PuLiyogare Mix

The King of South Indian Spice Mixes

PuLiogre Mix from scratch

This post has been languishing in the drafts for all of summer. I must have opened this post to edit at least two dozen times and closed it each time even before a few sentences trickled down. It just did not happen. A laid back recipe made of a generous handful of summer, a good measure of what is called ‘life’, a cup of lost mojo, a tablespoon of procrastination, a teaspoon of writer’s block beat the better of a pinch of my best intentions this past season. Given my liking for the dish, ideally, this should have been one of my first few posts on this blog. Nevertheless, in spite of a pot full of excuses I did manage to get the post together finally. Hope you’ll like it.

PuLiyogare Mix

My close friends ask me time and again, being an Iyengar how could I have not written about THE most iconic Iyengar dish – the majestic and ever popular PuLiyogare?

After having shamelessly evaded those kind of questions long enough, I hereby put them to rest by sharing the recipe for authentic PuLiyogare mix, the first pre-requisite to making good home made PuLiyogare, a must to mark anything festive in our households. This is a recipe, the taste of which I have been familiar with all my life, the way it has always been made at my Taatha’s (grand dad) house and also the way my dear aunt makes even today.

One does not have to be an Iyengar to be familiar with this spicy dish. Be it the zillion homesick IT professionals or anyone who has ever traveled out of India for the briefest time would have tried it at least once, thanks to MTR! To be honest, I have lived off of MTR Puliyogare powder / paste for a good part of my life and even now don’t mind a quick fix Puliyogare once in a while. And to be even more truthful, I have hesitated making traditional PuLiyogare for quite a while myself, given how elaborate the preparation is and would make it only if Amma or my aunt provided me the essentials – freshly prepared Puliyogare Gojju and Puliyogare mix.

MTR Puliyogare powder is pretty good alright. But, when you learn how to make the real thing, then quick fixes don’t cut it anymore. Well, you and I may not stop buying the MTR PuLiyogare mix, but it is always great to have an authentic recipe in your repertoire. That is how I am compelled to share this recipe with you. Why be deprived of good stuff?

roasted whole spices

Roasted Red ChilliesCurry leaves

Making of the PuLioyogare is an art in itself. PuLiyogare as a dish is the epitome of delayed gratification, the making of which can roughly be divided into three phases. Phase I is making the spice mix, Phase II is the making / simmering of Gojju or tamarind paste and the last leg is the actual making of the PuLiyogare. Each Phase needs due diligence, is time consuming drawn, demands oodles of patience, but the end result is worth every single bit of laboring in front of the stove filling you with pride and satisfaction akin to any bread baker making a good artisan bread. Like they say, good things take their own time.

PuLi (sour / tamarind) + Ohare (mixed rice) = PuLiyogare, is the food of the Southern Gods, the prasadam offered in Tirupathi devasthanams if you have ever paid a visit, you know what I am talking about. To pronounce it correctly, just twist your tongue backwards to touch the epiglottis when you utter the “Li” sound stressing on the bold “L”. No other sound li, lee, ly does justice.

Do not mistake this with the Andhra Pulihara or Pulihora. Also, Puliyogare and Puliyodharai though ought to be same, are slightly different in taste being regional variations of Karnataka and Tamil nadu.

PuLiogre Powder in a bottle

It may surprise you to see that this home made Puliyogare mix is different from the store bought versions that you might be familiar with. The reason we make it this way is simple. On their own, the spice mix and the tamarind paste have a better shelf life than when combined. Combined with the oil, shelf life is limited as the oil turns rancid. Needless to say, starting with the best ingredients always yields best results.

If you have made Mysore Saaru Podi or any Rasam Powder at home from scratch, this is as simple as that! Recipes for Puliyogare Gojju and making of the PuLiyogare will follow soon. Fingers crossed.

PuLiyogare Mix Recipe

print recipe

makes approx 300 gms

Things you’ll need:

1 cup + 2 tbsp coriander seeds / dhania
2 cups dried red chillies (approx. 50-60) (half and half mix of Byadagi and Guntur varieties)*
1/4 cup fenugreek / methi seeds
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp black peppercorns
1-1/2 tbsp cumin seeds / jeera
1-1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 pieces, about 1inch each – cinnamon
about 1 cup Curry leaves, loosely packed, washed and towel dried
1/4 tsp good quality asafoetida / hing (I use SSP)
1/2 tsp ghee, for roasting peppercorns
1 tsp oil, for roasting red chillies

* a mix of very hot red chillies and milder deep red colored chillies (for a mix of heat and color)


Spice grinder

How it’s done:

The best way to roast the spices is to do it in batches preferably in the order mentioned starting with red chillies and end with mustard seeds.

Heat oil in a kadai or wok and roast the red chillies on low-medium heat. Using two ladles, roast by lifting the chillies from the sides until they are very hot to the touch but not smoking. Let the chillies not burn or the pungent chilli fumes will take over the kitchen. Spread on a plate and keep aside.

Next, add coriander seeds and curry leaves to the kadai and dry roast on low-medium heat until curry leaves are dry, crisp and crumble when pinched, but retain their green color and coriander seeds are aromatic. Pour them on top of the red chillies on the plate so they are kept warm enough till grinding.

Now, add ghee to the kadai followed by black peppercorns, roast on low-medium heat until the spluttering frequency reduces but does not stop. They burn quickly if you wait till the spluttering stops. Remove on to the plate.

Then, add fenugreek seeds and dry roast on low heat until fenugreek seeds turn golden brown and aromatic. keep stirring to avoid burning them. Any more roasting will turn them very bitter. Remove on to the plate.

Follow it up with cumin seeds and dry roast on low heat until aromatic and their popping frequency reduces but does not stop. Remove on to the plate.

Add a few drops of oil, then cinnamon bark and hing and roast on low heat until aromatic. Remove on to the plate.

Lastly, dry roast mustard seeds till they begin to splutter. Remove on to the plate. Sometimes, they may not splutter.

When the spices have cooled to room temperature or just warm, grind all the roasted ingredients in a spice grinder or any Indian mixer (dry jar) to a fine powder. Let the grinder jar cool completely before opening. If opened sooner, the oils and aroma will escape. Transfer to an airtight jar and store in a cool dry place.


Use a mixture of mild and hot varieties of red chilli like Guntur(hot) and Byadagi (mild). Read more notes on this in Bisibelebath recipe

AVOID dry roasting all ingredients together as it results in uneven roasting or burning of ingredients.

If you wish to make a smaller batch, a 4:1 ratio should work well between coriander seeds and cumin, fenugreek and black pepper. Adjust proportions for the other ingredients accordingly.

Avoid dry roasting red chillies (without oil) or they’ll emanate pungent, choking fumes.

If you feel the spice mix turned out to be short of red chillies or doesn’t taste hot enough, you can always adjust by roasting some extra chillies, grind to a fine powder and grind again together with the mix to get it all mixed well.

If you use the powder sparingly, consider storing it in the freezer. That way, the spice mix will retain all of its flavor without tasting like wood husk.

SSP brand hing is available in Bangalore – Mysore areas as far as I know. LG brand is available even in the US.

Chana dal or any dal is not used as the mix tends to spoil faster.

Treat yourself to more :

60 thoughts on “PuLiyogare Mix

  1. Radhika @ Just Homemade says:

    Krithika, I do not know how to respond. Thank you for your kind words. I am humbled and honored. I am extremely happy if everyday cooking looks beautiful and inspires people to get into their kitchen. That’s what this blog is about – celebrating home cooking!
    And, when people like you take the time to tell me what you liked, it makes my day and fills me with renewed motivation..
    I do hope you made/make the podi sometime.

  2. Krithika says:

    I landed here while looking for a podi recipe.boy, am i glad i came here! i just LOVE your photos – they are superb! Looking at the end products makes me drool. The other photos are lovely masterpieces not unlike the still art paintings of the Dutch masters. You have managed to convert the mundane boring everyday cooking to a work of art. Kudos to you and do keep the photos coming. 🙂

  3. sharon says:

    I love the recipes but need more on how to go about wit the black sesame seeds n tak maria thanks a lot .

    from Sharon Uganda 🙂

  4. mauigirlcooks says:

    This looks fantastic. I absolutely love the photo of the whole spices in the skillet! I’ve never heard of this spice blend, let alone make it, but I’m interested in trying it out. I’ve never seen curry leaves before, so that may be my limiting factor here. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Latha says:

    The photographs & recipe are interesting.I’ll try it soon.But I have a doubt – I had heard before that white til (sesame) is an essential ingerdient in puliogare.Is it ok without it?

  6. Nika says:

    When you see first pic, you ask yourself; what’s that? How this is made? But than you see all the ingridients on other pics, and all you can say is wooow. All this in one jar 🙂 Nice pictures and thans for this great recipe!

  7. chalsangaso says:

    It definitely looks like a labor of love! It’s nice to see someone putting their heart and soul into a dish. I really appreciate how you mention keeping the items separate for better use. It’s nice to know that preparing it in this way allows for storing longer, which in turn means we get to enjoy it more! We love stuff like this thanks, and feel free to check us out at: http://naturalninjas.com/

  8. superfoodista says:

    Wow, I am so glad I found your blog!!! It’s absolutely stunning and gorgeous!! And I am in love with your photography! The lighting, the back drops, the styling – wonderful! Looking forward to read more from you! hugs, Sylvia

  9. Kulsum says:

    I have always been a fan of podi’s with similar flavour but I know that’s a sin to say as all my south Indian friends from different regions are absolutely clear on the fact that each spice mix is different even when the ingredients are same and ratios different 🙂 Bookmarking this.

    • Radhika @ Just Homemade says:

      Turmeric is a part of the original recipe. I have skipped it because I do not have dried turmeric root, which is used. 1/4 tsp of turmeric can be added while grinding the spices.
      This recipe is only for the spice mix. Tamarind paste and actual PuLiyogare recipe will follow in subsequent posts.

  10. Mayuri says:

    As usual superb write up and beautiful clicks.
    One question can I use this pudi to make saru…the ingredients are almost similar cinnamon excluded.
    Hope u don’t delay to post gojju preparation .

    • Radhika @ Just Homemade says:

      Thank you Mayuri.
      You are right. It is very similar to Saaru Podi, but there are subtle differences. I would say, in case of an urgency or when you have little choice, when you have no Saaru Podi, you can easily sub this for that without much harm.

      Hope not to 🙂

  11. Prerna@IndianSimmer says:

    What beautiful photographs my friend! I did not know about this spice mix but then I’m no expert in South Indian cuisine. But the sound of it sounds SO good. I’m definitely making this for my spice collection!

  12. Deesha says:

    Lovely post. I love Puliyogare & you knw what MTR Puliyogare pudi is not that good anymore. We’ve plenty of stores that sell home made pudi or gojju here so I’ve really never made this frm scratch

  13. Deepa says:

    Radhika, this post totally made my day. Puliyogare is one of my mum’s well-known specialities, a recipe passed down from her Mum. I’m ashamed to say I have never even tried to make it……I guess I know that it won’t be as good as hers. Love your writing and pics too.

  14. Manjusha says:

    Radhika, your pictures are works of art..stunningly beautiful 🙂 Love looking at all of them. They are a major distraction for me to actually read the recipe 😀 Please keep them coming. God bless.

  15. chinmayie @ love food eat says:

    Thank you so much for finally sharing a puliyogare mix recipe! I have been making my own puliyogare gojju from a while now and I have glad I don’t have to use the MTR mix anymore. But I am sure your recipe will be better than the one I am using right now. Please blog the gojju and the making of the puligoyare as soon as possible. Can’t wait to try it 🙂

    • Radhika @ Just Homemade says:

      Chin, So thrilled that u like it!
      Gosh! The kind of confidence and trust you have on my recipes, you make me smile every time I read your comments. Really happy they live up to your expectations..
      I HAVE to keep up the pace on the gojju and PuLiyogare.. fingers crossed!

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