Ambad bhat | Tamarind rice | Puliyogare

Monday, June 3, 2013 5 comments
Puliyogare/ tamarind rice is commonly distributed as temple prasadams in dried and pressed banana leaf bowl. Together with some sundal, curd rice and pickle your day will be made! What a divine and comforting food it is!

It is the perfect travel/ picnic food as it doesn't need to be refrigerated.  It satisfies your craving taste buds during long hours of travel. During long haul train travels, people usually pack tamarind rice in banana leaf and wrap in a newspaper. Hmm, nostalgic...It is such a heavenly feeling to have tamarind rice in banana leaf. When you open the pack of tamarind rice during your travel, even your fellow co-passengers can sense what you have and may even envy you. Magical smell, isn't it? Why not share some handfuls of the rice with them. With all hungry tummies satisfied, together you can have a merry chit chat and a joyous ride.

Also a quick fix meal for most dorm students and bachelors. The first thing that comes to mind for students and working people when travelling abroad is to pack puliyogare and vathal kuzhambu paste mix. Until you get set to the foreign food, these pastes are a life saver and makes you feel at home even away from home.

A quick dinner option too! I've seen my mom, MIL, grandmom making huge amount of puliyogare paste and storing in refrigerator. It lasts for atleast a month. You may keep it even longer, but I prefer a month as the taste may diminish after that. For dinner, you can quickly put together the rice and the paste; and together with a quick and healthy sundal; it is quite a tasty treat. It is my husbands most favorite too. He can devour it all much to his satisfaction and he'll never grumble even if I prepare this for most days of the week.

The recipe given below is the Sourashtrian way of preparing tamarind rice. Except fenugreek seed powder, there is no powdered masala added. This is simple to make and tastes utterly butterly delicious. 

My MIL does this rice very often. She does it so religiously and with utmost care. Whenever she prepares it for dinner, she does a big batch to be had for the next day morning also. The rice doesn't go bad even when kept outside. It doesn't have to be refrigerated.

For her, pressure cooked rice is an absolute no-no for this. She does it the traditional way of boiling and draining. When you cook rice by this age old method, the grains of rice remain seperate and are so soft and fluffy. This is the foolproof method because you can control the amount of fluffiness of your rice. Also since much of the gummy content/ starch of rice is drained off, you will never feel your stomach bloated even after having loads of this rice.

Favorite and authentic accompaniments with this are black chana sundal/ black eyed peas sundal with slices of coconut. Sometimes even coconut chutney is done. During travel, it will be great even with a simple chips.

2 cups cooked rice

For puliyogare paste
Tamarind (1 mandarin orange sized)
10 red chillies (adjust according to the spice level of your chilli)
1/2 ts turmeric powder
1 ts roasted fenugreek seed powder
1/2 ts hing
Sesame oil as per need

For seasoning
1 ts mustard seed
1/2 ts urad dal
1 tbs chana dal
1/4  ts hing
1 inch ginger piece (grated)
Few curry leaves
Sesame oil as per need


Cook rice with enough amount of salt and water. When it is cooked, spread it out in a wide plate or a wide bowl and allow them to cool.

Soak tamarind in hot water for a minimum of 15 minutes. Then extract the juices out of them and get around 3-4 cups of tamarind water. 

Dry roast fenugreek seed and make a fine powder out of them.

Heat oil in a kadai. Once they turn hot, add broken red chillies and give a quick toss. Lower the flame and quickly add in the tamarind water. Allow it to boil. Then keep the flame in medium to high flame and allow the tamarind water to thicken. When the thickening is half way through, add turmeric powder and hing. Now keep the flame in simmer and cook till the paste thickens and oil separates. When the paste is almost done, add the roasted fenugreek seed powder. (Add the fenugreek seed powder only at the last stage. Cooking for a long time after the powder is added will make it lose its flavor. Keep the flame on for just a minute after the powder is added.)  

Now prepare the seasoning. Heat oil in a small pan. Once they turn hot, add mustard seed and urad dal and allow them to sizzle. Add chana dal and fry till they turn golden. Add curry leaves and allow them to splutter. Next add hing. Switch off the flame and add grated ginger. Give a quick toss.

Now that the paste and seasoning is ready, we can mix them to the rice. First add enough paste to the rice and mix them evenly using a wide spatula. (Leftover paste can be reserved for another use) (Take care not to break the grains of rice while mixing. Also don't overmix and make the rice mushy) After the paste is evenly mixed, add in the prepared seasoning and mix them also evenly.

Take out the rice in a serving container and close with the lid. Allow the flavours to mingle, set and talk for some time before serving. The more time you allow the flavors to talk to each other, the better tasting it turns out to be. 


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  • Thiruveni Nainar said...

    Thank you for the recipe. My then neighbour who belonged to sourashtrian community had seduced my tastebuds with this and i have been longing for it ever since thier departure. I have a small doubt. What is the quantity of water with which tamarind must be soaked?. Also what must be the consistency of the juice.

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