Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)

According to ancient Indian medicine systems Siddha and Ayurveda, tamarind fruits have numerous healing powers. Nowadays, nutritionists recommend to boil the vegetables in tamarind juice instead of plain water to prevent the loss of nutrients, but we have been practising the same for generations. Tamarind is a quintessential ingredient of the traditional south Indian curries like sambar, rasam, or kuzhambu. Besides, we also make pungent tamarind soup (puli thanni) and sweet tamarind juice (panakam) specially on the day of fasting.  Obviously, tamarind juice & tamarind soup have excellent detoxifying property and hence they aid in weight loss also.

pt-9-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Traditional detox

Old tamarinds Vs new tamarinds:

Our grandparents used old black tamarinds alone, but later we switched to new brown tamarinds as we don’t like to see a darker sambar. According to Siddha medicine, new tamarinds act as kapha dosha pacifier, whereas old tamarinds act as kapha & vata pacifier. So I have started using old tamarind for making pulikulambu or other darker curries, and new tamarind exclusively for sambar. 

pt-2-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Brownish new tamarind & blackish old tamarind

Puli thanni is a traditional winter (or monsoon) soup, we prefer to take tamarind soup and lentils chutney along with rice (I have seen my non-vegetarian friends taking tamarind soup along with roasted sun-dried fish). During the first spell of rains every year, my grandmother asked my aunts to prepare puli thanni & paruppu thuvaiyal. Now I understand the significance, it is mainly because the old tamarind pacifies kapha & vata dosha that are normally aggravated during monsoon.

pt-1-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Puli thanniyum paruppu thuvaiyalum

It tastes divine while taking puli thanniyum paruppu thuvaiyalum along with kai-kuthal arisi sadam (traditional hand-pounded rice) and sutta (or microwaved) appalam.

pt-5-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Rice mixed with paruppu thuvaiyal & sesame oil and
served with puli thanni & sutta appalam

Generally we don’t value the fruits, vegetables, spices, or herbs which are available plentifully and also we fail to appreciate the goodness of a meal if we prepare it with humble inexpensive ingredients.  Puli thanniyum paruppu thuvaiyalum is one such meal that does not get enough recognition especially by the teens & children. I feel it is we, the parents, have the responsibility to encourage the next generation to take healthy meals that are passed onto us by our parents & grandparents. So here is the recipe for puli thanni & paruppu thuvaiyal, you may also check out the preparation of traditional panakam using tamarind juice taken during sashti viratham at the end of this post.

Puli thanni (tamarind soup)

pt-8-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Spicy puli thanni

Yields: 650 ml

Time taken: 5 min.


  • A lemon sized old tamarind
  • 1 tsp of sesame oil
  • Mustard seeds
  • Black gram (urad dal)
  • Bengal gram
  • 2 red chillies
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp of asafoetida powder (hing)
  • 750 ml of water
  • 3/4 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of powdered jaggery (optional)
pt-3-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)

How to prepare puli thanni:

  • Microwave tamarind in 50 ml water.
  • Extract tamarind juice by using remaining 700 ml of water and keep aside.
  • Heat a pan with oil in medium flame.
  • Add mustard seeds, black gram, Bengal gram and fry for few seconds.
  • Tear curry leaves & split red chillies into pieces and add into the pan.
  • Add chilli powder, turmeric powder & hing and fry for few seconds.
  • Pour tamarind juice into the pan and bring it to a boil.
  • Add salt & jaggery and boil the soup until jaggery is dissolved.
  • Remove from flame.
  • Sprinkle fresh coriander leaves and serve the soup hot.
pulithanni Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Puli thanni recipe

Paruppu Thuvaiyal  (Lentil chutney)

pt-6-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Paruppu Thuvaiyal


  • 1/2 cup of Bengal gram (or any lentil# except urad dal)
  • 5 red chillies
  • 3 pieces of coconut meat (each 1″)
  • 2 garlic pods
  • 3/4 tsp of salt

# We can prepare thuvaiyal using lentil or a mixture of lentils like friedgram (pottu kadalai), toor dal (thuvaram paruppu), moong dal (paasi paruppu), etc.

pt-4-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)

How to prepare paruppu thuvaiyal:

  • Heat a pan with sesame oil (1/2 tsp) in medium flame.
  • Add Bengal gram into the pan and roast until the flavor is released.
  • Add red chillies and fry for few seconds in low flame until heated up.
  • Remove from flame and transfer to a large plate to cool them down.
  • Grind all the ingredients as shown below into a coarse or smooth thuvaiyal.
  • Mix paruppu thuvaiyal & cold-pressed sesame oil (chekku ennai) with kaikuthal arisi sadam, and serve with puli thanni and sutta appalam.
paruppu-thuvaiyal Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Paruppu thuvaiyal recipe

Puli Panakam  (Tamarind juice)

pt-11-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
Tamarind Panakam, a traditional detox

We can microwave tamarind in 50 ml of water for a minute, prepare tamarind extract, and then mix jaggery powder, ginger powder & cardamom powder into tamarind juice to prepare delicious panakam. Ideally, we can take this detox juice after sunset or end the fasting by taking this panakam.

pt-10-scaled Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)
How to prepare puli panakam

92 comments on “Puli Thanni (Tamarind Soup)Add yours →

Comments are closed. You can not add new comments.

  1. Wow!! I could sense the taste of that parupu thuvayal.. Looks the same way my ammama does.. An interesting combination with tamarind soup for the winters though. So clearly penned! Will give a try!

  2. This is an amazing post Megala! Although I knew that for some recipes like pulikaachal it was good to use equal quantities of old and new puli, I learnt a lot after reading this post about the actual health benefits of tamarind and why.
    Thank you for penning it so clearly…we need to preserve this wisdom handed down traditionally as our lifestyles change.

    1. So true! Earlier they had a stock of large quantities of grocery for an year or more, because they knew that matured grains and other spices are more beneficial than newly harvested ones. Since we are unable to keep them in stock not more than a month, we can ask for old stock from the grocers to enjoy the benefits.
      Thank you so much for your kind comment!

      1. Your reply brought back fond memories of those days! I too remember how my mother and periamma used to buy the yearly stock of thuvaram paruppu, puli, ulundu, varamilagai and so on in March April when the new harvests were brought in the mandy shops(wholesale shops)! After that came the ritual of sun-drying everything. We youngsters had the job of collecting the sun-dried items in containers each afternoon. And then everything was laid out to sun-dry the next morning. And so it went on!

        1. Yes, indeed it was a scrupulous process, just can’t imagine how our grand mothers were able to do it with enthusiasm. Nevertheless all their hard work didn’t go waste, they led a healthy life, never hospitalized nor underwent any surgery till the end. 🙂

  3. This is so perfect! I’ve been on a mission to use up all the scraps in my fridge, and I’ve had tamarind paste on the back shelf for ages. I couldn’t figure out what to do with it, but you’ve handily solved that problem. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

    1. Yes, it is so simple and easy, you can include this in your detox routine as well. ? Thank you!

  4. Such a fantastic presentation of the tamarind soup and its preparation.Your post was very informative and great to learn about the advantages of using tamarind and the different varieties of it. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I like the taste of tamarind and loved reading your recipe as well as the benefits of tamarind

    1. Yes, we all have so much to learn from our parents & grand parents’ lives.
      Thank you so much.

  6. This is wonderful! a big bowl of hearty soup in winter sounds fantastic. It is very cold here now… I am going to make Tamarind Soup!! Thank you!

    1. So nice to hear this, thank you so much. 🙂
      By the way, I suggest you to add few chunks of vegetables while boiling the tamarind juice, and enjoy with rice. I’m sure it will turn into a complete meal.

  7. Such an interesting ,easy and healthy soup to have.
    Yes it is solely the parents responsibility to introduce their children to the health benefits of food and encouraging them towards healthy and mindful eating.

error: Content is protected !!