April 1, 2014

Chintakaya Pulihora | Raw Tamarind Flavoured Rice | Andhra Recipe

Andhra Pradesh is one of the first states outside my hometown where I tasted the most yummilicious veg food ever. Bowled over by the delicate yet fiery Gonghura Chutney, the Pachadis and podis (spice powders), the Pappus (lentils), Koora (dry sautes), the DosasPesarattu, it seemed for a while I couldnt get over the hearty fare that my colleague dished out for me.. Thanks to umpteen visits to that state, I am hooked and hugrily crave for more :-)

And starting today, we kick off a 30 day Blogging Marathon of Indian States where we showcase one dish from each state. 25 odd bloggers, 30 states - you do the math ! Check out the 
Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 39

The cuisine of Andhra is based mostly on regional variation,  its rich cultural heritage and the influence of the Royal recipes from the Nawabs. The cuisine of Andhra Pradesh is mixed between the eating habits of the Hindus and Muslims style of eating.    Being the largest producer of rice in India, Andhra cuisine is mostly rice based which can be eaten with vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Andhra is also the hub of red chillies which makes most of the dishes very spicy or fiery. The traditional delicacies of Andhra are absolutely mouthwatering having a liberal use of spices.  
Location Map of Andhra Pradesh

The cuisines of Andhra Pradesh can be categorically classified based by its regions like Andhra, Telangana, Rayalaseema, Kosta (Coastal) Andhra and Hyderabadi cuisine. Hyderabadi cuisine which is a predominant part of the Andhra Pradesh food is influenced by the legacy of the Nizams of Hyderabad. The hallmark of Hyderabad cuisine is the slow cooking method.  The most popular authentic dish of Hyderabad is the Biryani which is a rich-meat dish accompanied by mirch ka salan or Baghare baigan is also known as the jewels of Hyderabadi cooking. The Hyderabadi cuisine is the amalgamation of Muslim techniques and meats cooked with the vibrant spices and ingredients. Hyderabadi cuisine is the ultimate in fine dining. Its tastes ranges from sour to the sweet, the hot and the salty and is ornamented with lots of dry fruits and nuts.
(source : www.vahrevah.com & Mapsofindia.com) 

Pulihora (Telugu) or Puliyogare (Kannada/Tamil) is one Rice Dish thats quintessential to any Andhra meal. But the Andhrites beat me at their own game - they have sooooo many varieties of Pulihora its impossible to fathom. Pulihora essentially means puli = tamarind / tarty taste and hora / ogare = rice which is tempered. 

Raw Tamarind - source - wikipedia.org

When I visited Hyderabad last year, I managed to get hold of these young little raw tamarind just outside the apartment complex we were staying at. Once I got the authentic Andhra recipe with these leaves from my host, I couldnt resist making this for Sankranti festival early this Jan and it was a sellout success. If Pulihoras are made for Naivedyam (or offering to god, its usually made sans garlic and onion)

So, lets check out Chintakaya Pulihora or flavoured rice with Raw Tamarind Paste

BM : 39 ~ Indian State : Andhra Pradesh ~Recipe : Chintakaya Pulihora
Dish type : Main Course
Spice Level : Medium to mildly hot
Accompaniment : Yoghurt / fried fryums or Papad
Prep time : 30 mins | Cooking time : 20 mins | Serves : 4

  • Cooked Rice - 3 cups
  • Raw Tamarind - 200 gms 
  • Oil - 150 gms
  • Ghee / Clarified butter - 1 TBSP (optional)
  • Grate jaggery - 3 tsp (optional)
  • Channa Dal - 4 TBSP
  • Green Chillies - 3 to 4 (adjust spice)
  • Dry red chillies - 8 (adjust spice)
  • Turmeric - 1/2 TBSP
  • Salt - to taste
For tempering and garnish:
  • oil - 2 TBSP
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Mustard seeds - 2 TBSP
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch
  • Cashew nuts - 2 TBSP - chopped

  1. Wash the raw tamarind and wipe off excess sap if present. 
  2. Bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil. Drop the raw tamarind and boil till soft (with the skin on), about 10 mins. Drain but reserve the water.
  3. Meanwhile cool the cooked rice in a large, wide plate. Fluff them up into separate grains with a fork. Add 2 TBSP oil and mix gently taking care not to break the grains (if using raw rice instead of cooked rice, make sure to cook till the grains separate, not turn mushy)
  4. Peel the skin of the boiled tamarind, and deseed. Mash the remaining pulp in the hot water reserved and filter.
  5. In a large pan, heat the oil. Add the channa dal, when it browns a bit, add the mustard seeds, cashewnuts, green and red chillies, curry leaves, turmeric, asafoetida and stir briskly. 
  6. Now add the tamarind pulp, jaggery if using and salt into the tempered oil. Stir slowly on medium-high heat for 10-12 mins till the pulp turns thick and oil begins to leave the sides. (Be careful as the oily mixture spurts out hot lava, so cover it partially if you wish)
  7. Cool this thick tamarind mixture to room temperature.
  8. Ladle out required amount of above tamarind pulp onto the cooled rice, mix well with some ghee and serve. 
Approximate division of Cuisines across Andhra

Notes :
1) The above quantity of tamarind spice mix is more than sufficient to season 4-5 cups of cooked rice. However, as we are using only 3 cups, some quantity will be left over.
2) You may add peanuts in addition to or instead of cashewnuts. 
3) Store the remaining tamarind spice mix in a glass jar - keeps for a week under refrigeration.


  1. This is awesome! i really like the Andhra version of the Puliyodharai, but never heard of making it with raw tamarind. I can almost taste the raw tamarind. I remember eating a tons of it in my village when i was a kid! Looking forward to your recipes :)

  2. We love this and is always made during the season..so nice to read the big post..the rice has turned out so well..

  3. Awesome Pulihora, Kalyani. I can feel my taste buds salivating at the very thought of this pulihora :)

  4. I haven't madepuliyoohara with raw tamarind sounds very interesting and love the fresh tanginess involved :) Lovely beginning of mega marathon :)

  5. I love the raw tamarind...feel like grabbing it...obviously the rice must be tasting amazing.
    Kalyani a very well written post, loved the addition of these location maps, even I wanted to add them but some how could'nt manage.

  6. I don't remember eating raw tamarind pulihora. It looks so delicious and rice turned out so good. Loved reading your posts.

  7. so flavorful and delicious!!! well written post!!

  8. Its been ages i tasted raw tamarind, feel like having some.. Rice looks prefect for my lunch rite now Kalyani, glad to run this long marathon with u.. Am enjoying all ur Andhra dishes.

  9. Wow Pulihora looks awesome and with raw tamarind it sounds fabulous !

  10. Pulihora is my favorite, but never tried them with raw tamarind, i get raw tamarind here, bookmarking it to try, seriously i m drooling here!!!

  11. I never got beyond that raw tamarind picture. Oh still drooling!!! Pulihora looks fabulous!

  12. I am a great fan of Andhra food too. Great connoisseurs those guys. Oh raw tamarind for puliodharai is totally novel --- to me I mean. Love the idea. Puliodharai looks great. Would be perfect for lunch boxes too.

  13. I am literally drooling over the pics Kalyani. No wonder it was a hit! Love the maps you have put in.Great job!

  14. wow that must be a fiery dish with all those chillies and i appreciate the maps

  15. Wow. .What a tempting pulihora. It looks so inviting.

  16. The raw tamarind brings back memories of college. We had a huge tree outside our dorm. Pulihora looks delicious and must have tasted great with the raw tamarind.

  17. Wow! How I wish I could have some straight off the screen. Its yummy. Great start Kalyani. Waiting to see the rest.

  18. I love the maps you included here Kalyani. Chintakaya pulihora looks absolutely delicious. You are lucky to get the fresh chinatakay where you live.

  19. wherever you managed to lay your hands on the lovely bites...this is nice recipe and am in love with this puliyogare rice especially since my stint in hyderabad. also love the way you have done your post...looking forward to this joyful ride

  20. Nice and tangy rice preparation,it has come out very well,feel like grabbing it..

  21. I bought a box of tamarind but had no ideahow to use it. This looks like the best way. Will try it soon. Your intro for this BM is amazing and hope I could do half of what you guys have done..

  22. Delicious pulihora!! and Love the authentic way you presented..

  23. Lovely write up and great way to start BM. Nice presentation and they look awesome.

  24. Lovely and tangy pulihora there. I admit I had no idea about this pulihora. Just salivating looking at the raw tamarind there.

  25. Wow Pulihora looks awesome and with raw tamarind it sounds so tempting !


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