10 February, 2009

Coconut-Mango Pulihara/Chitranna: Recreating Forgotten Taste...

Coconut-Mango Pulihara

Last week of March and just a day away from 2 months summer break. Yes, it was the day before my last exam and every year we had same exam to write, Moral Science!!! I always felt that it had to be some immoral and sadist person’s way of making us kids suffer one more day in the name of exams. Yes, Moral science paper which was not at all counted in the final exam valuation. So there was no question of studying! We kids were all excited about 2 long months of sun, mangoes, ice creams and candies, meeting our cousins (more like a bunch of monkey soldiers from Ramayana), lazy afternoons, swim in a stream and late nights.

The day before last exam was also the day where our home buzzed with excitement and non-stop ringing of telephones from our cousins. “Don’t forget to pack your cricket bat and wickets”, said one cousin to my brother. “And bring along that new board games too”, screamed another cousin of mine. “Did you pack your piggy bank for Goli Sodas and ice candies? I have 58 rupees 75 paisa in my piggy bank”, I whispered to my sister in excitement. “And Amma promised that she will give us 20 rupees each when we go to Grandma’s place”, said my chuckling brother.

At last it was the day which we all were eagerly looking forward to. We were too excited to even sleep in the previous night thinking what if we overslept and no one woke us! We surprised our parents by getting up from bed without any alarm and got ready in lightening speed. After quick breakfast, we went through our list of things-to-pack, making sure that we have not left anything behind. Then the waiting game began….

Every five minutes we would look at the clock and then look out on the road for the sign of military green jeep. Our three year old brother continued to stare at the clock without batting his eyelids to make sure that the big hand in clock is moving towards 12 while the small one was at 10. Just when the clock was about to strike ten, we saw a giant green jeep coming towards our house and we would start waving both our hands, screaming at top of our voice to make sure that our uncle noticed all three devils. We never wanted to take risk as what if he at that time suffers from short-term memory loss and drives away!

Every time our uncle came to pick us and along with him were my cousins whom he had picked from their home on the way. Without giving him much time to think about the weeks of torture he will have to face, we would pressure him to take us to Ajji’s home even before he could finish his coffee made by his elder sister, making him choke on the Chakkuli’s that he was busy stuffing his mouth with. Within few minutes we would dump our bags on second rows of seats and jumped into the back of this giant of jeep that served also served as boot for carrying gunny bags filled with Areca nuts, rice and Cocoa from farm. That place was our favourite place to play cards, board games and also house-house game. A thick blanket with green and black checks was spread on a 5 feet by 5 feet boot and we six cousins sat on it spreading tiny stainless steel kitchen toys. While some pretended to be mothers, others were their husbands and kids. While the husbands and kids went to school by jumping to second and front rows of seats, mothers of the family busied themselves with cooking and gossiping! Thus the game went on till we travelled for 3 hours and at last reached our granny’s place.

Those blissful days of fun and frolic…. The days of innocence and carefree spirits… Ah! The magical world of childhood where few rupees were more precious than today’s millions of rupees!!! The simple days where drinking Goli Soda and licking the ice cream running down on your arms were the ultimate pleasures any kid ever wanted!!! The carefree days where seat belts in vehicles were unheard of and two or three wounds on knees were considered too small an issue to even look at!!! I can give up everything to live those days again!

As the nostalgia hits me hard again, I try to loosen the knots of my memories to weave the beautiful days of my childhood… While my mind is busily knitting the colourful days, my hands pick up the ingredients to create a long forgotten recipe from my grand ma’s kitchen. While my mind pictures the retro coloured visuals of one of my favourite childhood favourites, my taste buds, along with my nose join my fingers in typing a familiar name quickly on Google search. And voila, with in few minutes I come across this recipe which very much sounds and looks like the one I have in my mind. Thanks to Mika, I was able to recreate the taste from my childhood which I had thought was buried with the death of my grandma. I found the same taste and aroma of my Ajji’s Coconut-Mango Pulihara/Chitranna in Mika’s recipe for Mango Rice and it was indeed as refreshing and tantalising as I remembered it to be.

Coconut-Mango Pulihara

Sweet Coconut, sour mangoes, spicy green chillies and pungent mustards, a flavour sensation in true sense! Crunch from the Tadka and peanuts is just added bonus to this unbelievably simple and delicious Coconut-Mango Pulihara/Chitranna. Only thing I missed was the small bowl prepared using banana leaves that would fit nicely between our small hands. My granny made these parcels of Coconut-Mango Pulihara in fresh banana leaves tied with threads made using banana stems and put it in a basket made using thick base leaves of areca nut plants along with small bowls made using banana leaves whenever we kids left for our trip to nearby ponds or hills. Can you think of any other better way of saving mother earth and better bio-degradable bags and plates? The heavenly smell of coconut-mango-chilli-mustard mixed with fresh smelling banana leaves is something I will never be able to put it into words. It is something that one has to experience to know exactly what I mean! If you are lucky enough to get some fresh, sour mangoes make it at once and experience the true flavour of simple ingredients. And if you are really-really lucky enough to get fresh banana leaves, just serve this warm Coconut-Mango Pulihara/Chitranna in it to take a small trip to heaven!

Coconut, Mango, Green Chillies & Mustard Powder for Coconut-Mango Pulihara

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Coconut-Mango Pulihara/Chitranna (Rice flavoured with ground mixture of fresh Coconut, Green Mango and Mustard Powder)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins (If using leftover Rice) - 30 mins (If using fresh Rice)
Serves: 3-4
Recipe Source: The Green Jackfruit
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Low to Medium
Serving Suggestion: Serve as it is or with any Raita/Yogurt and Tender Mango Pickle

1½ cups Rice (Preferably Sona Masuri or Basmati)
1 cup Fresh Coconut Pieces or ¾ packed cup grated Coconut
1-1½ cups Green Raw Mango Pieces (you can peel the skin if needed)
3-5 Green Chillies (Adjust acc to taste)
2 tsp Mustard Seeds, ground to Powder using coffee grinder or Pestle & Mortar
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Sugar (Optional but recommended)
¼ cup Roasted Peanuts or Cashews
1-2 tsp Fresh Lime/Lemon Juice (optional, use it if the mangoes are not sour enough)
Salt to taste

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tbsp Urad Dal
1 tbsp Channa Dal
2 Dry Red Chillies, halved
Few Curry Leaves
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
1-2 tbsp Ghee or Oil
Coconut-Mango Pulihara

Cook rice using 1:2 ratios of rice and water. Once cooked, separate each grain with a help of fork and keep it aside to cool. The best rice is usually the leftovers from previous day’s dinner or lunch.
Take coconut pieces, mango pieces and green chillies in a food processor or mixer and pulse it to get roughly ground paste without adding any water. You should get bits and pieces of coconut, mangoes and chilli when you eat this rice. Keep this mixture aside.
Heat oil or ghee in a pan and add mustard seeds to it. When mustard starts to pop and splutter, add channa dal, urad dal, dry red chillies, curry leaves and hing. Sauté till dals turn golden brown.
Mix in ground coconut-mango-green chilli mixture, mustard powder, turmeric powder and sugar and give it a good toss for 2-3 mins and switch off the flame. Remember not to over cook this ground mixture as you want to retain the raw sour taste of mangoes. Add lime or lemon juice, if using, and salt to taste and mix well.
Mix in cooked rice and toasted peanuts or cashews and give it a good toss so that every grain of rice is coated well with ground mixture. Serve this delicious Coconut-Mango Pulihara/Chitranna hot as it is or with yogurt or any raita and pickle of your choice and enjoy.


  1. Hi ..
    I am wondering hw i miss ur blog ...u have a great blog ...delicious dishes with fantastic pictures ..Keep up the good work ..will come again soon ..keep in touch

  2. pulihara looks excellent..sour and spicy.. what's there not to love it? :)awesome pic as ever.

  3. Looks so so.. yum! I love it!

  4. I think I loved your description of the childhood holidays more than the dish :)
    the rice looks delicious and your anecdote really lifted my mood and made me all nostalgic :)

    - Indhu

  5. Truly nostalgic indeed.. we call it Mavinkai Chitranna! Yep... it brings back memories of summer holidays, ajji mane... and mangoes.. more mangoes

  6. Moral Science... Thaks for reviving fond memories. Once time in a test we were asked to give our own names to our Gods...& a friend wrote "grandfather"...

    That rice looks awesome, like i could pick and eat.
    I saved a coconut bowl, after i saw it in ur blog:-)

  7. what a lovely combination! my favorite part is biting into the peanuts :)

  8. Looks delicious and very tempting. Nice pics as usual :)

  9. Love the pic of the raw materials!

  10. drool...tht looks delish! u have great photography skills too! i added a link to ur blog on mine.
    would love to revisit :)

  11. Lovely prelude! yup I share similar excitement during summer breaks!n we guys head to our beautiful village for solid 2 months.

    lovely pulihara!

  12. omg...i remember this being made :) Thanks for sharing

  13. yummo! please parcel that bowl of rice to Singapore :D I am drooling over that pic now :)

  14. By any chance had u ever been to Kumbh mela?The one famous for separating the siblings from each other??
    No just asking coz,in my latest post ,me too freaked out on childhood memories and after reading your posts,i feel a sort of connectivity between ur thoughts and mine,and hence the question of BICHRI HUI BEHNE !
    Loved the fond memories of urs,loved the recipe and loved the pics as usual :-)

  15. lovely post,..i guess childhood days re the best days of our lives,..:-)

  16. You had lot of fun with our cousins in your grandmothers place.
    I love the way your younger bro was staring to the clock.
    I was a moms child so when my sisters went to my granmothers place , i stayed back at home with mom as i didn't like to go any where without her.

  17. The maavinkayi chitraanna (as we call it) looks great, Sup!

    Childhood days were so much fun, weren't they? Reading your post took me down memory lane. That reminds me - how are Seema and Soumya doing? Were they a part of this brigade too?

  18. Sia, beautifully written! You gal made me nostalgic too,. Memories are always so beautiful.
    Looks immensely delectable and its making me hungry!

  19. wow, I love mavinkai chitranna ... my absolute fave .. we make it for uadgi every year without fail .. its like a tradition .. fabuluous pic

  20. loved this recipe and loved the photos as well. I believe, this is my first time here.. wonderful blog!

  21. awesome click!!..loved ur story too..:)

  22. Hi Sia

    Excellent blog, and amazing pictures.can i know what camera you use to click the pictures.


  23. ah, those were the memories. Beautiful childhood, revisited with your wonderful description Sia! Mango-coconut pulihora is a new recipe to me. looks gorgeous and yummy.

  24. wow Sia pulihara looks very delicious & love all photos. I bet this pulihara must be tasted heavenly good

  25. Hey girl, where and how do you get green mango now? I want to move back to UK again! Chitranna looks so yummy, beautiful photo too.

    My grinder is coming today, hopefully it will be not damaged when I get it. I have been wanting to buy one but couldn't decide which one. Fingers crossed, hope I like it! :)

  26. Delicious..one pot meal...love the recipe

  27. Ur memories are always fresh like it was yest! Very different pulihara with a tangy and nutty touch

  28. wow!!, first time to your blog. I'm speechless, everything in your blog is good.., the stories behind each recipes, the pictures & the recipes are awesome
    Keep it up. I'm truly inspired by your way of presenting recipes.

  29. bery well writen post. Yummy chitranna.. i hv done it will post it very soon. recipe is lil twisted in here.

    hows tmarind woman?

  30. You have a yummy blog dear. Missed many posts somehow.
    Mango Pulihora and your memories are delectable. Those moral exams, holiday schedules everything makes me remember my childhood days.

  31. Looks wonderful Sia.Lovely description of ur childhood too.We call it Maanga Saadham/Mavinkai Chitranna

  32. I am so going to make this. Gosh my mouth is just watering here and the colours!

  33. Love your recipe blogs and the way you give credit where it is due! Beautiful childhood storeis that made me feel nostalgic for my own! Thank you for your awesome photos and detailed recipes with exact measurements to re-produce the exact same taste in our own kitchen! I am not a Recipe Blog fan, considering how many repeat the same recipes with just a minor change to call it their own, with no imagination or creativity. Some of these recipes I tried, did not turn out as tasty as my mother's though, it was claimed as their grandma's or mother's and mother-in law's! Love your original ideas....thanks for a great blog and the effort you put into it!


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