Pulimaa Upma

Hello everyone! It’s been really a very long time since I posted any new recipe in my site. It has been a very hectic year and I really couldn’t manage time for blogging. Today, I am going to write about a very traditional Tamil Brahmin dish, Pulimaa Upma which is generally made as an evening tiffin or snack.

I was introduced to this dish by my mother in law. She made it quite often as it was sister in law’s favourite evening snack. When I got married, she was in her 12th standard. I remember her asking my mother in law asking for this particular dish often. Well, considering this dish’s yummy quotient, it’s very understandable.

Really, I am not exaggerating. It’s a simple dish made with simple ingredients, but it really entices your palate. Those who have had a taste of this delicacy, will certainly agree with me.

Coming to dish, as the name suggests, it’s made with puli ( tamarind), maa or maavu ( rice flour) , basic spices and generous amount of sesame oil and some patience too:)

It is very simple to make and a yummy evening tiffin. I have added some roasted peanuts to this traditional dish to add some crunch and also to increase the protein content of the dish, thus making it more wholesome:)

Pulimaa Upma


Rice flour – 2 cups

Tamarind – small lemon sized ball

Sesame oil – 4-5 tbsps

Red chillies- 8-10

Mustard seeds- 1 tsp

Urad dal ( ullundhu) – 1 tsp

Chana dal ( kadala paruppu) – 1 tsp

Roasted peanuts – 2 tbsps

Asafoetida- 1/4th tsp

Curry leaves – 2-3 sprigs

Salt to taste


  1. Soak tamarind in a cup of water for 15-20 mins.
  2. Dry roast the rice flour on a medium flame till it turns golden. To test if it’s roasted well, take a pinch of the flour and draw a line with the flour. If it’s done well, you must be able to draw a fine line. Keep the flour aside.
  3. Squeeze the tamarind well and make an extract. Strain the extract. Add more water to the extract such that it measures to 4 cups of tamarind extract ( 2 cups of flour and so 4 cups of water).
  4. Add salt to taste and asafoetida to the tamarind extract and mix well. You can add a very little amount of jaggery if you want ( optional).
  5. Heat a heavy bottom pan ( iron pan is very ideal). Add 2 tbsps of sesame oil.
  6. To the hot oil, add mustard. Once it starts spluttering, add urad dal, chana dal, roasted peanuts, curry leaves and broken red chillies. Sauté till the peanuts turn golden and then add the tamarind extract.
  7. When the tamarind extract starts boiling, reduce the flame and then add the roasted rice flour slowly and keep stirring while adding the flour to prevent lump formation.
  8. Once all the flour is added, stir continuously to mix the flour well and break the small lumps of flour. Add 2 more tbsps of oil and mix well. Close the pan with a lid and let it cook on a medium flame for 5 mins.
  9. Open the lid, add another tbsp or two of sesame oil, mix well and keep stirring till the flour turns to mildly crispy crumble. It would be soft to touch but will have slight crunch.
  10. At this stage, you can take it off the flame. Just let it rest for few mins and then serve it warm. There is no need for any accompaniment for this delicacy. It has all the flavours in it, enough to entice your palate. Savour every bite and enjoy your meal:)