Cook's Hideout: Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice With Spice paste)

January 16, 2015

Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice With Spice paste)

Belated Sankranthi wishes to all of you who celebrate it. I had a very low key festival this year because my husband was away on business and the kids had school and after-school activities. So it was a busy day with too much going on. But I did make tamarind rice (Pulihora/ Puliyodarai) and Chakkara Pongal (Sweet pongal) for the festival.
Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice With Spice paste)
I tried both the recipes from Chandra Padmanabhan's 'Dakshin' cookbook. Both the dishes turned out just like the ones served in temples. My mom's tamarind rice is quite straight forward with just cooked tamarind, but this version has tamarind cooked with spices and it tasted just amazing. This cooked tamarind masala can be refrigerated and used as needed at a later time.

Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice With Spice paste)
Don't be intimidated with the long list of ingredients, almost all of them should be in a well stocked Indian pantry, if not it is good to have them in the pantry :-) Using gingelly oil gives this recipe a very unique and delicious taste. Making the tamarind paste is a little time consuming but since it is made in bulk; it makes it very easy with minimum efforts when made later.
Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice With Spice paste)
For Tamarind Chutney (Pullikaichal):
Tamarind paste - ½cup (about orange sized raw tamarind)
Turmeric Powder - ½tsp
Jaggery - 2tbsp, powdered
Salt - to taste

For the Spice Powder:
Oil - 2tbsp
Coriander seeds - ½cup
Dry red Chilies - 8
Asafoetida powder/ Hing - ½tsp
Black peppercorns - 1tsp
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1tsp
Mustard seeds - ½tsp
Chana dal - 1tbsp
Urad dal - 1tbsp

For the Garnish:
Sesame seeds - ¼cup
Dry grated coconut - 2tbsp

For the tempering:
Gingelly Oil - 2tbsp
Dry red chilies - 10
Mustard seeds - 2tsp
Chana Dal - 1tbsp
Curry leaves - 8~10

  • If using raw tamarind, then soak it in 3 cups of water and extract the juice. If using tamarind paste, add 2 cups of water to it and set aside.
  • To make the Spice powder: Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan and fry all the ingredients until golden and fragrant. Cool a little bit and grind to a fine powder.
  • For the Garnish: Dry roast the sesame seeds and dry grated coconut until golden. Cool slightly and grind to a fine powder. Set aside.
  • To make Tamarind Chutney: Heat 2tbsp gingelly oil, add red chilies and fry till dark brown.
  • Add the remaining ingredients for the tempering. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the tamarind juice, salt and jaggery.
  • Simmer on low heat till the mixture thickens almost to the consistency of a jam, about 10~12 minutes.
  • Add the spice powder and mix well.
  • Next add 2tbsp of the garnish powder. Mix well and turn off the heat. Reserve the remaining garnish powder for garnishing the rice.
  • Cool the tamarind chutney completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for later use.
To make Tamarind Rice:
Rice - 1cup (I use Sona masoori rice)
Tamarind Chutney (Pullikaichal) - 3~4tbsp
Gingelly Oil - 2tbsp
Turmeric - 1tsp
Salt - to taste

For Tempering:
Gingelly Oil - 1tbsp
Mustard seeds - 2tsp
Chana dal - 1tbsp
Urad dal - 1tbsp
Peanuts - ¼cup
Curry leaves - 10~12

  • Cook rice and make sure it does not get mushy and the grains are separate. Spread on a plate to cool.
  • Add the oil, turmeric and salt. Mix well.
  • Heat 1tbsp gingelly oil, add all the ingredients and fry till dals are golden and mustard seeds splutter. Add the tempering to the rice.
  • Add 3~4tbsp tamarind chutney and mix well.
  • Sprinkle the reserved garnish powder and mix well.
Puliyodarai (Tamarind Rice With Spice paste)

Linking this to Valli's 'Cooking from Cookbook ChallengeJanuary -- Week 3'.



  1. Mouth-watering, and what a lovely presentation!!! :)

  2. I can imagine the flavors . Very well made puliyodhari .

  3. So yum Pavani..can have this rice anytime of the day!


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