The thought of Tamarind rice brings back nostalgic memories of long train journeys with my father, mother, two sisters and our dog. I used to love those train journeys, squabbling with my sisters for window seats, top berths, and whose turn it was to take the dog out for a run during a station stop. Best of all, the train journeys symbolized uninterrupted time for reading, dreaming, watching the urchins at the stations and zipping out to fill water bottles.
With journeys usually spanning a couple of days, if you wanted a decent meal while traveling, you were either reduced to ordering from the dining car or grabbing something that an urchin shoved at you while the train stopped for a few minutes at a station. The dining car experience was best avoided because it entailed a dubiously white-coated attendant bringing a grubby tray of cold rice, watery sambar, sour buttermilk and gooey vegetables at one of the train stations.
Succumbing to the urchins’ persistent sales tactics was an exercise in valor. You never knew what hygiene standards had been observed when the food was cooked and how many times the urchin had stopped on the way to the station to throw stones at stray dogs, while depositing the food on the ground.
Either way, you took your chances eating out while traveling. Or if you were lucky enough to have a mom like mine, you got to eat the yummiest home-made Tamarind rice and potato curry, in addition to devouring Enid Blyton books. 🙂
My mother would make the spicy tamarind sauce in advance – someday, I will post her recipe. Nowadays, we have an easier alternative to home made tamarind sauce – MTRs Puliyogare mix (dehydrated tamarind sauce mix). This is enormously quick and easy. You can get this mix in any self-respecting Indian grocery store.
Here it is – Spicy Tamarind rice made in just 4 minutes flat, if you have pre-cooked rice. I usually use brown rice and my family loves it.
Here is what you need:
1 cup cooked brown rice (you can also use white jasmine rice or white basmati rice)
3 tbsp MTR puliyogare mix
3 tbsp raw peanuts (you can also use cashews and raisins instead) (optional)
2 dry red chili (broken into a halves) (optional)
2-3 tsp olive oil
Here is how you make this:
Cook rice until tender and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add the dry red chili and brown for a minute. Now add the raw peanuts and fry until crisp. Add the MTR mix and immediately add the pre-cooked and cooled rice. Mix well.
Enjoy with yogurt and cucumber raita or plain yogurt.