An easy-to-make, wholesome meal — tamarind rice

Tamarind is widely available in India; it is a favourite condiment in most Indian kitchens. Ripe tamarind is sweet and tangy and used in curries and marinades in Asia. In Europe, it is a vital ingredient in Worcestershire sauce, barbeque and meat-accompanied proprietary sauces. It is an essential souring agent, extensively used in south Indian and Maharashtrian cuisines. Tamarind pulp is also used to make syrups and jams.

The nutritional components of tamarind are Vitamin A, K, E, and C. It contains essential B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin and thiamine) and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, potassium and selenium, besides dietary fibre. Tamarind is rich in tartaric acid, a good antioxidant. In Ayurveda, it is used to cure gastric and digestive problems. The flowers are used to treat piles. It also lowers serum cholesterol. Diseases such as jaundice, ulcers and malaria can be treated or their severity reduced with tamarind leaves in herbal tea. Tamarind pulp acts as a blood purifier and can be given to children to destroy worms in the stomach.

Now, for a recipe.

Puliyodarai (Tamarind rice)

Ingredients

Ponni rice (cooked): 150 gm

Tamarind pulp: 50 ml

Turmeric powder: 4 gm

Asafoetida: 1 gm

Gingelly oil: 15 ml

Mustard: 2 gm

Button chilli dried: 2-3 nos.

Channa dal: 3 gm

Urad dal: 3 gm

Fenugreek seeds: 4 gm

Coriander seeds (roasted and crushed): 4 gm

Curry leaves: 2 gm

Roasted peanut powder: 15 gm

Salt to taste

Method: Heat gingelly oil and add button chilli, mustard seeds, channa and urad dal, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Let the tempering crackle. Then add soaked pulp of tamarind to tempering. Add turmeric and asafoetida to it. Season with salt. Add cooked ponni rice to it and toss well to allow masala to coat the rice grains. Finally, sprinkle roasted peanut powder, roasted crushed coriander and fenugreek seeds. Serve hot.

Senior Sous Chef

Vivanta by Taj – Fisherman’s Cove, Chennai