I love the luxury of online shopping - my favorite site being Amazon.com! But it has certainly spoilt me to the extent that I find it extremely frustrating when I cannot simply order something with a mouse click! While going to the store, picking, touching, smelling, trying and bargaining has its own charms (come on, you have to agree with me, specially if you are an Indian like me :) ), there are times when all I want to do is log in, browse and buy - specially if there is a fast shipping option!
The reason for my starting off on this point is, recently my friend spoke about her having tried quinoa puliodarai at her aunt's place and that set off a craving for it. But the main problem was, while I had all the necessary ingredients for making a pulikaachal, I did not have any quinoa on hand. Boy did I wish I could just order some online during the day and get it by evening - just on time for dinner! But alas, that was not to be, so I had to drive down to the local grocery store to get some. I know, I know, I could have just gone ahead and made it with rice, which is probably what any sensible person would do. But moi being moi - just had to go and buy the quinoa!
That is what prompted me to make my pulikaachal in a crock-pot instead of going the traditional gas top way. So, while I ran my grocery errand, the pulikaachal was cooking away in the crock-pot and got ready just around the time I finished cooking the quinoa - perfect timing!
Now, I have used quinoa for making "curd rice" with tempering and pulao, even khichdi. But never for puliodarai. I loved it, will definitely be making it again.
The spice level on this was through the roof - well we do have a high tolerance for heat, but if you prefer your food on the milder side, feel free to reduce the amount of red chillies used. The same goes for the tamarind - but this dish is an extremely tangy one.
The pulikaachal prepared can be refrigerated and used whenever required. The ingredients mentioned below make pulikaachal to serve 6-8 people. But I added a few tablespoons of it to 1 cup of cooked quinoa which was sufficient for me and my husband and stored the rest for future use.
Preparation & Cooking: 3 hours Serves: 6-8
Qunioa - 1 cup
Tamarind - big lemon sized
Jaggery - 1 teaspoon, powdered (optional)
Coriander Seeds/Dhania - 2 tablespoons
Fenugreek Seeds/Methi - 1 teaspoon
Asafoetida/Hing - a pinch
Red Chillies - 20-25
Peanuts - ¼ cup
Turmeric Powder/Haldi - ¼ teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Mustard Seeds - 1 tablespoon
Black Gram/Urad Dal - 4 tablespoons
Bengal Gram/Chana Dal - 2 tablespoons
Fenugreek Seeds/Methi - 1 teaspoon
Curry Leaves - a few
Sesame Oil - ¼ cup
- Soak the tamarind in hot water for a few minutes. I usually microwave the water and tamarind for a minute then set aside for 5 minutes. Then prepare a thick tamarind pulpy juice by squishing the tamarind. With the said amount of tamarind, you should be able to extract 1½ to 2 cups of thick pulpy juice. Strain this and set aside.
- Dry roast the coriander seeds, asafoetida and fenugreek seeds and grind it to a smooth powder.
- Heat the sesame oil and all the ingredients for tempering. When the seeds crackle, add in the peanuts.
- When the peanuts turn a golden brown, add the red chillies and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Now, at this stage, if you want to continue cooking on the stove top, add in the remaining ingredients (except the ground powder) and cook, stirring slowly. When it starts boiling, reduce the flame and simmer till the raw tamarind smell disappears and the mixture thickens considerably into a paste like consistency. Finally add in the ground powder. Some people add in the ground powder just when mixing with the rice.
- But on the other hand, if you are out of patience and kitchen standing time, as I was, then go ahead and take out that additional gadget that's resting somewhere in you kitchen - yes I am talking about the crock-pot!
- Add all the ingredients (except the ground powder) to the crock - pot, set it at high for cooking, cover it with a lid and go ahead finish of your chores in the next couple of hours!
- Oh yes, one more thing - cook the quinoa as per the package instructions. I usually rinse it thoroughly and cook it in the microwave for about 6-8 minutes in double the quantity of water, stirring once or twice in between. Then I cover and let it rest for a couple of minutes and finally fluff it up with a fork. Some people say you should soak it, but so far I have not bothered to do that.
- Finally, mix in the ground powder, add the required quantity of pulikaachal to the quinoa and set aside for a few minutes before serving, that way the quinoa will absorb the flavors better. Usually for the amount of qinoa cooked 3-5 tablespoons should do the trick, depending on your taste buds. Add a little at a time and keep tasting till you get your desired taste.
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