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Tamarind Rice

November 08, 2021

Tamarind rice or puliyogare, as it is called in Kerala, is much loved by Cochin Jews and Hindus alike. Traditionally it is made with Kerala matta rice or Rosematta rice—a yellow-pink rice, that is prized for its unique, earthy flavor. The rice is usually cooked separately, and then mixed with the tamarind sauce. As Rosematta rice is hard to find outside of Kerala, I use basmati rice instead. Puliyogare is very easy to prepare and can be eaten hot with a vegetable and coconut curry and perhaps a dollop of yogurt. In Kerala it is often served at room temperature as a snack or for a picnic.

Featured in: The Joys of Tamarind


For the rice

  • 1 ½cups basmati rice
  • 2teaspoons coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 ¼cups hot water
  • ½teaspoon salt

For the sauce

  • 3tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
  • 1teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 6to 8 fresh curry leaves
  • ¼cup unsalted peanuts or cashews, split
  • 4or 5 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • ¼teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1tablespoons tamarind paste, or more, to taste
  • 1teaspoon muscovado sugar or jaggery (optional)
Yield: Serves 4 to 6


To make the rice

  • Step 1

    Wash the rice under cold running water and drain. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a saucepan and when it is hot, add the rice. Stir well so each grain is covered in oil, then cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the rice is opaque. Add the water and salt bring to the boil. Cover and cook over a very low heat for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and small craters have appeared over the surface of the rice. Turn off the heat and leave to steam for 5 to 10 minutes.

To make the sauce

  • Step 1

    While the rice is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a saucepan pan and when it is hot, add the mustard seeds. When they start to sputter, add the curry leaves and nuts and stir fry for 1 or 2 minutes until the nuts start to turn golden. Add the shallots and cook over a moderate heat until they are very soft. Stir in the coriander, chili powder, and black pepper, then add the tamarind paste and muscovado sugar, if desired. Fold in the cooked rice and heat through. Remove from the heat and serve.