Ambat Bhath | Puli Satham

Ambat Bhath

Centuries ago, Sourashtrians migrated from the Sourashtra region in Gujarat to the southern states. There are many historic reasons quoted for their migration. Since then their language and culture has transformed.  When they settled down in south, they adapted the southern style cooking into their daily lives.  Food we eat today are pretty much same as what  is cooked in South Indian households. But there is always a twist and turn in those recipes. There are umpteen popular sourashtrian dishes like Ambat Bhath,  Limbu pongal, Gojju, Amti, Sivi but Ambat Bhath is always in the top. Ambat Bhath directly translates to Puli Satham in tamil or Tamarind rice in english. When one of my readers requested this recipe, I called up my mom and wrote to my friends. I was pretty sure that they will give me different recipes. In Salem area, Ambat Bhath is prepared like ‘Dhourav pongal’. And I knew my reader wanted to know how it was prepared around the Madurai area. After checking with two of my friends who hail from Madurai, I finally got the original recipe for Ambat Bhath. So this is for you ‘M’. Sorry I had to make you wait for a while.

Ambat Bhath

How it tasted?

This rice gets its flavor predominantly from tamarind and fenugreek powder. The spices perfectly balances the sourness of tamarind and makes you go for another serving without any guilt. It is a food nirvana in short. Ambat Bhath is usually served with a piece of coconut on the side. A cup of curd will be an added bonus.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • Tamarind / Puli – 50 gm (1 big lemon size)
  • Water – 1 1/2 cup (for soaking tamarind)
  • Sesame / Gingelly Oil / Nal ennai – 3 tbsp + 4 tsps for later use
  • Mustard Seeds / Kadugu – 1 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds / Jeera – 1/4 tsp
  • Bengal gram dhal / Chana dhal / Kadala paruppu – 2 tsp
  • Black gram dhal / Urad dhal / Uluttam paruppu (broken) – 1 tsp
  • Red Chili / Vara milagai – 12
  • Curry leaves / Karuvepilai – 10-12 leaves
  • Peanuts / Groundnuts / Verkadalai – handful
  • Asafoetida / Hing / Perungayam – 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder / Manjal thul – 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek powder / Venthiyam podi – 1 tsp
  • Mustard powder / Kadugu podi – a big pinch (optional)
  • Sea salt / Kal uppu  – to taste (you can use regular salt)

For Cooked Rice

  • Rice (Basmati or as per your choice) – 2 1/2 cup
  • Water  – to cook rice

Method

  • Soak tamarind in one cup of water for 30-45 minutes. Use warm water if you want to speed up the process. Squeeze it well and run it through a sieve/strainer to remove any stems, seeds or soil. You will finally have the tamarind pulp.
  • Cook rice following your usual methodology. Ensure that the cooked rice is separate.
  • In a kadai / wok, add 3 tbsp of gingelly oil. When it is hot add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add cumin seeds, when it sizzles add bengal gram dhal. After few seconds add black gram dhal, peanuts, red chili, curry leaves and fry.
  • Add turmeric powder, fengureek powder, asafoetida and a pinch of mustard seeds powder. Fry until the color of dhal / peanuts changes into light red.
  • Add tamarind pulp, salt and let it boil. Cook until the extract becomes really thick and you get a paste like consistency. At this stage all the water would have evaporated and you have the ambat bhath paste.
  • Once the rice is cooked, spread it in a large plate or vessel and allow it to cool. Add few tsp of gingelly oil. Add the Ambat bhath paste and gently mix it with a spatula. You can adjust the quantity of paste/rice as per your tastebuds.

Notes:

I have used home made fenugreek powder. You can grind 1/4 cup of fenugreek seeds in your mixie and keep it for later use. You can prepare the mustard powder in the same way.

South Beach Diet

If you are preparing this with basmati rice, then you can have 1/2 cup of Ambat Bhath + 1-2 cup of your choice of cooked or uncooked vegetables.

A glimpse from my kitchen

  • Soak tamarind in one cup of water for 30-45 minutes. Use warm water if you want to speed up the process. Squeeze it well and run it through a sieve/strainer to remove any stems, seeds or soil. You will finally have the tamarind pulp.

Tamarind

  • Cook rice following your usual methodology. Ensure that the cooked rice is separate. In a kadai / wok, add 3 tbsp of gingelly oil. When it is hot add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add cumin seeds, when it sizzles add bengal gram dhal. After few seconds add black gram dhal, peanuts, red chili, curry leaves and fry. Add turmeric powder, fengureek powder, asafoetida and a pinch of mustard seeds powder. Fry until the color of dhal / peanuts changes into light red.

Ambat Bhath Recipe

  • Add tamarind pulp, salt and let it boil.

Ambat Bhath Recipe

  • Cook until the extract becomes really thick and you get a paste like consistency. At this stage all the water would have evaporated and you have the ambat bhath paste.

Ambat Bhath

  • Once the rice is cooked, spread it in a large plate or vessel and allow it to cool. Add few tsp of gingelly oil. Add the Ambat bhath paste and gently mix it with a spatula.

Ambat Bhath

  • You can adjust the quantity of paste/rice as per your taste buds.

Ambat Bhath

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