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Tamarind rice (Puliyogare)

Are there any South Indian unmarried girls/guys in the world who never tried puliyogare? If there is one, I haven’t met them yet. The MTR puliyogare mix must be one of their most popular powders. It is not as much popular among Indians as much as it is among Indians who travel abroad due to job requirements or studies. This powder comes as a “life saver” to most. Confused?? Let me explain.

Normally when someone is sent to a foreign country from India on a job, most of the time it is for 3-6months, the first thing they do is, go for a big shopping spree. Since there are restrictions for carrying home made goodies, almost everyone picks up these instant powders, so that they can survive in an unknown country for at least few days. Usually one of the staples being either puliyogare powder or paste. It all started from there and after a while, everyone gets adjusted to this quick fix meal. Mainly this helps in preparing lunches. Since this is one of the simplest quick-fix-meals which does not require any sides or raw materials, everyone goes for this. When they reach the foreign place, just cook some rice either in microwave or on stove top and add this powder/paste and eat. Some go to the trouble of actually heating oil and frying the powder but not all.

Both V and I have lived like that for a long time. Basically it was before our wedding. Whenever we were sent on assignments to US or Australia, we would pack this and rice. At least in my case, I would try to make something more than this and I won’t get bored of it, but not him. So it was banned from my home for a long time.

But this rice IS very tasty. So time to time, I would sneak in a pack of MTR puliyogare powder and prepare it when he was not around. I gave him 3 years to wear off the effects of puliyogare that he had consumed. Somehow I always wanted to create it on my own. Did I say I have this compulsion to create all the powders at home? if I use store-bought powder, I feel its like buying ready-made food. So at some point, I attempt making them at home. Since last few months I have started cooking this from scratch at home.

The powder can be made in advance and stored for a very long time. I would say 1-2 months is a decent time as after that, the aroma diminishes. Even the paste can be saved for a week or two when refrigerated. Make powder and save, puliyogare gets ready in 15mins. Make paste and save, puliyogare gets ready in 5mins. I have made a big batch of powder and it is being used for last few days :).

Ohh.., forgot to explain what a puliyogare is – puli is sour and ogara - something used on top (of rice). Call it puliyogare, puliyodarai, tamarind rice or whatever, its one tasty and no-brainer item :).

Puliyogare powder:
2 tbl spn dry coconut
1 tbl spn chana dal
7-8 curry leaves
5-6 red chilies
1 tbl spn peanuts
1/2 tbl spn coriander seeds
1 tbl spn sesame seeds
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds

Dry roast all the ingredients till a nice aroma comes out. Grind to a powder.

Puliyogare paste:
1 tbl spn thick tamarind extract or thick juice extracted from 1/2 cup tamarind
1/2 tea spn chili powder
1 tea spn jaggery
1/2 tea spn chana dal
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
1 tbl spn peanuts
4-5 curry leaves
1 tea spn puliyogare powder

Heat oil and add peanuts, chana dal, mustard seeds. When they are fried, add curry leaves.
Add the tamarind extract and 1/2 cup water. Cook on a low flame till it becomes slightly thick.
Add jaggery and cook till it completely melts.
Add chili powder, puliyogare powder, salt. Keep mixing till the paste thickens.
Store in air tight container.

Heat a little oil and put the paste. Fry for a min till a nice aroma comes out. Now add the cooked rice, salt and mix well. (If the paste is done fresh, just add the rice to the same pan when the paste is ready). The ratio of rice to paste depends on individual taste.

Instead of rice, this can even be made with cooked rice noodles.

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{ 50 comments… add one }

  • aruna March 6, 2008, 8:57 pm

    Wow finally got the recipe. I was waiting to make this powder at home. I make it every week but either with the MTR paste or the powder. Will try on this weekend and let you know the difference.

  • Seema March 6, 2008, 8:58 pm

    This is a yummy & time saver dish! Why Bachelors even we married folks keep this on hand for those lazy days! But its real tasty dish. But some how i feel Pulyodarai tastes best when on picnics or on those train journey… What say you?

  • dhivya March 6, 2008, 9:31 pm

    love those..pic looks so tempting

  • Cindy March 6, 2008, 10:17 pm

    I am from Malaysia, not Indian, but no stranger to Indian food. While living in Chicagoland, my best friend (an Indian native) and I used to go to Little India or other Indian’s eating places around where we lived. She was the one who introduced me to chaat.

    Can you tell me how to substitute this — Asafoetida — as this is not a common item on regular supermarket outside of India or Asia.


    Shilpa:Cindy, Asafoetida has a very unique aroma and it cannot be substituted with anything else. You can ignore it if it is not available.

    • periyasami July 21, 2011, 3:55 pm

      Asafoetida is called Perungaayam in Tamil

  • Maya March 6, 2008, 10:57 pm

    Like u said, there wouldn’t be anyone not aware of Puliyogare. I’ve never tried to make this powder or paste at home anytime. Thanx for posting this, will try soon.

  • supriya March 6, 2008, 10:58 pm

    Hi there Shilpa….wow….that looks so yummy….Puliogare is one of my favourite rice dishes…we usually make it using the MTR powder….thanks for the recipe

  • bee March 6, 2008, 11:12 pm

    lovely. i had never even heard of puliyogare until i met jai, even though i’m south indian. and then i thought it was a strange idea, until i tasted and loved it.

  • Swati: Sugarcraft India March 6, 2008, 11:19 pm

    Lovely Puliogere..Used to make it often with MTR when we were posted in Belgaum..Now with your recipe can make it again :)

  • Purnima March 7, 2008, 12:20 am

    Hey Shilpa..must try your version! Tks for sharing!!

  • Manasi March 7, 2008, 1:01 am

    U r right, I dout there is anyone who has not tasted MTR pulliogare powder! I like the paste varsion too.
    This is SO yummy and quick too!
    Ur recipe is a must try!!

  • Asha March 7, 2008, 6:01 am

    Slurp! I like MTR Puliyogare, Vangi bhath and Rasam pd, everything else is just okay. Looks great Shilpa, good that you make your own pd, that is the best!:))

  • Neelam Salvi March 7, 2008, 11:16 am

    Ur recipe is good.. seems very delicious..
    I have a simple variation of this recipe..I saw it on TV and made a few changes to it..
    Use olive oil..Give tadka of red chillies,mustard seeds, asofoetida,curry leaves and add onions.. after the onions turn brown..add tamarind pulp mixed with water.(around one glass tamarind juice -pulp mixed with water for one glass of rice.)Then add more water according to requirement.then add salt , very little sugar, red chilli powder and croiander leaves (lots of them, coarsely cut.)In the end add rice and cook..
    It looks grreat and tastes really good..And can be made in about 15 min including prepartion and cooking..

  • sandhya March 7, 2008, 11:49 am

    Looks great… I always made it with MTR now i will try your’s…

  • musy March 7, 2008, 12:51 pm

    He he, Shilpa, i loved every word of this post :) MTR puliyogre packets used to be such a treat in the hostel :) Thanks for bringing back all those memories, dear! Love your version of puliyogre gojju-pure dose of nostalgia! Really, am so happy to read this post!

  • Anjali March 7, 2008, 1:13 pm

    wow i love puliyogare rice, never made it myself. i saw your recipe, will try it definately.. good collection of recipes. whenever i need any recipe, i search in ur website 1st.

  • Chandrika S March 7, 2008, 2:41 pm

    Ah…. this has turned into my favourite comfort food….I just love it….

    My friend’s Dad makes this paste at home and it is the best that I have eaten. So everytime I visit my friend I ask for Puliyogare…:-)

  • Jothi March 8, 2008, 3:22 am

    hi shilpa,
    ur recipe of puliyodarai is wonderful.
    it would taste even better if gingelly oil is used in the preparation.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Ratna March 9, 2008, 11:49 pm

    Hi Shilpa,

    This i tried. Really its very tasty and instant. Thanks.

    Can you please send me receipy of Bendi Fry.

  • surabhikamat@yahoo.com March 11, 2008, 7:54 am

    I regret to say that you have not posted the precise recipe of Puliyogare. You have skipped many key ingredients like Chakke and Lavanga. The procedure is not like what the Iyengars do. I will let you know the exact receipe in a day or two.

    Shilpa: Thanks for your words Surabhi. But I never said this is an authentic Iyengar puliyogare recipe. There are more than one ways of making Puliyogare and this is one of them. Also, I just checked atleast 10 puliyogare powder recipes and none of them had cloves/cinnamon.

  • surabhikamat@yahoo.com March 12, 2008, 6:00 am

    In continuation with my response No. 19
    My Tranquil regret that lacking Methi, Clove, chakke you will not get the aroma.
    Iyengars word was used because Puliyogare is tantamount to Iyengar, or shall I say it is a brand of iyengar community.

    Shilpa: Surabhi, Please leave your version of “authentic Iyengar recipe” for this as a comment here. I would love to try it. Thanks

  • Renuka March 17, 2008, 10:28 pm

    Hi Shipla,
    I am a big fan of south indian food. I tried it and it is awesome..My husband does not really like other then Maharashtrain food, but he also loved it..

    Thanks a lot!

  • Jennifer March 20, 2008, 11:08 am

    Wow thanks for posting this. I been craving this as I lived in Chennai before and I also feel the same way as you – buying the readymade is not really as good as making it on your own (plus as I read the ingredients in the MTR one here, it has refined oil in it…eeek!!) I am going to try this very soon…

  • Jennifer March 20, 2008, 11:13 am

    One more addition- though puli is sour- I believe puli also means tamarind in Tamil and Malayalam…anyone can confirm or challenge :)
    I also have linked few of your recipes to my blog at

  • Chandrakala May 21, 2008, 7:45 am

    Wowww…recipe tempting me to make it now only.
    Really I like and love home made puliyogare. My collegue use to bring for me from her home.
    When I tried with MTR ,didnot taste like home made.
    Then Ramesh (Hope u know him) told me to refer this site. Really very good recipes are there. I was aking many people for proper recipe for this. Finally I got it. Thanks.

  • trupti shiraguppi August 2, 2008, 5:32 am

    my daughter loves it! and i am happy that i can make homemade puliyagare powder. Thank u very much!

  • ram September 3, 2008, 8:38 am


  • Megha September 15, 2008, 10:28 am

    The recipe was very detailed and helpful. Thanks. Keep up the good work!

  • govind November 1, 2008, 2:10 pm

    thanks for the recipe … it came out excellent!!!.. i love pulihogre

  • Lakshmi Prabha November 20, 2008, 2:07 am

    I tried out ur puliyogare recipe…wow…its great…as i dont have corriander seeds i used corriander powder instead..but the taste was awesome..and i thought how it would be if i use the seed itself…
    thank u so much for the recipe and hope to have many more like this..

  • Aparna February 22, 2009, 12:33 am

    I have few suggestions to your tamarind rice.Add few fenugreek seeds ,udad dal also in the oil .Fenugreek seeds give very nice flavour.You can add turmeric powder and salt when the paste is being cooked.(Turmeric powder when added makes the rice look appealing)
    Once the paste is cooked,take rice seperately in a plate and spread it(So that the rice grains will be seperate).Then add the cooked tamarind paste and mix it.This way you can judge how much paste can be added to the rice.
    (If you are adding the rice to the pan which has paste ,it may not always come out well).
    In one of the comments,i read add onion also.But somehow onion does not go well with tamarind rice.
    Hope my suggestions are taken in a positive spirit.
    Thank you for giving us such a wonderful site and making our cooking easy.You really take a lot of pains to give authentic recipes,despite your hectic schedule.

  • Sarah Aijaz April 7, 2009, 2:46 am

    WOW! I have always loved the Poliyogare! Especially, since I live in the Middle-East, it is hard to find someone who knows the authentic recipe. This is pretty close! The store-bought powders and such never give you the right taste! This recipe, though different, is absolutely delicious.

    I happened to find a link that explains in explicit detail the traditional and authentic Iyenger recipe. Every step with pictures, is given. I thought it would be nice to share.


    I hope the link works. Iyenger style apparently has rasm powder too in it. Luckily, the site has a link to a simple rasm recipe too, that way the entire Puliyogare is authentic and rich without nasty preservatives and old powders!

    Thank you for the recipe!

  • Sanjay August 2, 2009, 9:30 am

    It came out awesome.. Every one loved it at home…

  • Poornima Prabhu December 12, 2009, 10:30 pm

    hi Shilpa,
    I tasted this rice for the 1 st time after coming to Bangalore.This rice is almost unheard of in Kerala:(…….my daughter loves this rice and asks for it to be sent at least once a week in her lunch box,i am now making with MTR powder,but the taste that i get in temple prasadams is superb……now for my doubt,is it only necessary for either the powder or paste to be made or should i make both?…..but to make the paste i need the powder too,right?…….i got confused ‘cos u said if powder is there it takes 15 mts to prepare and if paste is there 5 mts,pls clarify…….also if only pdr is used how to make the rice??

    • Shilpa December 13, 2009, 10:52 am

      You can breakdown this in 3 parts –
      1) Make powder
      2) Using the powder make paste
      3) Using paste make rice.
      If you have powder, first make paste and then add rice to make puliyogare. You can save the remaining in either step one or step two. If you have saved powder, then making paste from it and then adding rice takes about 15mins. If you have made paste from the powder and saved it, you just have to mix rice and puliyogare gets ready. I hope this is clear.

  • Poornima Prabhu December 13, 2009, 12:07 pm

    Thanx a lot for the quick response,i will make this and get back with my result.

  • Poornima Prabhu December 17, 2009, 4:41 am

    hi Shilpa,
    finally made this y’day…the powder came out fine,only the amount of tamarind i added for the paste was excess,i used store bought tam paste for the 1 st time,so was not very sure about the qty…….will use less nxt time,as i had made very less qty of paste it is ok……..but this is much better than any readymade powder………so a big THANK YOU!!!!

  • hina December 17, 2009, 8:20 am

    itz a mouthwatering recipie..good job:-)..with what other dishes wud this rice taste good?

    • Shilpa December 17, 2009, 9:24 am

      Hine, its eaten as it is, not with other dishes

  • MadhuRohit January 23, 2010, 1:40 am

    i made the powder yestreday and while roasting some ingredients took long time 2 get done and some were overdone i think especially the sesame seeds.channa dal n peanuts took long time 2 get done.the powder tasted bitter is ths natural??i had added 1 teaspn fenugreek seeds also to the mixture.i think we should roast channa dal n peanuts first and when thy r half done other spices should be added.plz do tell me how to go about roasting??

    • Shilpa January 23, 2010, 10:14 am

      If it is difficult to roast them all at once, roast them one by one. I normally roast everything on a medium or low flame. No, the powder is not bitter. Fenugreek has a bitter taste to it, so that may be the reason. Also, if you burn any spices, they turn bitter.

  • Divya July 13, 2010, 6:39 pm


    I made this today and it came out very well. Thanks so much for such a wonderful and yet an easy recipe.

  • Deevann March 1, 2011, 5:39 am

    Shilpa, You are a traditional or authentic cooking genius. These comments are not in particular for this recipe, but for all your recipes plus the efforts in giving attention to detail. It all shows your passion for cooking and love to share it. May God bless your Aayi, the source, and you, for sharing such beautiful recipes from Karnataka. Though I am not a good cook, I love reading recipes and specially enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work. Cheers!

  • Samir July 16, 2011, 3:32 pm

    i have lived in b’lore and am familiar with this dish. my wife had never heard about it so i made some using mtr mix. now she is hooked to it.

  • Sapna October 2, 2011, 6:13 pm

    Hi Shilpa, Thanks for the recipe. dry coconut means copra or frozen coconut?

  • Suyash December 24, 2011, 9:25 pm

    to be very honest… i never tried this when i was in India… I came to know abt this when I moved out… and believe me… It’s taste is yummieeeeeeee… :)

  • jayashree January 31, 2012, 3:08 am

    thanx for the receipe.looks very tasty.i am going to try this today.once again thanx.your receipes are always simple and easy to make.

  • Barnali Basu March 11, 2012, 3:28 pm

    I have always loved your recipes . The tomato rice is a big hit in my kitchen, and today I tried the puliogare. Do visit my website and leave your feedback please

  • Jeevana April 3, 2012, 12:01 pm

    Hi! I love to eat Puliyagare.. but I have a slight confusion regarding its pronunciation. As some call it, Pu-lee-yaw-rey & some pulli-aw-ghrey. I have even heard pulli-haw-raw. Can you please tell me what’s correct.. And yeah, where does the dish originate from? Is it from Karnataka or Andhra?
    Thanks in advance!

  • ayesha siddiqua April 6, 2012, 3:15 am

    Hi shilpa,
    this recepie is awesome i jst tried it.it was wonderful thank u so much for such a authentic recepie providing thank u once again because i wanted impress my boy frnd wen ate this na woh mere khanne ka dewana hoga hai.

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