If we want to put a flavored rice on the table and are working in “last-minute” mode, this inviting tamarind-flavored pulao from Tamil Nadu, made with leftover plain rice, is a good place to turn. The yellow-tinted mound of rice is dotted with curry leaves and chopped green chile. We like to serve it with an intensely colored vegetable dish, say, a Shredded Green Bean Mallum or Pea Shoots for a Crowd, perhaps with some grilled yogurt-marinated meat alongside and a sweet or fresh chutney. It also makes a good meal-in-one for two or three people, topped, if you wish, with a fried or poached egg each, and accompanied by a fresh salad.
Traditionally this quick pulao has a fair amount of heat from the combination of crumbled dried chiles and chopped fresh green chiles. Somehow the tamarind makes the chiles’ heat a little more intense; it’s a wonderful combination. Textures are soft, with a little crisp bite from the toasted dal used as a seasoning.