cups (separate the grains by spreading it on a large plate)
Oil - ½ cup
Mustard seeds – 1 tspn
Curry leaves – 4-5 strands
Asafoetida (Hing) – ½ tspn
Ground nuts– Quarter cup
Grated Dry coconut – 2 tbl spns
Pulioyogare gojju or concentrate prepared earlier – 3 tbl spns
Salt to taste

Powders for seasoning:
Black Sesame seeds (Ellu in kannada and Til in hindi) – 1½ tbl spns (don’t add too much, although it enhances the flavors….it might get bitter if added in a large quantity)
Peppercorns – 1 tspn
Coriander seeds – 1 tbl spn
Rasam powder – 2 – 3 tbl spns

Preparation: Steps 1- 13 are how to make the gojju or the paste and Steps 14 – 18 how to mix the concentrate with rice.

Step 1, 2 and 3: Soak the tamarind previous night in little water (about 2½ cups of water). Next day extract the juice of the tamarind by grinding it in a blender. Blend it to a smooth paste and sieve it as shown in Step 3. Extract as much as possible. Step 2 is just to show how much jaggery is required for 1½ cups of tamarind.

Step 4: In a large deep bottomed pan, take Oil, add mustard (allow spluttering), curry leaves, asafoetida, red chillies. Fry and add the tamarind paste extract. Allow it to boil.

Step 5: Add rasam powder once it boils. Reduce the flame. Keep it at Low. This is a very important step because the more it boils in a lower flame chances are it doesn’t get burnt. This step is also important because the whole idea of a concentrated paste is to allow it to concentrate slowly.

Step 6: Picture taken after 15 mins of boiling. Note how slowly the paste is getting concentrated. That’s the way typically puliogare gojju is prepared.

Step 7: Add salt and jaggery and continue to stir.

Step 8: We observed that we required more jaggery. How did we do that? Well tasted it of course!!!!

Again let me highlight this. It’s very important to taste it in between to check for the variations in the taste (less or more). Try imagining this! We want a combination of tanginess, spicyness and sweetness all in the above order. So try tasting and check what you need to add whether it is chilli powder or salt or jaggery. Try adding small portions. This way, you can be rest assured that you are not adding too much to mess up the taste.
Step 9, 10 and 11: Remember each picture taken here is after every 10 mins approximately. So the whole boiling process is about 1hr and 15 mins. That’s how long it should be boiled on a low flame to get the paste of desired consistency.

Steps 12 and 13: This picture is taken to show my readers just how the consistency should be. When you lift the ladle, the paste has to slowly fall back in to the pan. Again pictures are taken after every 10 mins. I wanted to time the whole process because it’s important for us to know just how long the boiling process is done.

After Step 13, you get a paste which is ready to be mixed with rice. At this point you can just store the whole paste if you are not going to mix with rice right away. The gojju or the paste can be kept in refrigerator up to one year. This is also one of the main reasons you have to boil for a long time because the shelf life is also longer.

If you plan to use the paste say after 1 month or more, the day you intend to use it keep the stored box out of the fridge and allow it come back to room temperature. (This will aid you in mixing with the rice more easily).

But if you plan to use the paste immediately proceed in the following way:

Step 14: Cook rice and separate the grains on a large plate. First wash the black sesame seeds, dry them well on paper towel. Fry them without oil in a small pan and when it splutters lightly, switch off the flame. Fry the coriander seeds and black peppercorns as well and grind them all together. Add this powder to the rice.

Step 15: Add grated dry coconut and rasam powder.

Step 16: Add the gojju (concentrated puliyogare paste prepared earlier) Step 17: Mix the rice with all the above powders and gojju first. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO MIX IT WITH HANDS. This is because all the flavors and the paste used get coated nicely on the rice. Then add the seasonings mentioned below.

Step 18: Take Oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, ground nuts and allow them to splutter. Add this tempering to Rice. Taste it and add anything that’s less like salt, jaggery, etc...

Important Points:

Tamarind – Darker the better. Infact when we prepared, we weren’t able to get darker tamarind so that’s why the color is lesser. The original color of puliyogare has to be dark brown.

Red Chillies – The kind of red chillies we use is less spicy and gives more color. So that’s the reason we add the chillies and the rasam powder in large quantities. However not always can one find the same kind of chilli. So check for the spiciness of chillies that you use at home and then reduce or increase their number.

Rasam powder – It’s the base of a good puliyogare. Again we make this at home, so that it’s as authentic as possible. Many people prepare different kinds of rasam powders, so definitely the taste varies while mixing it in puliyogare. However you can always make a small batch of fresh rasam powder provided in the rasam powder link.

Black Sesame seeds – Always try to get a freshly manufactured packet. Because if it’s old and slightly smelly it could ruin your puliyogare. One very important point of black sesame seeds is that taste it before you use it in your puliogare. Because sometimes they can be bitter. If it’s bitter then don’t use it.

I know there are many people who are working and have kids to manage. Life can get busy when many such commitments are to be fulfilled. For such people, I would suggest to them to get the authentic iyengar puliyogare gojju mix from the condiment stores and try this with the rest of my preparation steps. I am not promising them that it will taste as authentic as the one mentioned above. However, you are still making an effort to make home puliyogare with the available ingredients.

My sincere suggestion to all my readers “Please experiment at least once with the above authentic recipe along with the gojju and you will never look back”!!!

It might take a while for one to master this, but then one has to start somewhere to get some practice right???? So there you go, I have revealed the most sought after recipe of Iyengars. Not that you haven’t seen many recipes of puliyogare on the net. But just that this one is from the IYENGAR’S KITCHEN.

I am sending this post to Jihva for Ingredients . JFI as it is known among the food bloggers, is one of the most popular food blogging events out there. JFI is the brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi, who started this event to celebrate and showcase a different natural ingredient every month. This month it’s hosted by Sig of Live to eat. The chosen ingredient this month is coincidentally TAMARIND! What better can I think of other than Puliogare!!!!


Rasam Powder: For 1 kg (This will serve you for 1 month if used regularly and about 2-3 months if not used regularly)

1/4th kilo – Byadagi variety red chillies (Use Guntur, Salem, any other variety chilly if byadigi chilli is not available)
3/4th kg – Coriander seeds
100 gms - Fenugreek seeds
100 gms - Cumin seeds
50 gms –Peppercorns
50 gms - Mustard seeds
1 tspn - Turmeric powder
½ tspn – Hing
4-5 strands – Curry leaves

Fry all the ingredients without oil separately. Grind it to a fine powder.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


My first Award by Priyanka of Asankhana!!!!!!I am really touched by your gesture. Feels so rewarding after all the hard work one puts in here to make a blog successful! Thank you very much for this wonderful award priyanka!


I am passing this award to :
Meeta , my dear friend of whats for lunch honey?
Sree of sree's canvas
Lisa of Food and Spice
Indira of Mahanandi

Congratulations Girls !!!!!Enjoy your Awards. You all truly deserve it!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


For past two weeks I was so tired of everything blogging, studying, traveling. I just felt like getting away from everything. So took a long break and feel so refreshed now. All I did was update something in my creative blog. That’s it! But it’s better to come back after a break because it gives a clear mind to start something fresh.

I love trying different recipes apart from the food prepared at my home. My maid is a very good cook too. She’s a maharashtrian and whenever she prepares something different she gets it for me and my friend to taste. She had prepared this stuffed bitter gourd and I liked it so much that I asked her for the recipe. Trust me all those people who don’t like to eat bitter gourd will atleast eat the veggie for this recipe. Good example, my hubby! Can you believe it he did not even know what the veggie is, until I told him? I kept telling him its karela (hindi). He did not know what that was until I said its haagal kayi (kannada). Imagine the expression on his face! He was so impressed that it was bitter gourd and he knew nothing about it.

Stuffed Bitter gourd (Serves 3)

Bitter gourd – 4

For grinding:
Coconut - ½ Cup
Ground nuts – 1 handful
Coriander leaves – 1 tbl spn
Tomato – 2
Garlic – 4-5 flakes (Optional …although I think adding garlic definitely helps in terms of taste and health wise)
Red chilli powder – 2 tspns
Turmeric – 1 tspn for boiling and 1 tspn for the ground paste
Salt to taste
Oil – 3 tbl spns

1. Cut bitter gourd in half and slit one side.
2. Scoop out the seeds. Boil them in water with salt and turmeric until the bitter gourd becomes soft and cooked. This process is approximately 15 mins.
3. Roast ground nuts without oil in small pan on a low flame.
4. Grind tomatoes, coconut, coriander leaves, garlic and the roasted nuts. Take out the paste to a bowl and add salt, chilli powder, turmeric and curry leaves to it.
5. Stuff this ground paste inside the bitter gourd. You will have more ground paste left for the amount I have mentioned.
6. Take Oil in a pan; place the bitter gourds one by one in the pan. Add the rest of the paste in the pan. Fry on each side for 5 mins.
7. Fry till the raw smell of the paste goes. Check for salt again at this point. Add more if required.
8. Fry in simmer for 10 mins until the bitter gourd takes all the juice.
This dish goes well with rice/dhal combination or rice/rasam combination and chapathis too!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


We visited my hubby's friend and his wife when we went to New York on a holiday last year. We had an amazing time at their place. N, his wife prepared lovely food for us. She made this Gobi Manchurian and I liked it so much that I asked her to mail me the recipe. And now whenever I make it, we always remember the lovely time we spent there. Thanks N again for this recipe! From her recipe, I have made some major changes to suit my taste.

This is for Monthly mingle - Appetizers & Hors'Doeuvres, hosted by Mansi Desai. Monthly mingle is an event started by Meeta of What’s for Lunch Honey to which I intend to participate regularly.



Cauliflower - 1
Maida - ½ cup
Gram flour (besan) - 1 tbl spn
Corn flour - 1 tbl spn
Rice flour - 2 tbl spns (very important according to me...makes it crispy)
Chilli powder - ½ tspn
Ginger paste - 2 tspn
Garlic – 4-5 flakes (chopped)
Onion (chopped in big pieces) = 2 small or 1 big
Capsicum – 1 (chopped in big pieces)
Green chillies - 2 - 3
Chilli sauce - 1 tspn
Tomato sauce - 2 tbl spns
Soya sauce - 1 tspn
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – ½ cup

I. Method I use to wash the cauliflower:

Break the florets and wash them first in running water. Boil hot water in a vessel and add in some salt and turmeric. Switch off the flame and add the florets. Cover the lid and let it sit there for 10-15 mins till you prepare the batter for deep frying the florets and rest of the work. This way of immersing the florets in hot water cooks the florets at least by 40%. The rest of the cooking is done by frying them. Throw the water, run it again under tap water and place it on thick kitchen towels to drain the water.

II. Prepare the batter with Maida, gram flour, corn flour, rice flour, chilli powder and salt. Use very little water because we want a batter which is good and thick enough to coat the florets well. The amount of chilli powder I use might be less or more to others. So depending on your taste you can add more or less.

III. Heat a large deep frying pan with oil in it. Dip the florets in the batter. Add one by one and turn the heat to low. The idea is to cook it slow but cook it thoroughly. This might be a patience testing task. But when you eat the Manchurian, all your hard work is worth it. Drain them on kitchen tissue.

IV. When you fry the next batch, wait for the oil to heat up really well and then add the florets. Follow the same procedure as mentioned above.

V. Take oil in a separate pan, add the ginger paste, green chillies and fry till the raw smell goes. Then add chopped onions and garlic. Add capsicum fry well.

VI. Add the tomato sauce, chilli sauce and Soya sauce. Before you add the florets, if you fry for 2-3 mins with the above sauces then the color changes to dark red, the desired color for Manchurian.

VII. Now add the fried cauliflower and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Starter for a good dinner is ready. When I prepare such an elaborate starter, I always keep the dinner simple and light.

Note from my experiences:
1. Don’t make the Manchurian and keep it for a long time. It becomes very chewy.
2. Never reheat it again in microwave because that softens the Manchurian.
3. You can prepare the florets and keep it ready before your guests come but prepare the sauce and mix when you are just about to serve.
4. Best solution is to eat it immediately! Who wants to wait in front of mouth watering Manchurians rgt?????? Dig in!!!!!!!!!

Monday, June 2, 2008



Bengal gram (Kadle bele in Kannada) - 1 cup (soak for 2-3 hrs)
Snake gourd (Padavalkaayi in kannada) (halved, scooped, and sliced) - 2 cups
(Snake gourd-whats that????)
Oil - 2 tbl spns
Curry leaves - 1 strand
Mustard – 1 tspn
Black gram – 1 tspn
Turmeric – ½ tspn

For grinding:
Coconut – 2 to 3 tbl spns
Coriander - 2 tbl spns
Green chillies – 2 (you can either add green or red chillies, I like to add both)
Red chillies - 2
Hing- ½ tspn
Bengal gram (soaked)
Salt (add little while grinding)

Grind with very little water.


1.In a large pan, take oil and temper with mustard, black gram, curry leaves and turmeric.
2. To this, add the vegetable and fry for few minutes till the raw smell goes.
3. Then add water and little salt, cover and cook the vegetable. Once it’s cooked. Keep it aside.
4. Take oil in a different pan, add the ground mixture and fry well for 3-5 mins.
5. Lower the heat and mix the vegetables. Serve hot with chapathis, rice and rasam, sambhar or kolambu.

You can prepare this palya with gorikayi (cluster beans), any type of greens (like Dill, Amaranth Leaves (dantina soppu).