Instant Pot Pulihora Paste ~ Pulihora Pulusu

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I recently bought an Instant Pot (IP) and instant pot pulihora paste / pulihora pulusu is my first instant pot recipe here. For those of you who are unfamiliar with instant pot, it is a brand that makes electric pressure cookers and my model is a pressure cooker, slow cooker and a yogurt maker as well. Pulihora ~ puliyodharai ~ puliyogare is a tangy rice prepared with tamarind, lime, green mango or any tangy ingredient. Tamarind pulihora ~ chintapandu pulihora ~ tamarind rice is prepared with tamarind. Pulihora pulusu or pulihora paste is thick tamarind extract cooked with spices. This paste is mixed with rice and then tempered. This instant pot pulihora paste is a mess free preparation of pulihora paste.

My theme for this week is festivals of the month and for the first day I chose Ugadi. Ugadi is Telugu New Year according to lunar calendar and it is celebrated in Indian states of Telangana and Andhra. This year it is on March 29. On the same day, few other Indian states also celebrate their New Year and it is known by different names, Yugadi in Karnataka, Gudi Padwa in Maharashtra and as Cheti Chand among Sindhis.

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Pulihora is a common preparation for many festivals. While lime pulihora and mango pulihora doesn’t require much prepping, tamarind pulihora ~ chintapandu pulihora does. For tamarind pulihora, tamarind extract is pre cooked with spices and can be made a day head. This tamarind paste or pulihora paste stays good in the fridge for months and also comes very handy on one of those lazy days when one doesn’t want to spend much time in the kitchen.

For Ugadi, back home at my place we always make mango pulihora and bahkshallu (puran poli/flatbread stuffed with lentils and sugar/jaggery). Apart from Ugadi pachadi, these two are a must and mango pulihora was something we always looked forward to as that is the time when raw green mangoes begin to flood the markets. However, nowadays raw mangoes are available year round unlike decades ago. Though it is always mango pulihora at our home for Ugadi, tamarind pulihora is common in many households.

I already posted chintapandu ~ tamarind pulihora when I did festive thali last November but that version of pulihora is an instant version with tamarind concentrate (without spices). This time I made pulihora paste from scratch, in an instant pot. As for time, I never made pulihora paste from scratch before, even on stovetop. Hence I do not know if preparing pulihora paste in instant pot reduces cooking time, but it sure does reduces once attention required at the stove. The only time one needs to keep an eye on the paste is in the last 4-5 minutes of cooking, which is avoidable if using a very thick tamarind extract.

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Pulihora Pulusu ~ Pulihora Paste

  • 125 grams Tamarind
  • Water to extract thick pulp from tamarind
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. Chana Dal, washed
  • 1 tsp. Fenugreek Powder
  • 1 tbsp. Salt (can add more)
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 5 medium sized Dry Red Chilies
  • ¼ cup or 4 tbsp. Oil
  • 20 – 25 Curry Leaves


  • Wash and soak tamarind. Use enough water to immerse all the tamarind in water.
  • Soak for 30 minutes to a hour.
  • With a clean hand, press and squeeze tamarind in soaked water to extract a thick pulp. Transfer tamarind extract to a separate bowl, pour some water to tamarind and extract more pulp. Transfer the extract to the bowl and repeat the same, if you feel you could extract more pulp from tamarind. Try to keep the extract as thick as possible.
  • Transfer tamarind extract/juice to inner pot of the instant pot.
  • Add remaining ingredients, close the lid of the instant pot, make sure the vent is sealed.
  • Plug in the cord, press manual and adjust the time to 11 minutes by pressing ‘+’ or ‘-’ on the touch pad. Make sure the pressure is on high.
  • In few seconds you will hear a beep indicating the instructions are accepted and instant pot is on.
  • After about 10 minutes or so, when the pressure inside the pot has reached to its maximum, the timer on display will begin to count down. Once it reaches zero seconds, there is a long beep indicating the task is complete.
  • Let the pressure release naturally. This should take about 20 minutes. On the display screen, you will see count going up, indicating the time since the cooking was finished.
  • Open the lid, if you feel the tamarind paste is not thick enough, press saute mode and cook until desired consistency is reached. I put it for 8-10 minutes. Mind you, there is going to be a lot of splutter and spillage in the last 4-5 minutes. You may want to semi cover the pot with a lid or just let it splutter and clean the mess later, like I did.
  • The other option is to adjust the setting to low but this will take longer to thicken the paste.
  • If making the paste on stovetop, take tamarind extract and rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil and let it boil until extract thickens. As the juice/extract thickens, it will splutter, hence reduce the flame, keep stirring intermittently until it thickens to desired consistency.


  • 1 ½ cups Basmati Rice (uncooked rice measured with the cup that comes with rice cooker)
  • 5 – 6 tbsp. Pulihora Paste ~ Pulihora Pulusu (adjust to taste and depends on how tangy the tamarind is)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Oil
  • ¼ tsp. Mustard Seeds
  • ¼ tsp. Cumin
  • 4 Curry Leaves
  • 2 – 3 Green Chilies, cut into two
  • 2 tbsp. Unroasted Peanuts (opt)
  • ½ tsp. Salt (Adjust to taste and mind you tamarind paste is seasoned with salt)
  • Pinch of Turmeric


  • Wash and cook rice.
  • Once rice is cooked, transfer to a wide bowl or a plate to cool.
  • Add Pulihora paste and mix well. Add less paste and add more depending on the taste. The degree of tanginess of pulihora paste depends on how sour and tangy tamarind is.
  • Heat oil in a pan and temper with curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin.
  • Add green chilies, peanuts and let peanuts roast.
  • Add salt, turmeric and give a good stir. Turn off the flame.
  • Pour the tempering over rice and mix well serve and with yogurt or shorva.


  • I did not use red chilies in the tempering. If using red chilies, skip green chilies or use half red and half green chilies. Mind you, pulihora paste also has some chilies in it.
  • If pulihora is too tangy, add some roasted sesame seeds powder.
  • If puihora is not offered to god as prasadam, add some crushed garlic to tempering.
  • This is optional, sprinkle chopped cilantro as a garnish.

This day in 2011: Crispy Dosa
This day in 2016: Ground chicken salad with taco seasoning

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14 thoughts on “Instant Pot Pulihora Paste ~ Pulihora Pulusu

    1. It is natural light Kalyani. I played around with blockers to block most of the light and let in just enough to fall only on the jar.. I may have blocked a bit too much and hence the yellowish tint in the pictures. 🙁

  1. I have been hearing so much about the instant pot, must be such a boon that you can use in different forms..the pulusu looks so good and nice way to make it..

  2. Heard about instant pot a lot now a days, sounds like it make the process easy. Btw lip smacking pulihora paste and the recipe is quite different from what i usually make, will give a try on yours soon.

  3. My grandma and mom always make this pulusu for me so I’ve never really had to slog over it. The fact that you made it in the IP is a complete winner! Great pics!

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