Tamarind rice is a popular South Indian variety rice. It is famous for its long shelf life and therefore a great travel and picnic food. Tamarind rice paste/ powder is available in most Indian grocery stores and if you take the instant powder route, all you need to do is cook rice and mix with the powder or paste.
However there is a special flavor to home made tamarind rice paste. It involves a bit of prep work in gathering all the ingredients but the whole process takes only about 30minutes. Home made paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month and it definitely comes handy when you need a quick lunch or something to take to a potluck picnic. It is usually served with potato chips or pappadums, lentil-based wafers and makes a tasty meal.
Ingredients for Tamarind Rice Paste
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
15 dried red chilies, roughly broken into pieces
2 tablespoons raw,unsalted peanuts
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon split black gram/urad dal
2 teaspoons Bengal gram/channa dal
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon powdered asafetida
handful of curry leaves
5 tablespoons tamarind paste mixed in 10 tablespoons of water
3 tablespoons untoasted, sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
Ingredients for Tamarind rice
1 cup rice
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon untoasted sesame oil
tamarind rice paste
Method for tamarind rice paste
1. Dry roast the coriander seeds in a large pan until toasted and fragrant. Set it aside.
2. Dry roast the fenugreek seeds in the same pan until the seeds begin to pop. Set it aside.
3. Powder the roasted coriander and fenugreek seeds and set it aside.
4. Heat oil in the same pan and when oil is hot, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
5. Add black gram and Bengal gram and let it cook for a minute.
6. Add peanuts and fry for 5 minutes.
7. Add dried red chilies, turmeric powder and powdered asafetida and cook for about 3 minutes.
8. Add curry leaves and cook till they turn crisp.
9. Add tamarind paste mixed in water to the above. Add more water if needed and let it cook for 15 minutes. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook till the raw smell of tamarind goes away.
10. Add salt and mix well.
11. Continue to cook the tamarind mixture till it begins to leave the sides of the pan and oil begins to separate from the mixture.
12. Add brown sugar (optional) at this stage and mix well.
13. Turn off the heat, add powdered coriander and fenugreek seeds from step 3 and mix well.
14. Once the paste is completely cooled, store in a glass container in the refrigerator.
Method for Tamarind rice
1. Wash and soak rice for 15minutes.
2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add turmeric powder.
3. Add drained rice and cook till rice is done, about 15 minutes on medium heat.
4. Cool the rice completely and gently fluff with a fork.
5. Add oil and mix well.
6. Add 1 teaspoon of tamarind rice paste and mix well. Taste and add more paste and salt if required.