Iyengar pulikaichal (spiced tamarind paste in Brahmin style)

Pulikaichal is a classic and authentic traditional recipe. It’s made with tamarind juice and spiced up with some ingredients which gives an excellent aroma and it is used to mix with Rice (popularly called as Puliyodharai/Puli sadham)

This goes well with idly, Dosa and with few Tiffen variety.

And it’s a yummy pickle to curd rice too.

It stays good for two weeks or more without refrigerating. And for a month when refrigerated.

Has to be stored in an air tight container.

This is distributed in temples as prasadam. And are very popular among Perumal temples (Triplicane parthasarathy temple)

Going on to the recipe.!


Tamarind juice -2 cups(thick)

Peanuts-1/4 cup

Red chilies-4

Mustard-1 tsp

Chana dal-2 tsp

Urud dal-2 tsp

Curry leaves- an arch

Asafetida-1 tsp

Turmeric -1/2 tsp

Salt as needed

Oil-2 tbsp

Gingely oil-3 tbsp (sesame oil)

Fenugreek powder( 1/4 tsp )(dry roasted)

For spice powder:

Oil-1 tsp

Chana dal-2 tsp

Coriander seeds-2 tsp

Red chilies -2

Asafetida-1/4 tsp

Pepper corns -1/4 tsp


Am posting the recipe now with step by step layout pictures.

1. In a pan add oil and to it add the red chilies , dals, coriander seeds and the ingredients mentioned to make spice powder. Allow it to cool and grind it as a powder and keep it aside.

2. Then in the same pan add 2 tbsp of gingely oil and 1 tbsp of sunflower oil and add red chilies.. then Chana dal and urud dal. Now the curry leaves. And then once the dal turned red in color add the peanuts and fry them.

3. Prepare the tamarind juice and now add them to the pan. Then add turmeric powder, asafetida powder and salt and allow it to boil for 4 mins. Then add the spiced powder and cook on high.

4. Then let it cook and add some gingely oil in-between and allow it cook for some more time ,for it to become thick paste.

Once the texture changes add dry roasted fenugreek powder . It is the preservative used to protect the dish from not getting spoiled.

5. The pulikaichal is ready and store it in air tight container and don’t spill water or use a spatula or spoon with water as fungus will form.

6. Mix with cooked rice and make puliyodharai.


Adding dark puli will give a darker color and good taste. This is my personal choice

For preservative: in a pan dry roast fenugreek seeds and allow it to cool and powder it and store in air tight container and add that at last. It will preserve the dish from getting spoiled or forming fungus.!


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