South Indian tamarind rice

Recipe by
Total Time:
2 hours
Serves: 2
Nutrition facts:

240 calories, 9 grams fat

Cuisine: Indian Recipe
Technique: Saute Recipe
Difficulty: Medium

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  • For the tamarind paste (shelf life 1-2 months):
  • 200g tamarind (seedless variety is preferable)
  • 20-25 - dried red chillies
  • 50g - Bengal gram (channa dal)
  • 1 tsp - mustard seeds
  • 1 cup - sesame oil (not the toasted variety)
  • Salt to taste (using rock salt is traditional)
  • For the powder:
  • 5 tbsp - coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp - fenugreek seeds
  • 10-15 - dried red chillies (optional)
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • For the rice (at the time of preparation):
  • 1 cup - rice, cooked (make sure the strands are separate; leftover rice works great)
  • 1 tsp - split black gram
  • 1/4-1/2 cup - peanuts
  • 1/4-1/2 cup - cashew
  • A few sprigs of curry leaves
  • 2-3 - dried red chillies (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp - sesame oil
  • Salt to taste

How to Make South Indian tamarind rice

  • Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of hot water for around 30 minutes.
  • Take this in a food processor and process it a few times until it becomes thick. Strain this mixture to discard any lumps.
  • The result should be a thick paste. If it is too thick for the strainer, add a little more hot water, give it a whirl in your processor and strain again.
  • The consistency should neither be too thick nor too watery.
  • Meanwhile make the powder.
  • Dry roast the coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds separately (or red chillies if you are using them).
  • Grind them separately until they are ground fine.
  • Mix them together and store them in a plastic container. They keep well and are handy while making the rice.
  • To make the paste:
  • Take a skillet and add the oil.
  • Add the red chillies, then mustard seeds and then Bengal gram.
  • Next add the tamarind water.
  • Let it cook on a simmering flame.
  • You know it's done when the raw smell of the tamarind is gone, the water reduces and thickens into a paste like consistency and the oil oozes out on the surface.
  • You can, at this point, add 1 tsp of fenugreek seeds or the powder.
  • This is to give it more aroma.
  • Remove from heat, cool it well and store it in a glass container.
  • It keeps very well for a long time and requires only a little bit (depending upon your taste) at a time to be mixed in the rice.
  • The more solid the tamarind paste, less is the amount required to be mixed.
  • To prepare the rice:
  • In 1 tsp of oil, temper the lentils along with red chillies and curry leaves and then add the peanuts and cashew nuts (you can roast them separately too).
  • Meanwhile cool the rice on a plate.
  • Add 1 tsp of sesame oil and the required tamarind paste along with the tempered ingredients.
  • Add the powder in pinches along with a little salt.
  • Adjust the powder and salt according to your taste.
  • Mix until well combined and serve.
  • This dish would be devoid of its famous flavour if not for sesame oil.
  • Recipe Courtesy: