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A jar of seasoned tamarind concentrate and in the back is a bowl tamarind rice

Pulihora Pulusu ~ Pulihora Paste

Pulihora paste is a tangy, spicy, concentrated tamarind sauce is a South Indian condiment used to prepare tamarind pulihora.
Course Condiment
Cuisine Indian Cuisine, South Indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Soaking & Resting 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 107kcal
Author Usha Rao


  • 3 qt Instant Pot or any Electric Pressure Cooker
  • 2 Bowls
  • Glass jar or container


  • 125 grams Tamarind
  • Water to extract thick pulp from tamarind
  • 3 tablespoon Chana Dal washed
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek Powder
  • 2 tablespoon Salt can add more
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 5 medium sized Dry Red Chilies
  • ¼ cup or 4 tablespoon Oil
  • 20 Curry Leaves
  • 2 cups Water, more if needed


  • Wash and soak tamarind in about a cup of water or enough to immerse tamarind in water. Soaking in warm or hot water helps.
  • Soak for at least one hour. The longer you soak, easier it is to extract the pulp.
  • With a clean hand, press and squeeze soaked tamarind to extract the 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 process, if you feel you could extract more pulp from tamarind. Try to keep the extract as thick as possible. I used about 1 - 1½ cups of water.
  • Transfer tamarind extract/juice to inner pot of the Instant Pot (IP).
  • Add remaining ingredients, close the IP lid, make sure the vent is sealed.
  • Cook on Manual / Pressure Cook mode for 11 minutes. Make sure the pressure is on high.
  • It will take about 10 - 13 minutes for the pressure to build up, depending on the quantity of liquid in the pot. Then it cooks for 11 minutes.
  • Let the pressure release naturally. This should take about 15 - 20 minutes and then pressure pin will drop indicating natural pressure release.
  • Press cancel, open the lid, press saute and cook for another 10-15 minutes until pulihora paste consistency is reached. Keep stirring in between and in the last 4-5 minutes, there is going to be a lot of splutter and spillage. You may want to semi cover the pot with a lid.
  • The other option is to adjust the IP setting to low but this will take longer to thicken the paste.


  • If making the paste on stovetop, take tamarind pulp and rest of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil and let it boil until extract thickens. As the mixture thickens, it will splutter, hence reduce the flame, keep stirring intermittently until it thickens to desired consistency.


  • IP Settings - Cook for 11 minutes if using chana dal. When not using chana dal, I pressure cook either 6 or 8 minutes.
  • Water - Try to use minimal water to extract tamarind pulp. Thicker the tamarind water, sooner the paste thickens. I use 1 cup to soak water and little over 1 cup to extract the pulp. Also, soaking tamarind in warm or hot water helps to in extracting a thick pulp.
  • Other Ingredients - Peanuts and roasted sesame seed powder are a good addition to pulihora pulusu but I personally prefer adding peanuts when tempering pulihora. Roasted sesame seed powder is a good addition but I normally don't use it. It is just my personal preference.
  • Servings - Depending on how tangy the tamarind is, you will need about 3 tablespoon of the paste for 1 cup rice cooker measuring cup uncooked rice. This recipe yields 16 oz jar of pulihora paste and 10 - 12 servings. Each serving is little less than 3 tablespoon
  • Suggestion - Prepare tamarind rice tempering, mix it with this paste. This eliminates the step of tempering when preparing pulihora. This is a great for college students, young adults staying away from home and when on long road trips. All one needs to do is cook rice and mix this paste. A delicious meal is ready.
  • Nutrition - Nutritional information below is approximate.


Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1404mg | Potassium: 159mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 294IU | Vitamin C: 73mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg