Tamarind Rice
100 Min

Tamarind Rice

This is an adaptation of a traditional South Indian rice that is so delicious it can be eaten just on its own. It is also good cold or at room temperature. It is usually made with peanuts, here we make it with cashews. Most times, the seasonings are added after the rice is cooked.

In this case, the tamarind water is cooked with the rice, to infuse the flavor all the way. Remember, the key to making good rice is to not stir it any more than necessary. The less you stir, the longer the grain of the rice will remain. Enjoy tamarind rice with the Aviyal or just simply with a raita and a pickle.

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Cook Time

100 Minutes + soak time



Step 1
Rinse the basmati rice 2 to 3 times in water then soak for an hour or two. Drain.
Step 2
If using dried tamarind, combine with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes then turn the heat off. Let the tamarind rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then press all the water out, discarding the pulp. Reserve the juice and add water as needed to bring it up to 2 cups. If using tamarind concentrate, add 2 cups of hot water to it, let it soften for a few minutes then whisk it until mixed.
Step 3
In a medium sized saucepan, warm the coconut oil over high heat until shimmering and fry the kari leaves, then add the mustard seeds, channa dal and crushed black pepper. The mustard seeds will pop and sizzle for just a few seconds, the lentils will turn darker. Then add the whole red chiles and the onions.
Step 4
Cook the onions for 8 to 10 minutes on low heat or until they are translucent and golden brown. Then add the rice, cloves, ginger, jaggery, chile powder, salt and 2 cups of tamarind water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the pilaf rest for 5 minutes.
Step 5
Add the cashews, raisins and coconut and let the pilaf rest again for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 6
Toss gently, fold in the mint leaves and serve.

1 cup long grain basmati rice

3 ounces of dried tamarind or 1 tablespoon of tamarind paste

3 tablespoons coconut oil

10 to 15 kari leaves, minced

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon raw channa dal (optional)

1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

6 to 7 whole dried red chiles, like arbol

1 cup minced red onions

8 to 10 whole cloves, slightly crushed

1 tablespoon ginger puree

1 tablespoon jaggery

1 teaspoon red chile powder (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup toasted chopped cashews or other nuts

1/3 cup raisins or currants

1/2 cup fresh grated or sliced coconut

1 cup mint leaves

Notes & Variations

  • The jaggery offsets the sour flavors of the tamarind – feel free to leave it out or replace with brown sugar.
  • The warm spices like cloves and black peppercorns can be replaced with other aromatics like cardamom, cinnamon, or nutmeg. If using nutmeg, just use half a teaspoon.
100 Min

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