Pulihora (Tamarind Rice)

Being a South Indian comes with a lot of responsibilities. One of which is to carry the torch of cooking South Indian food.

Hubsy being the Marathi Mulga that he is, continues to question my abilities to cook South Indian food. He has very fond memories of eating South Indian food as a child at Venus Restaurant( Oman) which he often uses as a benchmark for uninvited critique.

So to prove my calibre and with significant guidance from my mother I decided to attempt the below recipe and if I may say so was more than pleased with the results.

Tamarind Rice or Pulihora as we call it was a firm family favourite. I remember my aunts prepping and packing this very portable dish for those long Indian train journeys (our route was mostly Hyderabad-Bangalore, Hyderabad-Tirupati, Hyderabad – Mumbai). Train food in India was treated with upturned noses and was never of an acceptable standard for my aunts. This yummy but simple rice dish became the family travel food staple and continues to be a choice even for my generation. It is also a very good cure for leftover plain rice and turns it into something delicious.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2 people)

  • Fresh Tamarind – Lemon size
  • Rice- 1 cup
  • Peanuts- 2 tablespoons
  • Turmeric powder- ½ teaspoon
  • Dry Red Chillies (or crushed Red Chillies from Asda/Tesco/Sainbury) – 4 whole dry chillies ( or 1 teaspoon of crushed red chillies)
  • Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Curry Leaves – 7-10 leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 2 Tablespoon20161115_163155.jpg


  1. Soak the rice for atleast 15 minutes and then cook it with salt.
  2. Make sure the rice is not overcooked .Transfer the rice into a plate and let it cool for sometime.
  3. In a small bowl, soak the tamarind with 2 cups of lukewarm water. After 15-20 minutes, mash the tamarind and remove the seeds if any.
  4. In a vessel, add 2 tbspns of Oil. Once the oil is warm, add the peanuts and roast it till the peanuts begin to change colour, then remove them from the heat and put it aside in another bowl.
  5. Place the vessel back on the hob, and to the remaining oil  add mustard seeds,curry leaves, turmeric powder and the 2 cups of tamarind water. Let is cook on medium for 5 minutes-10 minutes till ¾ of the tamarind water gets reduced.
  6. Switch the hob off and add the rice to the vessel.
  7. Tamarind Rice is ready to eat .

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