My Grandmother’s Tamarind Rice @ 3rd Ward Wind-Up

I still haven’t met anyone that doesn’t love tamarind rice when they first taste it.  This is a typical South Indian dish and I’m so excited to share my grandmother’s recipe for it.  My mother said that she searched and searched and she finally found it for me.  I’m so happy she did because my grandmother was an excellent cook and preserving her recipes are very important to me.

This a photo of my late grandmother and grandfather in front of their home in Bangalore.  This is the house where my mother grew up in with her brothers, sisters and extended family and also where my grandmother cooked countless meals for everyone.  She was a very sweet and loving woman.


I recently served her rice for a 3rd Ward Wind-Up Event with some cucumber yogurt raita. Tamarind rice has a distinct flavor, which is spicy and tangy all at once, kind of addictive.  This rice in Kannada, my mother’s language, is referred to as kari huliyanna, kari meaning black and huliyanna meaning sour rice.  It’s also popularly referred to as puliyogare in Tamil, another South Indian language.

My grandmother’s recipe is made with roasted spices, tamarind pulp and seasoned with roasted sesame powder and fried peanuts.  If there was ever a time to learn how to extract tamarind pulp, this is it.  Fresh pulp adds to the flavor of the rice, but in a quick fix use tamarind paste.  This recipe may seem daunting due to ingredients and process, but there are a couple ways to save time if you plan on making it often.  For instance, you can make the flavored tamarind paste in bulk and refrigerate it for future use.  I usually make the powder in bulk and extract the tamarind fresh, but you can choose which method suits you and your schedule.

Tamarind rice is usually prepared with fried peanuts and I like to serve it with a yogurt raita.  It’s also a perfect picnic food.  Of course if you don’t have the time to prepare the tamarind rice powder/paste from scratch, there are a number of varieties that are ready made and available at the Indian store. MTR makes a good one.  I say this because I think everyone should try it, no matter how you get your hands on it – you will not be sorry!




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  • Nitin Alabur

    Been looking arund for this recipe for a long time! Thanks for sharing it! WIll post my results here when I make it! :)

  • Vimitha Anand

    Tangy and delicious picnic rice