Of late this blog seems to be an irony for everything I used to hate as a kid. As far as I can remember, I never used to like tangy food. No raw mangoes, no raw tamarind, no gooseberries and nothing that every one of my friends loved. I had (and still have) a very strong sweet tooth and sweets were my thing. On the other hand, my sister used to love sour, tangy stuff. Of course, my mom could only do so much in a day and that meant, one of us had to compromise. Wondering where I am going with the story?! It is all about Pulihora, an easy one pot meal made from rice and tamarind – something that I used to detest as a kid.
Pulihora is a specialty from Andhra, in South India. There are many variations to it – like it is called Puliyodarai in Tamilnadu and Puliyogare in Karnataka. The preparations are quite different too, although they all are basically Tamarind rice recipes.
The one I am sharing here today is how my mom has always prepared. Although this seems like an easy one pot meal, it essentially is a festive food too. In a Telugu household, no festival or wedding is complete without a serving of Pulihora. As thick tamarind extract is cooked until thickened and added to the cooked rice, along with a flavorful tempering – not to forget the roasted peanuts, this makes for a great travel food too. In fact, a good Pulihora stays good for more than a day even when kept outside. There are people like my grandma who believe that Pulihora tastes much better the next day 🙂
To make Pulihora | Puliyodarai | Tamarind Rice
What I used –
- Cooked Rice, 2 cups
- Thick Tamarind Paste, 2 tsp (or Tamarind, lemon sized)
- Green Chillies, 2-3
- Peanuts, a handful
- Turmeric Powder, ¾ tsp
- Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
- Urad Dal, 1 tsp
- Chana Dal, 1 tsp
- Curry Leaves, a few
- Asafoetida, ¼ tsp
- Salt, as needed
- Oil, 2 tbsp
How I made –
1. As a part of preparation, cook the rice and cool it down completely by spreading it on a large plate. It is important to get the rice cooled down so that it doesn’t get lumpy.
2. In a small pan, heat 1.5 tbsp of oil. Add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal and peanuts. As mustard seeds begin to splutter and urad/chana dal, peanuts turns golden brown, add asafoetida and curry leaves. Switch off the flame. Add this tempering to the cooled down rice. Mix well.
3. In a small bowl, heat 1/2 cup of water. Add a small lemon sized ball of tamarind and let it soften up. When it is warm, squeeze out the tamarind pulp and strain it. Set aside.
4. Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil the same pan. Add slit green chillies and fry for a min. Add the prepared tamarind pulp. On a medium flame, cook this tamarind extract until it is quite thick and pulpy. Add turmeric powder and salt required for the rice. Switch off the heat.
5. Pour it over the rice. Mix well. Serve hot with potato roast/curd.
- I cooked the rice in the pressure cooker. For one cup of rice, I add 2 cups of water. Don’t stir the hot rice, let it cool down for more grainy texture.
- I added the salt required for the rice as well into the tamarind extract. Alternatively, add salt required for the rice while cooking it.
- When turmeric is initially added, it might give enough color. But within few minutes, the rice starts getting rich yellow color. So don’t add more than mentioned quantity of turmeric powder.
- If using ready-to-use tamarind pulp, add 1/3 to 1/2 cup of water to dilute it and cook until it is thick and pulpy again.
- If using fresh tamarind, boil ½ cup of water to the tamarind and boil it for 2-3 mins. Once cooled down, squeeze out the tamarind extract, strain it.
- For good yellow color, use new tamarind. If the tamarind is very dark, it affects the color of the rice.
- Adjust the number of green chillies as per spice preference.
- Preparing tempering separately helps keep the peanuts/urad dal/chana dal crispy. If required, instead of adding the tempering to the rice, directly add tamarind extract and cook it through. Peanuts don’t remain crisp and are chewy.