Tamarind Rice (Puliyodharai) Recipe

Ginger Powder Tamarind Powder

(Updated on March 08, 2023)

Tamarind Rice, or Puliyodharai Rice, is a popular and delicious dish from South India. It features precooked rice that is combined with tamarind, spices, chana and urad dal, and peanuts to create a hearty meal. 

This easy tamarind rice recipe features a melange of flavours in perfect balance. It has a sour and tangy taste from the tamarind, a mild sweetness from the jaggery, and a hint of bitterness from the methi. The spices bring heat to the recipe while the dals and peanuts add a savoury crunch. 

The balance of sour, sweet, and savoury make it a much-loved dish among kids and adults alike. It is often served as a prasad in temples and made during festivals and special occasions. 

You can easily make this Pulihora Tamarind Rice recipe for your school or office lunch boxes. With Zilli’s Cold Pressed Spices, there is no need to worry about soaking and extracting the tamarind pulp, making this recipe much faster and easier. 

Here is the step-by-step recipe for Tamarind Rice:

Preparation Time: 5 minutes.

Cooking Time: 15 minutes.

Serves: 2 people.

Course: Main Course.

Cuisine: South Indian.


  • 2 cups of cooked rice.
  • ½ tsp Zilli's Ginger Powder.
  • 2½ tsp Zilli's Tamarind Powder.
  • ¼ cup peanuts.
  • 6 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds.
  • 2 tsp chana dal.
  • ¼ tsp methi (fenugreek) 
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds.
  • 2 tsp urad dal.
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder.
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder.
  • ¾ cup water.
  • 1½ tsp jaggery or 1 tsp jaggery powder.
  • 3 tsp mustard oil.
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds.
  • 4-5 curry leaves.
  • A pinch of hing (asafoetida).
  • Salt to taste.


How to Make Tamarind Rice:

Preparing the Spice Mix:

  1. Heat a pan. Add four dry red chillies, coriander seeds, 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp urad dal, methi seeds, and sesame seeds.
  2. Dry roast on low heat while stirring frequently.
  3. Sauté till the urad and chana dals turn light brown.
  4. Turn the flame off and set it aside for 10 minutes to cool down.
  5. Transfer the spices to a blender jar. 
  6. Add black pepper powder and ginger powder.
  7. Grind to a fine powder and keep the spice mix aside.

Preparing the Tamarind Water:

  1. To a bowl, add tamarind powder and water.
  2. Mix it thoroughly to make sure there are no lumps left. Keep aside. 

Making the Tamarind and Spice Mix Paste (Pulikachal):

  1. Heat oil in a large pan or a skillet.
  2. Add mustard seeds, 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp urad dal, and peanuts.
  3. Sauté over low flame till the dals turn golden brown.
  4. Next, add the curry leaves and two red chillies. Stir for a moment.
  5. Add turmeric powder, hing (asafoetida), and salt. Mix properly.
  6. Pour the reserved tamarind water, stir, and bring it to a boil.
  7. Add jaggery and mix to combine. Simmer over low flame till the jaggery is completely dissolved.
  8. Cook till the tamarind mixture has thickened into a paste-like consistency.
  9. Add the prepared spice powder mix over low flame, and mix till well combined.

Your Spicy Tamarind Paste is ready.

Assembling the Tamarind Rice:

  1. Take a bowl. Add the cooked rice with the prepared tamarind and spice paste. 
  2. Gently fold the mixture with the rice
  3. Transfer to a serving plate or bowl and garnish with coriander leaves.

Your Tamarind Rice is ready to enjoy!


Tips and Variations for Tamarind Rice Puliyodharai Recipe:

You can use any variety of short-grain or medium-grain rice (such as Sona Masoori) in this recipe. Avoid using fragrant varieties like basmati rice and jasmine rice.

You can use leftover rice in this Tamarind Pulihora recipe.

Avoid overcooking the rice to prevent it from getting mushy.

Adjust the number of chillies according to your spice tolerance.

Adjust the concentration of the turmeric paste (Pulikachal) based on your preference.

You can prepare the Tamarind and Spice paste (Pulikachal) in advance. It can stay good in the fridge for up to a month stored in an air-tight container. Mix with cooked rice to make instant Tamarind Puliyodharai Rice.

Use sesame oil if you do not have mustard oil.


Variations of Tamarind Rice Recipe:

  • Andhra-Style Tamarind Rice: Make your tamarind rice Andhra-style by amping up the spiciness. Add slit green chillies to the tamarind and spice mix paste to make it a classic Andhra-style Pulihora recipe.
  • Karnataka-Style Tamarind Rice: For Karnataka-Style Tamarind Rice, roast grated dry coconut with the other spices and blend to a fine powder.
  • Lemon Pulihora: To make simple Lemon Pulihora (Lemon Rice), mix 1½ tsp Zilli’s Lemon Powder with water. Temper the spice mix ingredients along with slit green chillies. Combine cooked rice with the tempering and add the prepared lemon water. Mix well and enjoy! 
  • Gongura Pulihora: To make Gongura Rice, temper the spices with gongura (sorrel) leaves. Grind into a fine paste and add to cooked rice with peanuts, urad dal, chana dal, hing, and green chillies. 
  • Semiya Pulihora: Instead of rice, use cooked vermicelli (semiya, sewai) to make Semiya Tamarind Pulihora.
  • Mango Pulihora: Make Mango Rice by replacing tamarind water with grated raw mangoes. Mix the grated mango with the tempered spices, combine it with cooked rice, and enjoy!
  • Temple-Style Tamarind Rice / Prasadam Pulihora: Temple-Style Pulihora (Kovil Puliyodharai) is popular across South India. To make this, mix only half of the spice mix powder with the tamarind paste. The remaining half is added separately at the end, giving it a strong and distinct flavour profile.

Serving Ideas: 

Serve tamarind rice with papad, pickles, or vadagams.

You can also enjoy it with curd, raita, or red chilli Coconut Chutney.

Tamarind Rice can also be served as a part of a larger meal alongside fish curry, chicken stir fry, Aloo Baingan, Aloo Methi Curry, or vegetable stew.

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