Cabbage puli saadam – tamarind rice

puli saadam with cabbage

We, Indian cooks, are pretty good at hacks. A touch of this and a sprinkle of that from our extensive spice racks and we successfully convince the family that it is an entirely different dish. On the other hand,  we cleverly conceal the vegetables in the pulao and curries, stew them and broil them till you can’t make out the original one to reject it. With our stern looks and steady head nods, we convince our kids that we have what they have requested on the plate and nothing more.  The husband that we have not moved an inch from the mother in laws recipe. We have a name for our hacks “jugaad” and we play it well.

cabbage puli rice tamil
Why jugaad today?

Now, my husband is a hardcore rice fan, especially white rice. If possible he will have it for all three meals, 365 days of the week in heaps. Now that doesn’t work for me. Being diabetic, he struggles a bit with the rice front. So we try the best workaround -jugaad, of course.
The addition of vegetables to the mixed rice cuts down the amount of rice in it and he feels like he has had enough rice. For this, we fall back on cauliflower and cabbages. They are great low-calorie vegetables which add to the bulk of the food faster than any other I can think of. So the vegan, tangy, South Indian puli saadam is getting it makeover today. The spice mix is brilliant when you want to hide all those veggies in it and give leftover rice a perfect makeover. Since the gojju, the masala paste coats the rice and the cabbages, you really can’t separate the two out.  Get the cabbage minced small, you will be surprised how much cabbage you can hide in this. You can successfully do this with cauliflower rice too. Instead, of the rice you can try millets, bulgar or quinoa they all work perfectly ad the gojju is the great concealer of the original flavours.

rice stirfry with cabage
Puli saadam or tamarind rice

Puli saadam is a traditional Tamil recipe with the sourness of tamarind to flavour the mixed tempered rice. This gluten-free traditional recipe is made very often as a lunch box treat. During the aadi maasam, this recipe is one made for pathinettam perakku. Here is another time we love this recipe, railway travels. The long-distance travels, we carry packed lunch and this is a great one to have as packed rice. So, perfect for picnics too.

The mix that is given below makes this actually quite tasty. I have used my mother’s recipe for this spice mix.  Enjoy this today cabbage puli saadam with some rice sundries, green apple pickle and vendakka pachadi.

Click below for these recipes

Arisi Karuvadam – Rice sundries

Vendakka  pachadi- okra in coconut yogurt sauce

Green apple pickle

Hope you enjoy the recipe cabbage puli saadam

puli saadam with cabbage

Cabbage puli saadam

Tamarind rice with hidden cabbage Gluten-free, low-calorie recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dish, Traditional
Cuisine Autumn, diabetic friendly, Fusion, gluten free, Indian, One pot, South indian, Spring, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 4 people


to cook the rice

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 2.5 cups drinking water

for the tamarind paste

  • 1 lime sized ball tamarind
  • 1 cup drinking water

the masala mix

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1 tsp Channa Dal
  • 1-2 dry red chillies
  • 10 curry leaves
  • 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tbsp peanut
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp jaggery crushed

cabbage addition

  • 2 cups Cabbage shredded


  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped


saucepan method to cook rice

  • Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes
  • Add water to the saucepan and bring the water to a boil.
  • Drain the soaked rice and add to the boiling water
  • cover partiallly and cook for about 12 minutes.
  • When the rice is firm but cooked to the centre, drain the excess of water cover and set aside the rice till the masala is ready.

To make the tamarind pulp

  • Add a cup of water to the tamarind and soak it for 10 minutes
  • Crush the tamarind and extract the pulp completely.
  • Strain the resultant tamarind juice and set aside

to make the masala paste

  • In a pan add the oil and mustard seeds and set on medium heat.
  • As the mustard seeds begin to splutter add the urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves and saute till the urad dal turns golden.
  • Add the fenugreek seeds and peanuts and roast further.
  • Pour in the tamarind pulp and cook it down slowly.
  • As the tamarind paste begins to thicken add salt and the jaggery and cook it down to bring a balance of flavours.
  • When the paste reaches a honey consistency, add the cabbage and saute well.
    cabbage puli saadam masala
  • Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. the cabbage will release some more liquid and that will help the masala paste to coat the cabbage well.
  • Once the cabbage is cooked, add the cooked rice and mix well.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. The rice is ready to serve.
    puli saadam with cabbage
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

5 5 votes

Subscribe & Follow

You Might Also Like

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mayuri Patel
1 year ago
Rating :

What a clever jugaad. Making tamarind rice with cabbage is a wonderful idea. Have all the ingredients at hand. Making it straight away with my leftover rice.

1 year ago
Rating :

Wow! I love this juggad! Must make some at home for myself for I am the one who loves rice. 😀 Wonderful idea using cabbage I must make some. Thanks.

Jayashree T Rao
1 year ago
Rating :

Nice jugaad Seema. A good addition of cabbage to the tamarind rice makes it filling also. I will add it next time.

1 year ago
Rating :

we LOVE such healthy Jugaads, Seema. I see from the recipe that 1/2 cup rice; 2 cups cabbage is a great way to add fibre to the diet, not to forget ‘sneak’ in veggies ! bookmarked to try the ‘gojju’ based pulisaadham

Priya Vj
1 year ago
Rating :

Cabbage puliogre or pulisaadham sounds delicious. Best way to sneak in veggies and make it a 2 in 1 affair to feed veggies as well as rice to kids or fussy eaters .

Mina Joshi
1 year ago

Your tamarind rice looks delicious. I love cabbage and the way you have cooked with tamarind is new for me. I can’t wait to try your recipe.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x