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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Tamarind & Temples!



Those who have been following my random notes here must be already well aware of my love for the Divine Delight! As I often say, when in doubt have.....! To this I add my latest discourse on when you have a choice have…..you have Puliyodharai!
Puliyodharai! Called Puliyogare in Kannada and Pulihora in Telugu. I have heard it referred to as Puliyamaram in a Tamil Drama by Marina. I have no clue why so but I will let it pass uncontested since it was Marina. Among the English Medium Types Puliyodharai is known as Tamarind Rice. (Sensitive to the fact that most Naarth Indian say Dhosa ( ढोसा) when they should be saying Dosai (दोसाई) and Sambhur (सांभर) when they mean Sambar (साम्बार) I will save you the trouble of turning Puliyodharai into something unrecognisable for us Madrasis by doing the needful in advance, पुलियोधरै, Welcome!) 

Puliyodharai! Puliyogare! Pulihora!

For those who came in late, Puliyodharai is a paste made out of a combination of Tamarind Puree + Seasonsings + Spices + plus such similar ingredients. This paste, known as Pulikachal is then mixed with rice and Lo and Behold! This paste of course can rest in the refrigerator for fairly long periods, like jams or pickles and come out on days when it is auspicious for it to mate with rice!  


My introduction to Puliyodharai happened when………..well much to your and my disappointment, quite randomly. Like most other things that happened to me, my mother fed me this too when a child just as she did most of her other experiments in the kitchen! (I concede you your moment of WT…..! I agree it is quite an anti-climax when the hero’s entry scene is not like those in Tamil Cinemas, a highpoint of the film. This must have felt like a Superstar Rajnikanth’s entry  where he simply walks into the screen and says ‘Amma! I am hungry. Gimme some Puliyodharai to eat!”)  


However my love for Puliyodharai started when an Iyengar friend of mine gifted me a jar of homemade Pulikachal. (For those who look askance and go, “Iyengar who?” here is the data. Iyengars are a sect of Tamils who subscribe to Vaishnavism)  Bangaloreans will agree when I say that Iyengars are best known for their Bakeries. Every second bakery in Bangalore sports Iyengar on its signboard. So popular are Iyengars and bakeries that there was/(is?) a Rehman’s Iyengar Bakery on Hosur Road! But what even the Bangaloreans might not know well enough is that much before the bakeries, Iyengars were tied to by their umbilical cord to Puliyodharai. Laddoo and Tirupathi are an exception. The preferred meal of Lord Vishnu in most of the Temples in Southern Inda is, you guessed right, Puliyodharai. Why it is so, I wouldn’t know but I second Lord Vishnu’s choice just as I salute his taste buds. 

Iyengar Pulikachal!

There is a Legend too which ties up Lord Vishnu and Puliyodharai and by extension Iyengars in a holy triumvate.  Uppiliyappan Temple in Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu. Legend says that the prasadam served in the temple, i.e., the hero of this story, Puliyodharai, is prepared without using salt. Despite this fact, the Puliyodharai tastes as though it has been cooked using this ingredient, when the same is consumed within the temple precincts. However the Prasad turns tasteless once it is consumed outside the walls of the temple!  (Uppiliyappan, aka Vishnu, named after Uppu, Salt in Tamil. So named to suggest, the Lord is what adds taste to your life! But then I digress), I have been to the Uppiliyappan temple. I have had the Puliyodhrai prasadam. Both when I was inside and outside the temple premises. And I can confirm that the Puliyodharai tasted divine.  Both when I was inside and outside the temple premises. So much for the Legend. Or is it a case of so much for my love for  Pulioyodharai!

Lord is the Salt! Uppuliyappan Temple!

Puliyodharai is mostly had as a standalone food. It is also often consumed with vadaam/vadagam and/or appalappoo. I however recommend try Puliyodharai with Deep Fried Baby Potatoes. Round off the meal with an extra large glass of Sambaaram. Heaven! (And on my way out dear Naarth Indians, it is Sambaaram, सम्बारम,  buttermilk mixed with green chilli paste. not to be confused with your  सांभर !

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PS: Junior loves Puliyodharai too. Is it a case of Genes or great folks have the same evolved taste? Both I think ; nay I am sure!

Thanks @hsejersa for reminding me of Pulikachal!

Glossary: 

Vadaagam/Vadaam :




Appalam Poo:

 Prasadam : Offerings in temples

1 comment:

  1. I will surely taste Puliyodharai with Sambaaram :)

    ReplyDelete