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Puliyodharai |Tamarind Rice

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I have tasted Puliyodharai aka Tamarind rice at my friend’s place and always wanted to make this. Though I never searched for a recipe earlier and use to think it is just adding tamarind paste to the rice. No it is not just that. A few spices along with tamarind and the masalas are cooked to perfection. They are then mixed with rice, allowed to rested for sometime for the flavours to develop.

Puliyodharai |Tamarind Rice

Puliyodarai, Puliyogare, or simply Tamarind Rice is a very popular South Indian rice-based dish usually eaten as a snack or for breakfast. Puli means sour taste and Ogara means rice thus Puliyogare means sour tasting rice

I love to find authentic recipes. So my quest for an authentic recipe landed me this recipe. Her description of the process of making the tamarind paste (pulikaachal ) and as the main ingredient in Puliyodharai aka Tamarind Rice, convinced me that this is the perfect recipe. The fact that it is a traditional recipe, made me look no further. I immediately shortlisted this to try and I am glad I did.

Puliyodharai |Tamarind Rice

A few things to remember in this recipe are first, tamarind masala paste (pulikaachal ). If that is perfect your Puliyodharai aka Tamarind Rice would be simply tasty. The rice should be perfectly cooked and not soggy. Third, once the masala is mixed you need to let the rice rest for at least 1 hour for the flavors to develop. I know the wait is difficult, but it is one of the crucial steps.

Puliyodharai |Tamarind Rice

I have prepared a jar of this tamarind masala and whenever I have some leftover rice or I at times prepare rice only to make this. This can be one of your easy tiffin box recipes. Just make it a day earlier and pack it, your rice will develop the taste overnight and would be flavourful and yum.

Puliyodharai |Tamarind Rice

Puliyodharai |Tamarind Rice

A tangy rice dish made with a mix of masalas infused with the flavor of tamarind pulp to get the perfect Iyengar Style Puliyodharai aka Tamarind rice.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Gluten Free, Vegan
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 25 minutes
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre


Spice Powder

  • 3 teaspoon coriander seeds (dhania seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
  • 3-4 dry red chillies (add more for spicy)
  • 3 teaspoon white sesame seeds (Til)
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper

For Tamarind paste / pulikaachal

  • 1/3 Cup sesame oil (Gingely oil)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (Rai)
  • 2 teaspoon chana dal
  • 4 dry red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon Gluten Free Hing (Asafoetida) **Please see Notes
  • 2 teaspoon Turmeric (Haldi)
  • 3 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoon jaggery
  • Big lemon sized tamarind

To Serve

  • Rice as required


Spice Powder

  • Dry roast all the ingredients listed under spice powder one by one.
  • Dry roast on slow until they are dark and golden.
  • Keep it aside on a plate to cool.
  • Once the spices are cooled, grind it to a fine powder.

Tamarind Pulp

  • Soak a big lemon size tamarind in 2 cups of water for at least 30 minutes.
  • Squeeze the tamarind to extract the pulp.
  • Strain the pulp and discard the seeds.
  • Set aside.

Pulikaachal – Tamarind Paste

  • In a pan add the sessame oil.
  • Once hot, add in the mustard seeds.
  • Let the mustard seeds splutter.
  • Now add the red chillies, and chana dal.
  • Roast on slow till the chana dal is golden.
  • Now add the tamarind extract / pulp.
  • Add the hing, turme3ric powder and curry leaves.
  • Add in the roasted peanuts, salt and jaggery.
  • Simmer the tamarind mixture on low flame for 15-20 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame and now add the ground spice powder.
  • Mix and allow it cool completely.
  • Store this mix, in a clean and sterile jar in refrigerator for later use.

Assembling the Tamarind Rice

  • One can use leftover rice or make fresh rice for making Tamarind Rice.
  • Do not let the rice to go mushy.
  • Once the rice is cooled completely, mix half a cup of prepard tamarind paste – pulikaachal.
  • Half a cup should be sufficient for 2-3 cups of prepared rice.
  • One can add more or less of the tamarind paste as per taste.
  • Adjust salt if required.
  • Mix well to combine.
  • Let it sit for at least 1 hour before serving.
  • Serve it with some papad.


  • Asafoetida (Hing) powder available in shops contains wheat and is not gluten free. Gluten intolerant people can either skip completely or opt for Gluten Free Asafoetida (Hing)
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu_ad or tag #cookwithrenu_ad
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist. The nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It varies depending upon the product types or brands.

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Puliyodharai |Tamarind Rice - A tangy rice dish made with a mix of masalas infused with the flavor of tamarind pulp to get the perfect Iyengar Style Puliyodharai aka Tamarind rice.

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Recipe Rating


Saturday 1st of June 2019

I love tamarind rice and made it for the marathon too, but used the store bought masala. Liked how you have made the masala from stretch.. Love the flavors in it and looks so inviting!!


Friday 24th of May 2019

One of our staple rice on a festival menu. Each family has a recipe for puliyodarai and mine is slightly different but I am sure all variations are flavorful. You made it perfectly.


Friday 24th of May 2019

Thank You Harini

Srividhya Gopalakrishnan

Monday 22nd of April 2019

Like sambar rice, pulikaichal is part and parcel of my pantry. I make it weekly once atleast. I have one instant version and one elaborate version too. Glad you tried this traditional recipe. :-)

Gayathri Kumar

Saturday 20th of April 2019

This is one classic recipe that every one loves. You have made it perfect Renu. I am literally drooling over that plate of puliodharai.

Sharmila Kingsly

Thursday 18th of April 2019

Can never tired be tired eating puliogarae.. tatea beat with some potato fry... lovely share...