Tamarind Rice

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Tamarind Rice

I'm perfectly content with plain basmati rice, perhaps moderately adorned with some melted butter and fresh lime juice. I just adore rice that much. Rice lover that I am though, I do enjoy taking a bit more time to create a rice creation that seriously competes for the wow factor of the meal.

And I must recommend this memorable experience of perfect textures and flavors adapted slightly from my trusted copy of Dakshin, a glorious collection of traditional vegetarian south Indian recipes. The steps to prepare the tamarind chutney essential for making this dish can be found here.

On the menu with mung bean and tamarind dal.

Tamarind RiceTamarind Rice
Recipe by
Adapted from Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India
Cuisine: Indian
Published on March 14, 2009

Unique and delicious basmati rice made with tamarind chutney and toasted cashews — a memorable side dish for south Indian meals

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  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2/3 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 generous tablespoons homemade tamarind chutney
  • garnish powder reserved from making the tamarind chutney
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon yellow split peas or chana dal, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon skinless urad dal, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon asafetida
  • handful of dried curry leaves
  • Thoroughly rinse the rice in a fine strainer. Transfer to bowl, cover with water, swish it around a few times, then drain and repeat until the water is relatively clear and no longer cloudy. Drain once more, then cover with water and soak the rice for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside to dry in a strainer for 15 minutes.

  • Transfer the rice to medium saucepan and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl to cool.

  • Meanwhile, toast the cashew pieces in an unoiled skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring or tossing frequently, for 10 minutes or until the cashew pieces are golden brown. Remove and set aside.

  • When the rice has cooled, pour the sesame oil over the rice, add the turmeric and salt, and mix well.

  • For the tempering, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a heavy frying pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, asafetida and the curry leaves, and stir for 30 seconds or until the mustard seeds turn grey and begin to pop. Add the toasted cashew pieces and continue to stir for another few minutes. Pour the tempering into the rice, add the tamarind chutney, and mix until well combined.

  • Serve at room temperature, garnishing each serving with a sprinkle of the tamarind chutney garnish powder.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Tamarind Rice

Other Indian rice dishes from Lisa's Kitchen:
Lemon Rice with Toasted Cashews
Cracked Black Pepper Rice
Mushroom Pulao Rice
Lime Flavoured Rice with Split Peas


Rachel Cotterill said...

Funny, I've never been a big fan of tamarind - but as a rice flavour (rather than overpowering the whole meal) I can imagine it could be quite nice... may have to give this a try :)

Arundathi said...

I love this rice, we make it quite often at home. Glad you enjoyed it too!

TBC said...

Tamarind rice is something I like too but I always take the easy way out and use the store-bought mix/paste. You made your own! :)

Looks good, Lisa.

Laavanya said...

This is a favorite - the tangy taste is always unbeatable.

Anonymous said...

I bought Dakshin a few days, and this was the first recipe I tried. Tastes great, doesn't it!

A_and_N said...

I love love Tamarind rice. Try eating it with cold yoghurt :) Great work, Lisa!

Ivy said...

I just read another recipe using tamarind and had to google search it. Now at least I know what it is.

Anonymous said...

Interesting dish I have never had tamarind before. I will have to try it!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This is another delicious rice dish Lisa:D I love coming over here for mu daily dose of delicious cuisine.

Leen said...

I tried the chutney today, but it didn't work out unfortunately. i didn't manage to grind the masala properly, it was too greasy (and the chutney turned out too crunchy). Would it be possible to dryroast the masala? Or any other tip?

Lisa Turner said...

Hi Leen;

Sorry the chutney wasn't to your liking. I think it would be fine to dry roast the masala. You may want to use a coffee grinder for blending everything together too.