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Celebrating Mothers

A Collection of Favorite Recipes from our Mothers

Pooli Curry/ Mixed Vegetable Curry

 A bowl of Pooli Curry/Mixed Vegetable Curry

Puli/Pooli Curry/Mixed Vegetable Curry

In Tamil, Puli/Pooli means, sour taste. The pulp of tamarind is often added to create sourness in many foods including Puli/Pooli curry, a mixed vegetable curry. I find that if you use extra tomatoes, that does add a bit of sourness and it is not necessay to use tamarind. If you prefer to use tamarind pulp just a ¼ teaspoon should provide a hint of sourness.

The sour taste should not be overpowering. Puli curry was often made by my mother in law, Parasathee Pather. It was always delicious. Puli curry served with rice and Raita makes a delicious meal. You may choose any variety of vegetables. The most common are potatoes, green beans, squash, green banana, broad beans or Lima beans. If Drum sticks are available, use that as well. Drum sticks may be fresh of frozen.

I have attempted to make my Puli/Pooli curry as much like my mother in law's as possible. The recipe follows.


  • 1 large potato cut into 4-6 pieces
  • 1 cup broad beans or Lima beans. (canned or boiled)
  • ½ zuchini ( Alternatively you may use 1 gem squash cut into quarters)
  • ½ bell pepper, any variety
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 2 small egg-plants/brinjals
  • 6-8 pieces drumsticks
  • 1 very green medium size banana*
  • 4-5 Roma tomatoes or 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • About 8-10 ½ pieces of green beans, fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup sliced onion
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
  • 1 tsp. crushed ginger
  • 7 tblsp. oil
  • 3-4 cups water


  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 3 full tsps. coriander/dhania powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin/jeera powder
  • 1 tsp. fennel/soomph powder
  • Sprigs of coriander leaves & curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • ½ tsp. fenugreek powder/methie
  • Salt - about 2 tsps. or taste


  • It is convenient to have all the ingredients available before you start cooking
  • Wash all fresh vegetables. Slice or chop
  • Heat oil on medium-high setting
  • Add onion, cook for a few seconds, then add , curry leaves, ginger & garlic. Stir contents
  • Add tomatoes, mix then add spices & blend. Follow with potatoes. Lower heat, cook for about 5 minutes, the add 1 cup of water and cook for another 5 minutes
  • Add eggplants, drum sticks & green banana, sliced in rings, (also gem squash, if using)
  • Mix well and add 2 cups water.Lower heat & continue cooking
  • Add salt. Test to feel the potato. If it begins to feel soft to the touch, add the zucchini and butter beans
  • If curry looks dry add another cup of water. Otherwise close lid and cook on low-medium temperature.
  • Be careful when stirring the vegetables so as not to mash them
  • When the potato is soft to the touch, it is generally a sign that the curry is cooked
  • Add coriander leaves and serve with rice or bread

Delicious Puli curry made by a family member

This Puli Curry was made by my cousin, an excellent cook

Fresh drum sticks to be cut into small pieces

Thes fresh drumsticks should be rinsed, scraped, then cut into small pieces. Frozen drumsticks may be used instead

small eggplants that are used in the recipe

Eggplants like these can be used in the recipe

A plate of colorful peppers, but just ½ of a pepper is used in this recipe

Just ½ of a pepper is used in this recipe

About Puli Curry

Regarding *green banana, if you do not get fresh green bananas where you live, you my use a handful savory green banana chips. But to do this towards the later stages of cooking as it will be melted in if it is added too early.

There are many versions of Puli/Pooli curry as there are cooks who make this dish. I have included an image of Puli/Pooli Curry cooked by a cousin. This was made especially for us when we visited. It was beautiful to look at as well as so very tasty. If you use boiled broad/Lima beans, this can be done ahead of time. Boil the beans either using a pressure cooker or a regular method to boil beans.

Yams are also often used in this curry. Because there are so many vegetables used, one has to consider the cooking time of the various vegetables. It is best to start cooking with vegetables that take the longest time to cook. That way the quick cooking ingredients like zucchini do not get soft and limp or mashed. Frozen drumsticks may be found at local Indian grocers.

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If you have any questions or would like to add a recipe of your own, email me, Nirmala, at

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