Pulihora Recipe

Updated: May 5, 2024, By Swasthi, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Pulihora is a popular traditional rice dish from Andhra Cuisine. This dish features precooked white rice that’s mixed with a tempering made with oil, mustard seeds, lentils, curry leaves, chilies, tamarind and other pantry staples. It’s delicious, aromatic, tangy and hot. Chintapandu Pulihora is a staple, specially made during festivals or religious ceremonies and is also offered to the deities.


About Pulihora

It is a tradition in many Telugu speaking Hindu households and temples to offer this to the Gods along with Garelu, Curd Rice, Paramannam (rice payasam) or Chakkara Pongali. It is distributed as prasadam among the families, friends and to the devotees visitng the temples. Similar dishes made in other South Indian states are – Puliyogare from Karnataka and Puliyodarai from Tamil Nadu. But pulihora is much easier than the other versions.

To begin with, cook rice in a way it remains grainy and separated, yet not hard, undercooked or mushy. Traditionally only aged rice is preferred and new rice (rice that is harvested in the current year) is not used. Newly harvested rice turns out softer and kind of sticky so it is not used. Any short grain aged rice is preferred but feel free to use any other aged rice of choice.

Tamarind is the key ingredient and traditionally good quality sour tamarind is used. Make sure it smells and tastes fresh, not metallic. It is soaked in hot water until soft, squeezed well to extract the pulp and strained. I know this seems like a hard work but it is very common for the tamarind to have plenty of debris and tiny bits of hard tamarind coverings/shells. So this step is inevitable if you want the best pulihora. You may try store bought ready to use bottled pulp or concentrate but I have never tried it in this recipe.

Green Chilies, red chilies, ginger, turmeric, curry leaves, hing are the basic ingredients used in the tempering. If making this for an offering omit chilies and ginger and use crushed black pepper instead or simply follow your family’s customs.

The temple style Pulihora uses mustard powder or crushed sesame seeds. If you want you may roast the seeds lightly and crush to use half tsp powder. Using a lot can easily make the dish bitter.

Step by step Photo Instructions

1. To make mustard powder (optional) – Add mustard seeds to a pan and heat them. Do not roast a lot they may turn bitter. Remove and set aside to cool. or you can also use sesame seeds. Dry roast them in a pan until they begin to splutter. Turn off and cool them. Make a fine powder. Keep this aside.

2. Soaking Tamarind: Rinse and soak tamarind in hot water and make a thick paste by squeezing. Filter to remove stones and debris. Set this aside.

Making tamarind paste

3. Cook rice without making it mushy. I cook rice in a pressure cooker directly for 1 whistle. Spread the rice on a wide plate and sprinkle salt, turmeric and oil.Set aside to cool completely.

pouring oil over rice

4. Add oil to a pan and heat it. Next add mustard, chana dal, urad dal and peanuts. Fry the peanuts till golden & aromatic. Then add curry leaves, ginger, green chilies and red chilies. Fry everything well until the curry leaves turn crisp.

frying tempering ingredients

5. Add tamarind paste, jaggery, hing and more salt.Cook until the mixture becomes thick.

adding tamarind paste for pulihora

5. Switch off the stove when the mixture begins to leave oil on the sides.

cooking tamarind paste with seasoning

6. Sprinkle mustard powder. Then add the pulihora mixture over it. Mix the rice well. Taste test and adjust salt.

adding pulihora mix with rice

Serve Pulihora with a side of Garelu, onion pakoda, masala vada or yogurt.

Pulihora Recipe

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Recipe Card

Pulihora Recipe

Pulihora Recipe

4.98 from 84 votes
This rice dish is made with precooked rice mixed with a tempering of spices, curry leaves and tamarind. It is a festive dish and is prepared as a offering to the deities.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • cups aged rice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (or any cooking oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric (adjust to color)
  • ½ teaspoon Salt or as needed
  • 1 handful tamarind or 4 tbsp. thick tamarind pulp (adjust to suit your taste)
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon Jaggery optional

To powder

  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder lightly roasted or roasted sesame seeds powder (optional)

To temper

  • 2 tablespoons Oil
  • ½ teaspoon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon urad dal
  • 1 tablespoon channa dal
  • ¼ cup peanuts
  • 2 red chilies broken
  • 2 Green chilies slit (if not for naivedyam)
  • ½ teaspoon Ginger finely chopped (optional)
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 1 pinch hing /asafoetida



  • Cooking rice – Add rice to a bowl & wash it well a few times. Pour 3 cups water. Place the bowl in a pressure cook and cover with a lid. Pressure cook for 2 to 3 whistles on a medium flame. When the pressure drops remove the bowl and transfer to a wide plate. Do not mash it.
  • Preparing rice – The rice has to be grainy and not mushy. Sprinkle salt and turmeric over the rice. Then pour 1 tbsp sesame oil. Let cool down and mix well. If needed add more turmeric to get the color you desire.
  • Making mustard powder (optional) – If you wish to use mustard powder, roast the seeds until slightly hot and cool. Powder and set aside. or You can roast sesame seeds until they begin to splutter. Cool and powder. Do not use both, use either of them.
  • Soaking Tamarind – Add tamarind to a small bowl and rinse it. Pour hot water just enough to immerse it.  When it turns soft, squeeze and make a thick paste. Pass it through a filter, discard stones and pulp.

How to make pulihora

  • Heat a pan with oil. Add mustard, peanuts, chana dal & urad dal.  Fry till the peanuts turn golden & aromatic. Add curry leaves, green chilies, red chilies and ginger (optional). Fry till the red chilies turn crisp
  • Add hing, followed by tamarind pulp, jaggery and little more salt.
  • Mix everything well & cook till the mixture turns thick & begins to leave the oil on the side. If you take off the mixture a bit early your pulihora will turn very moist & mushy. Turn off the stove. 
  • The rice must be cool by now. Sprinkle mustard powder or sesame powder all over the rice. Then transfer ¾ of the cooked pulihora mixture to the rice.
  • Gently mix and add more if needed. If offering to God do not taste it. Else you can taste and add more salt as needed. If the pulihora is too dry add more oil & mix.
  • Serve pulihora with fresh homemade curd.


  1. Jaggery enhances the taste without adding too much sweetness to the pulihora. You can also skip it if your tamarind has slight sweet tones.
  2. Sesame seeds or mustard powder is used in temple style pulihora. You may omit it if you do not like. Use only one of them. Using both may make your dish bitter.
  3. If making for naivedyam skip chilies & ginger or you may follow your familys’ custom

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Pulihora Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 620 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 24mg1%
Potassium 495mg14%
Carbohydrates 96g32%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 310IU6%
Vitamin C 57.1mg69%
Calcium 55mg6%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Pulihora Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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Can we use a day old rice kept in the fridge for this?

Can i make the paste and store it

5 stars
I cooked pulihora for the first time today. I didn’t add jaggery and the results were awesome. It was almost the same as my friend Paul’s mother cooked me in guntoor. Amazing explainantion…..!!!!

Recipe is very good. Liked the taste will make it again.

Can the tamarind mixture be stored in refrigerator for a week n mix it when required with rice

5 stars
Your great

How much tamarind concentrate if using?

5 stars

5 stars
I tried it very tasty thank u very much

5 stars

4 stars
Hi madam i am Venkanna, first i like to thank you a lot for giving us a great idea regarding tasty and delicious recipes for us. Bachelors like me really learning a lot of things from you and the recipes are really mouth watering for us, we would like see lot more yummy foods from you.

5 stars

Difficulty level: 3/5

5 stars
Very tasty. Thank you

I like these recepie a lot… Thank you very much

i like this site so much.

4 stars
i like this site & it is amazing too because i don’t know how to cook rice but with u’r help i can make pulihora .

Garelu resipe is so testy and i love Garelu. It was breakfast

I just love different kinds of poha, I have today spicy version too.

Thank you Swathi garu, not jus this for all your receipe I feel it like the same taste which my mom makes in home when I try for myself. My only burden is the receipe to cook anything and the recipes you share makes my task very easy 😀 .. Though I do for the first time my roomates Just loves to taste them and enjoys food.. Thanks so much for that..

I am sure this is delicious! Looks a bit like couscous.

I used to make a lot when my daughter is small..now it has been a long time since I made it…seeing your dish I feel like to make it soon….