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.
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.
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.
It tastes divine while taking puli thanniyum paruppu thuvaiyalum along with kai-kuthal arisi sadam (traditional hand-pounded rice) and sutta (or microwaved) 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)
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)
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.
Paruppu Thuvaiyal (Lentil chutney)
- 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.
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.
Puli Panakam (Tamarind juice)
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.