It’s amazing how a change of place will change the way you look at things. As long as I was in Chennai, I was never a big fan of ‘mixed rice’ or what we call ‘kalandha sadham’. Lemon rice, oh that’s the worst, I hate it. I did like coconut rice, but again, if there was another option, these always got left behind.
But after I moved to this country, I’ve been craving the trivial things. A couple of weeks back, I was craving Tamarind rice.
My mother isn’t the most traditional of women, we never made tamarind rice from scratch. Ours always came out of an MTR ready-mix packet. So this was a first time for me. My first time making Tamarind rice from scratch. And I must say, I am never buying off the shelf again!
There are tons of recipes out there, but I wanted one from a very reliable source, so I chose Sailusfood. She is amazing. Please check out her space.
I got this new spice/coffee grinder from Amazon. It was an impluse buy, I really didn’t need it. But it was so tiny and the first test run after delivery grinding peppercorns, I was sold! I love it! Will post pictures sometime. I absolutely adore that coffee grinder!
Part of the reason I made this recipe from scratch was because I needed an excuse to use that spice/coffee grinder. So here you go, a simple and super quick recipe for a very tasty dish.
Puliyodharai serves 4
For the rice:
– 2 cup raw rice
– 4 cups water
For the dry mix:
– 2 1/2 tbsp Whole coriander seeds (dhaniya)
– 1 tbsp Channa dal
– 1/2 tbsp Urad dal
– 1/2 tsp methi seeds
– 1/2 tsp whole Cumin
– 1 1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds
– 2 sprigs of Curry leaves (roughly 15 leaves)
– 1/2 tbsp black pepper corns
– 4-5 Dry red chillis (mine was a spicier chilly, so it blew my top. Use your usual chilli according to judgement)
For the tadka:
– 3tbsp Gingelly/Sesame oil
– 1/2tsp mustard seeds
– 1 tbsp channa dal
– 1tbsp urad dal
– 1/4tsp Asafoetida/Hing
– 2 dry red chillis, torn in half
– 1/2tsp turmeric powder
– 1 sprig curry leaves, stem removed.
– Lime sized ball of tamarind flesh (soak in 1/2 cup water and extract pulp – See notes )
– 1/2tbsp Jaggery
– 2 fistfuls peanuts, preferably already roasted.
– Salt to taste
– Cook rice using your prefered method, such that the grains are whole and non-sticky. Spread in a large bowl or plate to cool completely. If slightly sticky, stir in a tbsp oil and let cool.
– In the meantime, dry roast all the ingredients listed under ‘For the dry mix’ in a flat pan under low heat- corriander seeds, channa dal, urad dal, methi, cumin, sesame seeds, curry leaves, black pepper corns and dry red chills. Make sure it doesn’t burn. Set aside to cool completely. Once cooled, grind in a dry spice grinder jar, or a small coffee grinder. Spread in a plate and let cool. If you don’t let it cool, water might condense, and reduce shelf-life of any leftover powder.
– Now, we use all the ingredients listed under ‘For the tadka’. This is the final step, you are almost done. Hang in there tiger!
– Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Once hot, drop in one or two mustard seeds and wait till it pops. When it does, add the rest of the mustard seeds. Once they begin popping, add the channa dal and urad dal and wait till they turn light brown.
– Next, add the dry red chillis, turmeric powder, asafoetida , curry leaves and fry for a minute.
– Add the tamarind extract and jaggery and cook on medium flame till the tamarind thickens and the raw smell disappears. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
– Remove from heat.
– Add 3/4th of the tamarind mixture to the rice, along with 2 heaped tablespoons of the dry spice mix. add salt and adjust. Taste check. If it feels dry or less tangy, add more tamarind paste. If it feels less spicy or less flavoursome, add some more powder.
– Let sit for the flavours to absorb into the rice.
– Best eaten a few hours later. Tastes even better the next day.
– Store any remaining dry spice mixture in a clean, dry container.
– Refrigerate any remaining tamarind paste.
1. Tamarind extract – The quickest way to do this, is to boil the tamarind flesh in water (I microwave for 30 seconds), wait till it cools, then smash it with your hands. sieve using fingers or strainer to remove remaining pulp, and retain the juice.
2. This is best made with left-over, refrigerated rice. Freshly cooked rice will retain some of its starch, making the final output invariably sticky, unless you really add a lot of oil. But having said that, it will still taste great with freshly cooked rice.
3. If you think the process is really tedious, plan ahead, and make the paste and powder well in advance. Store the powder in a clean, dry jar, and refrigerate the paste. When you need it, simply cook rice, and mix together. Instant gratification.
4. The recipe calls for Gingelly/Sesame oil. Because we Tamilians love gingelly oil, and somethings just taste better with it. In our heads, it is second only to Ghee. But that’s just us. Feel free to replace with any oil of your choice. But remember, gingelly/ sesame oil is very good for health.