Tamarind Rice Recipe

Puliyodarai, or tamarind rice, is a delicious South Indian delicacy that provides plain rice with a spicy edge. Made with chana dal and urad dal, this dish is enriched with the bold flavors of tamarind pulp, spices, and roasted peanuts. Perfect for parties and celebrations, this tangy rice dish promises a joyful ride of lip-smacking flavors. Here, we provide a detailed, easy-to-follow recipe for Tamarind Rice that will leave you and your guests wanting more.


Ingredients for Tamarind Rice

Servings: 4

  • 2 cups rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 12 curry leaves
  • 4 teaspoons tamarind paste
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 dry red chilies
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons roasted peanuts

Step-by-Step Preparation

  • Step 1: Cook the Rice:

Begin by steaming the rice in a pressure cooker. After cooking, let the rice cool down to room temperature. This ensures that the grains remain separate when mixed with the tamarind paste later.

  • Step 2: Dry Roast the Sesame Seeds:

In a pan over medium heat, dry roast the sesame seeds until they turn light brown. As they roast, the seeds will start to pop and release a delightful aroma. Once done, set the roasted sesame seeds aside to cool.

  • Step 3: Dry Roast the Spices:

Using the same pan, dry roast the following spices: chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, fennel seeds, dried red chilies, and curry leaves. Keep stirring constantly to ensure even roasting. Once the spices turn light brown, transfer them to a plate and let them cool completely.

  • Step 4: Prepare Tamarind Water:

If using tamarind paste, dissolve it in 1 cup of hot water. If using whole tamarind, soak it in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then squeeze out all the pulp. This tamarind water is the essence of the dish, providing the characteristic tangy flavor.

  • Step 5: Grind the Sesame Seeds and Spices:

Once the sesame seeds and spices have cooled completely, coarsely grind the sesame seeds and set them aside for garnishing. Pulverise the roasted spices to a fine powder. This spice blend is what gives Tamarind Rice its distinctive taste.

  • Step 6: Temper the Mustard Seeds:

In a pan, heat the oil over a low flame.. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let them pop. This tempering process releases the flavors of the mustard seeds into the oil.

  • Step 7: Sauté the Red Chilies and Curry Leaves:

Add dry red chilies and curry leaves to the pan. Cook for approximately a minute until they smell aromatic.

  • Step 8: Roast the Peanuts:

Add the roasted peanuts to the pan and roast them until they turn light brown. The peanuts provide the food with a delicious crunch.

  • Step 9: Add Tamarind Water:

Pour the prepared tamarind water into the pan and stir to mix with the peanuts. Bring the mixture to a boil, allowing the tamarind’s tangy flavor to infuse into the ingredients.

  • Step 10: Incorporate the Spice Powder and Additional Ingredients:

Add the freshly ground spice powder, turmeric powder, jaggery, and salt to the pan. Be cautious with the salt, especially if your cooked rice already contains salt. Mix well and let the gravy simmer until it thickens to a paste-like consistency.

  • Step 11: Combine Rice with Tamarind Paste:

Add the cooled, boiled rice to the pan. Gently mix until all the rice grains are evenly coated with the tamarind masala paste. Ensure that the rice and spices are well integrated.

  • Step 12: Garnish and Serve:

Transfer the Tamarind Rice to a serving dish. Garnish with the coarsely ground sesame seeds for added flavor and texture. Serve hot and enjoy the tangy, spicy, and nutty flavors of this traditional dish.

Tips for Perfect Tamarind Rice

  • Selecting the Rice:

For the best results, use medium or short-grain rice, which absorbs flavors well and maintains a firm texture.

  • Adjusting the Tanginess:

The tanginess of Tamarind Rice can be adjusted by varying the amount of tamarind paste. Start with the recommended amount and adjust to your taste preference.

  • Enhancing the Flavor:

Roasting the spices and peanuts enhances their flavors, giving the dish a rich and aromatic profile. Be sure not to skip these steps for an authentic taste.

Serving Suggestions:

Tamarind Rice is versatile and pairs well with various accompaniments:

  • Yogurt or Raita: A cool, refreshing yogurt or cucumber raita balances the tangy flavors of the rice.
  • Papad: Serve with crispy papad for an added crunch.
  • Pickles: A side of Indian pickles complements the tanginess of the rice.

Nutritional Information

  • Caloric Content:

A serving of Tamarind Rice contains approximately 350-400 calories, making it a hearty and satisfying meal.

  • Health Benefits:

Tamarind: Rich in antioxidants and aids in digestion.

Peanuts: Provide healthy fats, protein, and fiber.

Sesame Seeds: Tremendous source of calcium, iron, and magnesium.


Tamarind Rice is a delightful dish that combines tangy tamarind, aromatic spices, and crunchy peanuts to create a flavorful and satisfying meal. Easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your household. Taste it and really enjoy every bite’s explosion of flavor!


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