Tamarind Rice

Tamarind Rice is a popular dish (which is plain rice mixed with Pulikachal), which is generally on the menu at big parties, functions, certain festivals and picnics. It is known as Puliyodarai in Tamil Nadu and Pulihora in Andhra Pradesh.  The recipe may seem elaborate, but while the gravy is being cooked ( which is about half an hour ) you can work on a couple of other dishes as you do not have to do much once the masala powder has been made and the gravy is on the stove!!

The beauty of this dish is that the pulikachal  can be prepared weeks earlier provided it is stored in a cool dry place or in the fridge!!
The rice can be cooked on that day and mixed with the pulikachal and served!!!  This way one dish on the menu for a party is off your mind!!!!!

Ingredients to make Pulikachal (about 500 grams of tamarind gravy mix)

Big Lime size Tamarind
1 Cup Hot water (to soak the tamarind)
5-6  Cups Warm Water
5-6 Tsp Salt

For the Masala Powder

1 Tbs Oil
4 Red chillies
½ inch piece Asafoetida
2 Tbs Coriander Seeds
1 Tsp Fenugreek seeds
4 Tbs White Sesame Seeds


¼ Cup Oil
2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
4 Red Chillies
2 Tsp. Channa Dal or Yellow Split Peas
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
15 Cashew nuts (chopped in half)
15-20 Raw Peanuts
Few Curry leaves


1 Cup Raw Rice
1 Cup Basmati Rice
3 Cups Water


Soak the tamarind in a cup of hot water for about half a hour
Extract the tamarind juice with the 6 cups of water to make a thick gravy and keep aside

Heat the tablespoon of oil
Add the fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, 4 red chillies, sesame seeds and the asafoetida and fry for about 2 minutes on medium heat.
Grind it into a fine powder and set aside

Heat the ¼ cup of the oil and add mustard seeds.
When the mustard crackles, add the remainder of the red chillies, channa Dal or yellow split peas, turmeric powder, cashew nuts, peanuts and curry leaves and fry till the nuts turn golden brown.

Add the extracted tamarind gravy and the salt .
Allow it to cook on slow fire for about 15 minutes
Add the ground powder to the gravy and cook it further for about 30 minutes – or till the gravy thickens and is semi solid in consistency

The pulikachal is now done!!

In the meantime, pressure cook the 2 cups of rice with the 3 cups of water.
The rice should be cooled preferably spread on a large plate
Add the pulikachal gravy little by little to the rice and mix it gently but thoroughly preferably with a wooden ladle till the entire rice is covered with the tamarind mix
(approximately 3-4 ladles of the mix will be required for the 3 cups of  uncooked rice –
my preference is to heat a couple of tablepoons of gingilli oil,  add a pinch of turmeric powder and fresh curry leaves.  Pour this on to the rice before mixing)

The bottled pulikachal is ideal for holidays and camps as it keeps fresh for a month if stored in a cool place. It tastes good when spread on hot toasts too!!
My preference is to use a combination of basmati (long grain) rice and raw rice as it provides an added taste, flavour and a wonderful appetising look to the dish!!