South Indian Puliyogare / Tamarind Rice

Some days I plan a whole week's meals ahead and shop accordingly. Well.. plans don't always work. Other days, I keep staring at the pantry and refrigerator to come up with some delicious menu. Turns out, South Indian Puliyogare is my plan of action for today. Puliyogare is a simple, yet tasty rice with a tangy tamarind flavor.

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Raw Peanuts/Shenga - 1/4 cup
Whole Cashews/Kaju - 2 tbsp (optional)
Desiccated (dry) Coconut/Kopra - 1 1/2 tbsp
Coriander Seeds/Dhane - 2 tsp
Chana Dal/Split Chickpeas - 2 tsp
Sesame Seeds/Til - 1 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal/Split Black Gram - 1 tsp
Methi/Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dry Red Chilies - 5
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafetida/Hing - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves/Kadhipata - a sprig
Jaggery/Gur - 1 tbsp
Tamarind/Imli - a big lemon sized ball
Oil - 2 1/2 tbsp

How to cook South Indian Puliyogare Rice:
  • In a small bowl, add about 1 cup water. Add tamarind to the bowl and microwave it for 20 - 25 seconds. Let the tamarind soak in warm water for about an hour or so. When tamarind softens, slightly mash it with your hands. Squeeze out the juice from the softened tamarind and discard the skin. Use a strainer if required.
  • Wash raw Basmati rice well, about 4 - 5 times. Cook the washed rice with 1 1/2 cups water in a pressure cooker. Make sure the rice is not overcooked or mushy. Let the cooked rice cool down a bit. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork and set it aside. Puliyogare is an excellent recipe to finish off leftover rice.
  • For dry roasting the ingredients, heat a thick bottom pan. Add dry coconut, coriander seeds, chana dal, sesame seeds, urad dal, methi seeds and dry red chilies. Break each chili into 3 - 4 small pieces. I used Byadagi chilies which impart a nice red color, but not too hot. Roast all the ingredients at low heat, until they change slightly in color and turn aromatic. After cooling, grind the roasted ingredients to a fine powder. This Puliyogare Powder can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container for weeks.
  • Pat the curry leaves dry.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and asafoetida. When mustard seeds pop, add peanuts, cashews and curry leaves. Saute for a couple minutes. Add the puliyogare powder and saute at low heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Now add the watery tamarind extract, jaggery and salt. Continue cooking until it turns into a thick paste. This paste is called as Puliyogare Gojju / Masala. Again, this Gojju can be made ahead and refrigerated.
  • Depending on how tangy or sweet you want the rice to be, add more or less tamarind and jaggery. If jaggery is not available, molasses is a good substitute.
  • Lastly, add rice and gently mix until rice is heated through. Serve hot Puliyogare with papad, cucumbers and yogurt.


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