Pulihora/Puliyodharai/Tamarind Rice: Temple Style

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My boy has been adventurous these days, and yesterday he bumped his forehead which results in a big bump, making my heart beat at a high rate.  I called our family friend who is a pediatrician and asked her what to do, she told us to keep ice and watch for him for any throw up. If not it is fine. He was okay and able to walk around with little blue bump. Today morning while I am cleaning my kitchen he came to help me and in return he got bruise in his nose. So he getting more and more adventurous, making the words”boys are going to be boys” more clear to me.  My daughter didn’t get into these adventures and I am experiencing lot new things with him, everyday.
Okay coming back to recipe, I have enjoyed this puliyodharai or tamarind rice only during the pathinettamperuku, adi perku festival time, when amma used to prepare varieties of rice dishes.  Other occasion of making this was when my aunt/Athai (father’s sister) who travelled to back to her home, in Tamil Nadu after visiting us. She would make a pack of this rice for her family for their train journey.  I have also tasted this rice at temples in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh during our visits. I came to make this myself only when I started living in Japan and later in Sweden, as I need some varieties in my lunch box. For that purpose mom would send me packet of ready made mix from MTR. I would mix that with already cooked rice and job done in 5 minutes. Never thought of making this dish from the scratch, but this month I need to find a one pot meal for my “Favorite Recipes Event” which was guest hosted by My Cooking Journey. So decide to try and made it our lunch yesterday.
Since my mom is not available anymore to guide me through the recipe, I searched Google and as usual was flooded with tons of recipes. Then I finally settled with these two recipes one from Priya of Akshayapaatramand Mullai of Spice India Online, I used the pulikachil and spice powder from Akshyapathram and cooking of rice from Spice India Online. I added a little jaggery /brown sugar to balance the sourness of tamarind.
One of my childhood friends had a huge tamarind tree in their yard. We used to play underneath it, and would pick ripe tamarind when it is in peak season. Trust me it is delicious, just pick and remove the shell and eat with little salt. Balance of sour and salt is awesome. Tastiest one will be those fruit dried in the sun for few days. Last time when we visited Kerala, my husband’s aunt gave us some homegrown tamarind. It was really good. However those I get from Indian store is at times really like a rock hard one, you need to soak more than hour to get some juice out of it.  So nowadays I buy only wet tamarind from Thailand, they are soft and easy to extract juice. I microwave little tamarind balls with ½ cup of water for 15 seconds and extract the juice.  I have seen fresh tamarind in stores selling Latin-American stuffs. However it is too expensive, I will buy some to make some tamarind candy some time. 
 I have to try few recipes with tamarind that are in my mind a margarita, a Thai tamarind soup or Ponche navidades let me see how fast I can reaching my goals.
As a south Indian my life started with tamarind, which was an essential part of kitchen pantry while growing up. After coming to US, I came to know that tamarindis not only used in India but also all over the world in its cuisines. While checking I got some interesting fact about tamarind, it is native of Africa; especially Sudan largest consumers of present day are South Asia and Mexico.
Tamarind is known to have health benefits too, especially the fruit pulp is known to have antibacterial properties, reduce cholesterol and increase heart health by preventing plaque formation. It also known to reduce blood sugar and to help in weight reduction, if you want read more please take a look at here. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals read from here.
For making this tamarind rice, I used sona masori rice as it is traditionally used to make this rice. I cooked rice with turmeric and salt separately. Made sauce /pulikachal with tamarind, dals and red chilies, also made a spice powder to go with by roasting red chili, lentils, fenugreek, coriander and sesame seeds. Used gingerly/Indian sesame oil for make it traditionally, and adjusted the sourness with little jaggery. I finally mixed sauce, spice powder with cooked rice, and I would if you set some aside for the next day to infuse flavors, it is even more tasty. Try it you are a fan of sour taste or little adventurous like my son.
Here comes the recipe.
Rice is made like this
Pulikachal/ Sauce is made like this

Spice powder is made like this

Assembly of Rice is done this way

Pulihora/Puliyodarai/Tamarind Rice: Temple Style
Preparation time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 serving

Pulikachal/Gojju/Tamarind Sauce
3 tablespoon Sesame (Gingelly/Nallayennai) Oil
12 cashew nuts
1/4 cup Peanuts, raw
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
11/2 tablespoon Channa Dal/split chickpeas (I soaked dal for 30 minutes)
1 teaspoon Urad Dal/Split black gram
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 dried Red chilies (adjust to taste, more chilies are added in the roasted powder)
2 sprig Curry Leaves, washed & patted dry and roughly torn into pieces
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
 1/8 teaspoon Asafoetida/hing/inguva
A golf ball sized chunk of raw Tamarind pulp – soaked in ½ cup warm water for 10mins
 11/2 teaspoon of Salt or to taste
1 teaspoon jaggery/ brown sugar
 Spice powder/Roasted powder:
Yield around 1/4 cup you need only 1 to 2 tablespoon  for rice if not spicy
½ teaspoon Sesame oil
1 ½ tablespoon Channa Dal/Split chickpeas
1 tablespoon Urad dal/Split black gram
1/2 tablespoon Coriander Seeds/Malli
3 dried Red Chilies
1/2 teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds/Menthayam
1 tablespoon black Sesame seeds
2 cups Sona Masoori
4 cup Water
1/2teaspoon turmeric powder
Cook Rice
 In a Dutch oven or thick bottom pan Cook 2 cups of rice 4 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder. Ratio to water and rice should be 1: 2.  It took about 30 minutes or until the rice holds its shape. Remove from the oven and spread it into a thin layer and sprinkle ½ tablespoon of sesame seed oil/ gingerly oil and set aside.  
Pulikachal/Gojju/Tamarind Sauce
In a microwave safe bowl heat a bowl of lemon sized tamarind pulp using your hands squeeze out the thick tamarind pulp and discard the seeds and fiber.
Heat oil in a sauce pan on medium-low heat and add the cashew nuts and fry until golden and take it out. Then add peanuts and roast until they start to turn a slight reddish orange color. Add the mustard, cumin seeds and dal next and continue to roast them until they get an even brown color.
Add the curry leaves, red chilies, turmeric powder and asafoetida and stir for 30 secs more. Carefully pour in the tamarind extract, a little salt , jaggery and cook for 10-15mins until the pulikachal/gojju comes together as a thick mass and the oil begins to separates and collect around the edges and set aside.
Spice Powder
In the meantime, in a shallow pan, dry roast the urad dal, chana dal, sesame seeds, fenugreek and coriander seeds separately and set aside. Then add ½ teaspoon oil and add red chilies and roast until it changes color.  The fenugreek and sesame seeds tend to burn quickly so watch while roasting them. Take off the heat and cool for a few minutes before grinding them to a fine powder.
Assembly of Rice
Drizzle a little sesame oil on top and add a few tablespoons of the Pulikachal/gojju and spice powder . Mix lightly without breaking the rice grains. Add salt and more gojju or rice according to taste.
As a final garnish sprinkle the roasted powder on top and mix it in. Cover the pulihora/Puliyodharai and let it rest for at least 30mins before serving.
Don’t add all the salt to the tamarind extract in the beginning of the cooking process. Since the gojju reduces and thickens towards the end.
If you like your tamarind rice to be a nice glowing yellow, slightly warm up a spoon of sesame oil with a pinch of turmeric and drizzle it on the warm rice before adding the gojju. If the rice is warm enough, you can skip heating the oil.
 If you want you can make double the quantity of gojju /pulikachal and store the leftovers in the fridge, it’ll keep well for weeks in an airtight container.
This recipe is  adapted from  Akshayapaatramand  Spice India Online

I am linking this delicious rice to my  Favorite recipes event: One pot meal guest hosted at My cooking Journey
Also to Hearth and Soul Blog hop hosted here

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  1. says

    Looks delicious! I love tamarind! I buy a frozen puree of it in the Goya section to make pad thai. Once I bought some fresh and it too was hard as a rock I had to throw it out. Hope your little prince is OK with his bumps and bruises!