Delicious tamarind rice or puliyogare recipe is made with leftover rice, spices, nuts, tamarind, and coconut to make a very flavor-packed and unique rice dish. Popular in Southern India, you’ll love this rice!
Tamarind rice, a traditional South Indian cuisine rice dish, hits all the right notes to balance, tang, spice, and sweet notes.
This easy tamarind rice recipe is called a variety of names in parts of South India. You may have heard it referred to as puliyogare, puliodharai, pulihora, and puli sadam to name a few. It is served in Hindu temples (particularly in South India).
Each Southern state makes it a little differently so techniques and ingredients may be tweaked but the core ingredients remain the same.
Medium grain rice, such as Sona Masoori used here, is precooked, and tossed in a blend of spices or puliyogare podi (puliyogare powder) mixed with tamarind, dry red chilies, coconut, Indian spices, and nuts.
Each ingredient provides a unique flavor and builds the depth of flavor of this delightful traditional dish.
While there are a variety of ways to make this dish some include making pulikachal (tamarind-based spiced liquid). This recipe uses a freshly ground puliyogare spice mix and tamarind concentrate for an easy, approachable way to make it.
Don’t be intimidated by the ingredients, I’ve broken it down so it is a simple tamarind rice recipe
Unique flavor | Flavor-filled tamarind rice
One-pot dish | A filling main dish common in South Indian cuisine
Friendly for all diet types | Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
Ingredients are separated by first the masala spice blend and next by the remaining ingredients to make the rice.
Below are ingredient notes. Full ingredients and directions are in the printable recipe card at the end of the post.
Puliyogare Spice Blend
Dry red chilies
Seeds: Coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds
Dried coconut shreds: desiccated coconut (if you only have powder on hand, it can burn very quickly so keep an eye)
Kashmiri chili powder: Can also use 1 dry Kashmiri chili
Sona Masoori rice: A medium grain rice works best for this dish and this rice variety is popularly used.
Leftover rice can be used or you can make a fresh batch.
Using 1 cup of dry rice, approximately cups of cooked rice is used for this recipe.
Nuts: Raw peanuts and cashews are pan-fried and provide a delicious crunch.
Dals: Urad dal and chana dal add textural interest and taste.
Curry leaves: Found easily in Indian grocery stores.
Tamarind concentrate: I find this the easiest option to make all tamarind-based dishes. It is convenient and keeps well in the fridge for a long time. Found easily in Indian grocery stores.
I dilute the concentrate in water in preparation for making this dish.
Alternatively, people use tamarind pulp or tamarind paste. Depending on the type, you may have to cook it down or remove the seeds before using it if you go that route. I will soon add a post on making your tamarind paste.
Jaggery powder: This provides the perfect taste of sweet notes to balance this tangy tamarind, a sour ingredient.
Cilantro: Adding coriander leaves provides a fresh, contrasting taste.
Powder: Tamarind rice can be prepared in South Indian style using the traditional “Puliyodharai” mix, which includes tamarind paste, jaggery, spices, and roasted peanuts.
The mix is then combined with cooked rice and mixed thoroughly to create a tangy and flavorful dish.
2. Pulikalichal: Tamarind rice can also be prepared using a “Tempering” method, which involves frying spices and herbs like mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and dry red chilies in oil until fragrant. The tempered spices are then added to the cooked rice along with tamarind paste and mixed well to create a spicy and aromatic dish that is perfect for those who prefer bold flavors.
3. Variation: Adding a little coconut milk
using coconut milk and grated coconut. Cooked rice is mixed with tamarind paste, grated coconut, coconut milk, and spices to create a creamy and mildly spiced dish that is perfect for those who prefer milder flavors.
Make Plain Rice
You can use leftover rice for this recipe. If you’d like to make fresh rice, use a rice ratio of 1 cup dry rice grain to 2 cups water. More details on making Sona Masuri Rice are available here.
Medium-grain rice is preferred, however, you can use any type you’d like. Basmati rice is commonly used in Indian cooking.
Prepare Puliyogare Podi (Spice Powder)
Dry roast whole spices on medium heat. Add in the following order: coriander and cumin seeds (1 minute), then dry red chilies and fenugreek seeds.
About 1 minute later, add coconut shreds and sesame seeds. Mix every 10-15 seconds. In about 1-2 minutes ingredients should be toasted but not burned. You will notice a fragrant smell.
Once spices have cooled, add to a spice grinder along with Kashmiri chili powder and grind into a fine powder.
Tamarind rice masala powder is ready!
Prepare Tamarind Concentrate
Mix tamarind concentrate with 2 tablespoons of warm water. Set aside.
If using fresh, don’t forget to soak tamarind in preparation.
Add oil to the pan and turn the stove on medium-high heat. After the oil heats up, add raw peanuts and cashews. Let them pan-fry for about 2-3 or until they begin to turn golden brown. Make sure they don’t burn! Once fried, set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Place the same pan with oil back on the stove on medium-high heat. Add chana dal then urad dal. Then, add mustard seeds. Once they begin to sizzle add asafetida.
Next, add red chilies and curry leaves to the pan. Give it a mix.
Then, add turmeric powder.
Quickly add diluted tamarind mixture and jaggery powder to the pan. Mix well Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn the gas to medium heat.
Add cooked, cooled rice. Mix.
Add cashews and nuts. Mix well. The rice should be a little moist.
Mix in chopped fresh cilantro and serve.
So this dish is served often as a main dish on its own. It’s commonly served in South Indian temples with other rice dishes alongside it.
While rice recipes such as Jeera Rice are usually served alongside a dal or sabzi, this dish can stand on its own.
Serve with cooling raita such as Avocado Raita or this Biryani Raita.
Some sides you could serve it with include papad and salad.
Lassis can also be a cooling addition, there are many kinds including Sweet Lassi, Mango Lassi, Rose Lassi, Strawberry Lassi, Peach Lassi, and Salt Lassi.
This can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for 3-4 days. Bear in mind, if you are using leftover rice you may want to consume it quicker.
Have you tried this South Indian tamarind rice? If so, I would greatly appreciate it if you could take a moment to leave a comment and rate it with stars. It would mean a lot to me to hear how it turned out. If you’re on Instagram, feel free to tag me so I can see your creation. Thank you for your support!
Easy Tamarind Rice Or Puliyogare Rice Recipe
- 2 pots
- 1 spice grinder
Tamarind Rice (Puliyogare/Puliodharai) Spice Blend
- 1½ tbsp coriander seeds
- 1¼ tsp cumin seeds
- 2 dry red chilies
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds methi
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp dried coconut shreds desiccated coconut (if you only have powder on hand, it can burn very quickly so keep an eye)
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder or 1 dry Kashmiri chili
- 1 cup rice I used Sona Masoori
- 2 cups water
- 3 tbsp oil
- ¼ cup raw peanuts
- ¼ cup cashews
- ¾ tsp mustard seeds
- ¼ tsp asafetida
- 1 tsp urad dal
- 1 tsp chana dal
- 1 dry red chili
- 15 curry leaves
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1½ tbsp tamarind concentrate
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp jaggery powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3-4 stalks cilantro leaves
- You can use leftover rice for this recipe. If you'd like to make fresh rice, use a rice ratio of 1 cup dry rice grain to 2 cups water. More details on making Sona Masuri Rice available here.
Make Puliyogare Powder
- Dry roast whole spices on medium heat. Add in the following order: coriander and cumin seeds (1 minute), then dry red chillies and fenugreek seeds.
- About 1 minute later, add coconut shreds and sesame seeds. Mix every 10-15 seconds. In about 1-2 minutes ingredients should be toasted but not burned. You will notice a fragrant smell.
- Once spices have cooled, add to spice grinder along with Kashmiri chili powder and grind into a fine powder.
Make Tamarind Rice
- Mix tamarind concentrate with 2 tablespoons water. Set aside.
- Add oil to pan and turn stove on medium-high heat. After oil heats up, add raw peanuts and cashews. Let them pan fry for about 2-3 or until they begin to turn golden brown. Once fried, remove from oil with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Place same pan with oil back on the stove on medium-high heat. Add chana dal then urad dal. Then, add mustard seeds. Once they begin to sizzle add asafetida.
- Next,add red chillies and curry leaves to pan. Give it a mix.
- Then, add turmeric powder.
- Quickly add diluted tamarind mixture and jaggery powder to pan. Mix well Let simmer 2-3 minutes. Turn gas to medium heat.
- Add cooked, cooled rice. Mix.
- Add cashews and nuts. Mix well. Rice should be a little moist.
- Mix in chopped fresh cilantro and serve.