Kovil Pulihora, Koyil Puliyodarai, Temple Tamarind Rice


Kovil Pulihora, Temple Puliyodarai
Kovil Pulihora

Yesterday, I went to the Venkateshwara Temple at Fanaswadi in Mumbai. Located in Kalbadevi, this temple is over 90 years old and is often fondly called Mumbai’s own mini-Tirupati.

See some pics at http://playingwithmemories.com/2014/01/14/venkateswara-balaji-temple-fanaswadi-mumbai/

One of the traditions that you can follow at this temple is deciding to offer various food items as Prasadam to the Lord. This Prasadam is then given to the devotee. This offering requires one to inform the temple authorities in advance.

One this visit, we were accompanied by a couple who had never visited the temple and during the course of the visit, the lady mentioned that she would like to buy some prasadam. This is not normally possible, but I decided to pop down to the office and ask. When I did, to my surprise, they said they would check, and lo and behold we got Pulihora and Ksheerannam.

Now the Kovil Pulihora or the Tamarind Rice we get in temples is always so treasured because it has a unique flavour that sets it apart from the Pulihora we make at home.  So I had a chat with the temple cook to understand what they do different.

This is the recipe I got from this gentleman.

How to Make Kovil Pulihora


  1. Rice – 2 Cups
  2. Tamarind – 1 X Large Lemon Sized Ball
  3. Rai or Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Udad Dal – 1 + 1 tbsp
  5. Chana Dal – 1 + 1 tbsp
  6. Fenugreek Seeds – 1/4 tsp
  7. Coriander Seeds – 1 tsp
  8. Til or Sesame Seeds – 1 tsp
  9. Hing – 1/4 tsp
  10. Turmeric – 3/4 tsp
  11. Curry Leaves – 10 to 12
  12. Spicy Red Chillies – 6 to 8
  13. Salt – To taste
  14. Sugar/Jaggery – ¼ tsp
  15. Oil – 4 tbsp (Til oil preferred)


  1. To extract Tamarind Pulp:
    1. In a small bowl, soak tamarind in 1/4 cup boiling hot water for about 10 mins.
    2. Let the tamarind cool. Extract the pulp. You can add water again to the tamarind to get enough pulp.
  2. To make the Spice Powder:
    1. In a wok, heat 2 tsp oil.
    2. Add 1 tbsp udad dal and 1 tbsp chana dal.
    3. Fry till they are light brown.
    4. Add the coriander seeds and sesame seeds.
    5. Stir-fry for 10 to 15 seconds.
    6. Add 2 red chillies.
    7. Stir-fry for 5 to 7 seconds.
    8. Turn off the heat.
    9. Let the mix cool.
    10. Grind to a fine powder.
  3. Cook rice as usual.
  4. Spread the rice out in a plate.
  5. Drizzle about 2 tbsp oil on the rice and mix well.
  6. Add salt, turmeric and curry leaves to the rice and mix well.
  7. Heat the remaining oil and add mustard seeds to it.
  8. When the mustard seeds splutter, add 1 tbsp udad dal and 1 tbsp chana dal.
  9. Fry till the dals are light brown.
  10. Add the fenugreek seeds and stir-fry till the seeds just start to change colour.
  11. Add split red chillies and fry for ½ min.
  12. Add asafoetida and tamarind pulp.
  13. Cook over medium heat, while stirring constantly.
  14. Cook till the water in the pulp evaporates leaving behind a thickish paste, with oil leaving the sides.
  15. Add the sugar/jaggery and mix well.
  16. Add the paste to the rice and mix well.
  17. Add the roasted spice powder and mix well.
  18. Let the Kovil Pulihora rest for at least one hour before eating.


  • Tamarind should be sufficiently tangy. If you have “new” tamarind or one that is very light in colour, increase the quantity of tamarind.
  • The tamarind pulp should be thick but of pouring consistency. Do not make it too thin.
  • Rice should be cooked such that the grains separate. The rice should not be sticky or have excess water.
  • If you are cooking rice in a pressure cooker, you can also pressure cook the tamarind along with it in a separate bowl.
  • Kovil Pulihora tastes better if you fry the red chillies separately and crush them by hand before mixing in the Pulihora.

I eat Kovil Pulihora with cool Perugu (aka Curd). 🙂


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  2. Thanks for the follow and leading me to your blog. I love tamarind, and of course rice, so this looks like a perfect recipe to up my rice dishes. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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