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tamarind rice served ina copper bowl garnished with curry leaves
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5 from 9 votes

Pulihora | Andhra Tamarind Rice

Pulihora is an Andhra style tamarind rice which has a perfect balance of  tang, spice and salt.  This traditional South Indian rice dish is so flavorful and easy to make.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Madhavi


  • 2.5 cups cooked rice
  • 1 small lime sized tamarind please see the note
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp jaggery/sugar
  • 2 tsp roasted sesame powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ½ cup boiled chickpeas optional
  • 2 tbsp roasted peanuts
  • salt to taste

Tempering Ingredients-

  • 2 tbsp oil ( I added 1 tbsp sesame oil + 1 tbsp veg oil)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp chana dal
  • 2 tsp urad dal
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 dry red chili
  • 2 green chili, slit add one more if you like it spicy
  • 1 sprig curry leaves


Tamarind Paste-

  • Add small lime size amount of tamarind in 1 cup of boiling water. Let the tamarind soak in the boiling water for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, squeeze the tamarind to extract the pulp. Drain the tamarind pulp and set a side.

Tempering & Making Pulihora -

  • In a large pan heat oil and add the dry red chili. In medium flame fry the red chili till dark brown. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Now add the chana dal and urad dal and fry for 30 seconds. Add the cumin seeds and fry for another 30 seconds.
  • Add the slit green chili and curry leaves and saute for few seconds and add the tamarind extract to the fried tempering ingredients.
  • Add salt and jaggery/sugar and cook on medium flame till the gravy thickens. This can take upto 7-10 minutes.
  • To the thickened gravy add the turmeric powder, more curry leaves, asafoetida (hing) and roasted sesame seeds powder.
  • Mix it well and cook for 45 seconds or so. Taste the gravy and adjust the salt.
  • Add the cooked rice and chick peas ( or roasted peanuts) and mix it well. Taste the rice and adjust the seasoning if required.


Make sure the rice is not mushy, the grains should be separate. 
When the pulihora paste is mixed to the rice, initially you may feel that it is spicy and tangy. Do not add more rice. Set a side for 15 minutes, the rice will absorb all the flavors and the pulihora will taste good.
Roasted sesame powder is optional, but I like to add it. It thickens the gravy and balances out the tang.
If you do not like it too sour, reduce the amount of tamarind. 
If you are making pulihora first time, do not add the whole pulihora paste to the rice. Keep some of it a side, mix the rice, taste it and add more if needed. 
Boiled chickpeas gives some protein and makes it filling. 
The browned dry red chili when cooked in tamarind paste,takes away the spice.  Take  a spoonful of rice, followed by a bite of red chili and you will love that combination.