South India is well known for its delicious rice dishes and tamarind rice is one of my personal favorites. Tamarind rice is spicy and bolder in flavor with a very subtle and slightly tart background taste. It’s the perfect way to use leftover rice.
Tamarind is very commonly used in India, especially in South Indian cooking. It is used to add a sour or tart component to a dish and balance the other spices. Tamarind comes from a large tropical fruit-bearing tree that produces a brown pod, known as a tamarind pod. When ripe, the pod yields an edible dark brown pulp (known as tamarind pulp) that has a very distinctive and unique taste combining the flavors of sweet, sour and tart.
2 cups pre-cooked Basmati rice, separate the grains until fluffy & loose
1 tsp black mustard seeds
3-4 dried red chilies, to taste
6-8 fresh curry leaves
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1 tbsp urad dal (split black lentils or black gram)
2 tbsp chana dal (split Bengal gram, pre-soaked in water for at least 30 minutes & drained well)
salt, to taste
¼ tsp turmeric (haldi)
2-3 tbsp tamarind concentrate (available in any Indian grocery store)
¼ cup roasted unsalted peanuts
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
½ cup of freshly grated coconut (you can use frozen grated coconut), optional
freshly chopped cilantro for garnish
In a large wok on medium high heat, add 1 tbsp of oil. When the oil is hot, carefully add the black mustard seeds & allow them to splatter. When the splattering stops, add the dried red chilies along with the curry leaves, asafetida, urad dal and chana dal. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until slightly browned. Then add in the salt and turmeric. Next, add the cooked rice and mix well to combine all of the ingredients. Now add the tamarind concentrate, stir to combine, reduce the heat, cover and let cook for 5-6 minutes. Lastly, add the peanuts and the freshly grated coconut. If you are using frozen grated coconut, add it with the tamarind concentrate and let it cook through. Garnish with the freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve immediately.