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Tamarind rice/Puliyodharai/Pulihora

Tamarind rice or puliyodharai recipe is an authentic and traditional favourite among South Indians, speckled with various spices, roasted lentils & nuts and aromatic curry leaves.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3 to 4 servings for cups of cooked rice
Author: Padma


  • For the spice Powder:
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 12 to 15 dry red chillies
  • ½ cup split Bengal gram
  • ¼ cup whole black gram without skin
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ cup coriander seeds
  • ½ teaspoon asafoetida
  • Handful of curry leaves
  • For the Tamarind paste:
  • ¼ cup Bengal gram soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  • 3 cups thick tamarind juice extracted from 150 grams Tamarind
  • 8 green chillies slit in half
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 to 1½ Tablespoon salt Adjust to your taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • All of the Spice powder prepared above
  • For the seasoning:
  • 4 Tablespoons oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons split Bengal gram
  • 1 Tablespoon whole black gram without skin
  • 5 dry red chillies
  • 10 cashew nuts
  • ½ cup peanuts
  • ½ teaspoon asafoetida
  • Handful of curry leaves
  • For the Tamarind rice:
  • 2 cups cooked rice Sona Masoori rice or equivalent
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons of the above prepared tamarind paste
  • Salt only if necessary check after mixing the paste and add


  • For the Spice Powder: Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and roast all the ingredients under the heading “For the powder” (except asafoetida and curry leaves) until you get a nice aroma and the lentils turn golden brown colour.
  • Finally add asafoetida, curry leaves and sauté till the curry leaves are crispy.
  • Turn off the heat and cool the roasted ingredients.
  • Grind the roasted ingredients to a coarse powder using a blender. Set aside to use later.
  • For the Tamarind Paste: Soak split Bengal gram in hot water for about 10 minutes.
  • Soak tamarind in 2 cups of hot water and extract thick juice.
  • Now add another cup of water and squeeze well. Strain the juice using a strainer and discard the pulp.
  • To this tamarind extract, drain and add soaked bengal gram along with green chillies, oil, turmeric powder, salt and sugar.
  • Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat with occasional stirring.
  • Let the mixture reduce to 2/3rd of the quantity. This may take around 15 to 20 minutes.
  • To this, add the spice powder mix. Let it boil for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • For the seasoning, heat oil in a pan and add all the ingredients under the heading “For the seasoning” one after the other in the given order (except asafoetida and curry leaves). Once the mustard seeds splutter and the nuts and lentils turn golden brown, add asafoetida and curry leaves and turn off the heat. Transfer the seasoning to the tamarind paste and mix well.
  • For tamarind rice: Spread the cooked rice on a plate/bowl to cool. Add oil and turmeric powder when it is still warm. Once the rice cools down, mix gently without breaking the rice.
  • Now add 2 Tablespoons of the prepared tamarind paste. Mix well using your hands, so that every grain of rice is coated with the tamarind paste. Add one more tablespoon of the paste if required.
  • It takes at least 30 minutes for the rice to imbibe all the flavours after combining with the tamarind paste.
  • Adjust salt. You can also add some more tamarind paste if you want it more spicy or tangy.
  • Serve with potato chips or potato fry. For all the carnivores out there try it with chicken curry or chicken fry.


You can adjust spice levels with the tamarind paste or you can reduce or increase dry red chillies in the spice powder preparation or green chillies in the tamarind paste preparation.
The tamarind paste can be stored for 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator and used when required. You can store even longer by increasing the quantity of oil.
It takes at least 30 minutes for the rice to imbibe all the flavours after combining with the mixture. Give that time before serving.