Monday, September 25, 2017

Puli Sadam aka Tamarind Rice Recipe

During my childhood in JB, our Friday evenings used to be our temple visitation at Sri Muniswarar Temple, Tampoi. Mom mostly went for prayers, I went for the yummy banana leaf dinner and other sweet and savoury offerings. Their banana leaf meal, despite being simple, is unparalleled even by the most famous banana leaf restaurants.

Sri Muniswarar Temple Tampoi is very famous and rich in history, which you can watch here. To this day, their Thaipusam celebration is the most grand in the southern part of our country.

One of my favourite and most fond memory of their offerings is what we used to call 'sour rice', which is actually called puli sadam in Tamil, loosely translated to tamarind rice. Some fun facts here, 'puli' also means tiger in Tamil, it is rather amusing to call it tiger rice, furthermore, it even boosts the colours of a tiger!

And coincidentally, this is also what most Indians would specially prepare for someone who is expecting, among other things of course, but this is extra special as it is sour in taste. Which means I have had good memories of stuffing myself with the sour goodness when I was carrying both the babies.

As the name suggests, it is basically plain rice flavoured with tamarind, and as anything Indian, accompanied by a cocktail of spices. I have not got the exact amount of spices here, but typically it is very small amount about 1 tsp. Usually you don't need a big amount of whole spices to get the taste, so yes, the small amount is sufficient. Here is:

You Need:
2 cups of cooked rice
2 tsp tamarind paste
some roasted peanuts
some curry leaves
some dry chilli
jaggery (I used gula Melaka)
some mustard seeds
some fenugreek seeds
some urad dhal
some oil
some asafoetida
some channal dhal
some turmeric powder
3/4 cup water 
1) Heat some oil in a pan. Add fenugreek and mustard seeds. Let it splutter.
2) Add the dry chilli,  curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric powder, urad dhal and channa dhal.
3) Keep stirring till the channa dhal starts to brown.
4) Add the tamarind paste, and add about 3/4 cup of water. If you are using regular tamarind which needs to be soaked first, you don't have to add extra water here.
5) Give it a stir and let it simmer.
6) Add jaggery or as I did, gula Melaka. Check for the taste, and add salt as needed.
7) Simmer till the mixture reduces by half. Now you can add the rice and give a nice stir, halfway turning off the fire, add the roasted peanuts. Keep stirring to get it evenly coated. 

Serve with papadam and yogurt, or just on its own, there are multiple bursts of flavour in your mouth as you savour it. The roasted peanuts, channa dhal and urad dhal really give different experiences of crunch and munch, if there is even such a thing! And then bursts of mustard and fenugreek seeds keeps you rooted to the Indian taste.

Happy trying!

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