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A bowl of tamarind rice on a plate and two spoons beside the plate.

Chintapandu Pulihora

Chintapandu pulihora is a classic South Indian vegan rice dish. A festive food, comfort food and good dish to pack in lunch boxes and for picnics.
Course Mmain Dish
Cuisine South Indian Cuisine, Telugu Cuisine
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 555kcal
Author Usha Rao


  • Rice cooker
  • Wide Bowl
  • Skillet & Spoon


  • ½ cup uncooked Basmati Rice I used measuring cup that comes with the rice cooker
  • 1 cup Water
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt adjust to taste. Tamarind paste had some salt, hence used less
  • 2 teaspoon Oil
  • teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Dry Red Chili
  • 2 Curry Leaves
  • 1 small Green Chili slit into 2
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Peanuts Use 2 tablespoon for instant pulusu
  • ¼ teaspoon Fenugreek Powder
  • Pinch of Turmeric
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Home-made Tamarind Paste/Concentrate or Pulihora Pulusu *check notes and adjust to taste
  • 1 - 2 tablespoon Water opt


Prep Rice

  • Wash rice and cook with 1 cup of water. Once done, spread it in a plate or in a wide bowl to cool. Leftover rice also works great here.
  • Add some salt, pinch of turmeric, mix and keep it aside. If using pulihora pulusu/gojju, mix it to rice.

Tempering when using Pulihora Pulusu

  • Heat oil in a pan for tempering.
  • When oil is hot, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and let the seeds crackle.
  • Throw in peanuts, green chili and let peanuts roast.
  • Add fenugreek powder (opt since pulusu already has it), turmeric and give a good stir.
  • Pour over rice and mix it well.

Tempering + Instant Pulusu

  • Follow above instructions from 1-4. Add one dry red chili along with curry leaves in step 2 and fenugreek powder along with turmeric in step 4.
  • Add tamarind paste/concentrate, 1 - 2 tablespoon of water and mix well. If you do not have tamarind paste, soak tamarind, extract juice and use it.
  • Reduce the flame and continue stirring until water is evaporated and tempering blends into tamarind paste. Keep an eye on the tempering as this will take only a few minutes. If using tamarind juice, simmering time will be longer.
  • Pour it over rice and toss.
  • Taste the rice and adjust salt to taste. If the rice is tangy, add some sesame seeds powder to reduce the tanginess.
  • Serve pulihora with tomato shorva or with some yogurt. Pulihora and yogurt is my favorite combo.


  • Tamarind - Homemade concentrated tamarind paste is simmered tamarind juice. Pulihora pulusu is seasoned concentrated tamarind paste which is prepared by simmering tamarind extract with fenugreek powder, curry leaves, dry chilies and chana dal. If you do not have either of these, soak some tamarind, extract juice and use it. You need to simmer this juice for more than just a few minutes.
  • Peanuts - Use more peanuts when preparing tamarind rice with homemade tamarind paste or freshly squeezed tamarind juice.
  • Chana Dal - You can soak chana dal and add to tempering. I usually avoid it and prefer peanuts instead. However, I do add chana dal to pulihora pulusu, hence use less peanuts in tempering when using pulusu.
  • Rice - Use basmati, sona masoori or any rice of your choice. But keep the rice grainy. Do not over cook rice. This recipe is a good way to use up leftover rice.


Calories: 555kcal | Carbohydrates: 93g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 178mg | Potassium: 429mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 509IU | Vitamin C: 111mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 2mg