Pulihora Recipe | Kokum Rice Recipe | Oil-free Puliyogare Recipe

Whole Food Plant Based Recipes

Thu Apr 23, 2020

Vegan Pulihora Recipe

Kokum Pulihora is the first dish to be wiped clean, in our feasts. Spicy and tangy, nobody can make out that it doesn’t have any oil, tamarind or red chili powder!

Kokum is a bright red, super tangy fruit that grows in the Western Ghats. It has many medicinal properties and can be used in place of tamarind in many recipes. Pulihora or Puliogare is popular South Indian dish, usually prepared with tamarind as the main ingredient.

Tamarind was in widespread use in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and surrounding areas for many reasons – one important reason being, the ground water contained a lot of fluoride, and tamarind impeded fluoride absorption. It also helps prevent kidney stone formation when your food is dry on a daily basis.

While it is healthful in small quantities, consuming large quantities leads to that well-known feeling of acidity after eating puliogare and sambar rice.

Extracted oil is a processed food. On the other hand, whole nuts prevent and even reverse heart disease! We have written a detailed oil-free pulihora recipe step by step! Hope you enjoy this puliyogare recipe!

Whole Food Plant Based Pulihora Recipe with Kokum

Course: Course 3 (Grain Dishes) at Lunch & Dinner Meals, Festival Dish
Cuisine: Andhra Recipe from South India
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people


1/2 cup Kokum / Garcinia / Punarpuli
1 cup Unpolished Rice
2 tsp Peanuts
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jeera / Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Bengal Gram Dal / Chana Dal
1 tsp Urad Dal / Split Black Gram Dal
1/8 tsp Fenugreek / Methi Seeds
1 pinch Asafoetida / Hing
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
1 Green Chili
1 sprig Curry Leaves
1 tbsp Date Syrup
4 tsp Miso Paste
Water as required


  1. Wash kokum once and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Blend smoothly and boil. Let it cook well.
  2. Cook rice with enough water with partially closed lid. Check from time to time that it doesn't get burnt. Turn off stove once cooked and spread on a plate to cool down completely
  3. Chop green chili into pieces.
  4. Meanwhile, dry roast groundnuts, bengal gram and urad dal separately. Roast on a low flame until light brown. Do not over roast them. Transfer to boiling kokum paste. See Nutrition Science Highlights for Pulihora Recipe below for details.
  5. Dry roast jeera, mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds separately for a few seconds until they start sputtering, then immediately transfer to the boiling kokum paste.
  6. Add miso paste, date syrup, black pepper powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida, chopped green chili, and curry leaves to the boiling kokum paste. Turn off stove. Pulihora Masala Spice Mix is ready.
  7. Pour Pulihora Masala Spice Mix on cooked rice. Mix gently, without smashing rice grains. Garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves. Serve fresh with Achu Murukku and Vellarikkai Pacchadi!

Plant Based Chef Pro Tips for Best Pulihora Recipe

  1. Adjust the sourness as required by adding a little more or less of pulihora mixture or rice.
  2. Pulihora mix can be used with unpolished rice or poha (beaten rice).
  3. Puliyogare can also be prepared with any millet rice.
  4. If you adding cashews or almonds, avoid roasting them. It is best to consume them raw.

Nutrition Science Highlights for WFPB Pulihora Recipe

  1. Why not honey, sugar or jaggery? Sugar and Jaggery are processed foods. Although jaggery is healthier than brown sugar, which, in turn, is healthier than white sugar, all forms of processed foods are unhealthy when compared to whole plant foods. Honey is healthwise as good as jaggery, which isn't saying much. In addition to not being very healthy, honey production kills millions of bees every year, affecting our environment adversely. The best sweetener alternative is a whole fruit or dry fruit. The easiest method of using these is date syrup, as it does not involve peeling or chopping.
  2. Why Miso Paste? Miso paste is fermented & salted soya bean paste. American Heart Association Maximum recommended maximum daily salt intake of 3.75 grams per person to minimise risk of high blood pressure, stomach cancer and chronic kidney disease. In addition to helping us restrict salt intake, replacing salt with miso paste also helps by neutralising the negative effects of salt by soya phytonutrients. You can easily make fresh miso paste at home by mixing 100 grams of cooked soya paste with 10 grams of salt, or 10 tablespoons of cooked soya paste with 1 tablespoon of salt. If making at home, ensure to use immediately, or freeze in batches to use later. Or, simply use 3.75 grams of salt or less per day per person and add 18 to 20 grams (dry weight) of soya beans in any dishes, spread through the day!
  3. Why whole grains? Whole grains are healthier than refined grains such as white rice, refined flours, maida, rava, etc., as the bran layer is intact, with all its vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Whole grains have been found to be protective against a whole range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and lifestyle-related cancers.
  4. Why cool grains? When cooked grains are allowed to cool on the counter or in the fridge, the starch crystallises to form resistant starch. This can be eaten by our good gut bacteria and also reduces the glycemic index (the rate at which glucose is absorbed), making the whole grain even healthier. For the same reason, parboiled whole grains can be used as well.
  5. What's wrong with roasting? The brown color we get on roasting whole grains, tubers, legumes, or nuts is due to the formation of carcinogenic AGE compounds. We can reduce the formation of these compounds by roasting on a low flame, adding spices and herbs, and removing browned portions of rotis / flatbread before serving and enjoying them.
  6. Why not tadka? Tadka, thaaLippu, oggaraNe. Tempering spices in oil is quintessential to Indian cuisine. This practice may have started as a compromise when whole nuts were unavailable, and indeed, is more common in inland, drier areas where nuts do not grow easily, all year round. You can enjoy the taste and fragrance, though, by just dry roasting the spices you require, without the oil, or even better, mixing spice powders directly into your dish!

Dr Achyuthan Eswar
Lifestyle Physician & Co-founder, NutritionScience.in, PHC Lifestyle Clinic & SampoornaAhara.com Plant-based Kitchen

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