Cranberries are considered a super food as they are high in antioxidants. I have observed that they  are commonly used ingredient in Thanksgiving meals . People usually make drinks, sauce and desserts. I bought two packets of these seasonal berries thinking that I would make bread or cookies. But finally ended up making something unconventional to satisfy my south indian palate.

Puliyogare/Puliyodharai is a simple Tamarind Rice which is one of the most popular Southern Indian Rice varieties. “Puli” means “sour” refers to the use of Tamarind as one of the main ingredients. It is known for its longer shelf life and is often used as a great travel food. I have fond memories of my mother packing this during most of our long road trips. Every family has their own recipe, some use sesame seeds some don’t, some make it simple without lentils. This is my take on this classic recipe with a slight twist, i.e. addition of cranberries.

While cooking, these berries eventually pop up and become mushy so chopping them is not the best use of time. Traditionally Pulikachal or Puliyogare gojju( ‘Gojju’ means ‘gravy’)is made using Tamarind juice/water and spices. Addition of tamarind is a must in this recipe because it gives the much needed sourness & tanginess to balance the tartness from the berries. I used indian dry red chillies for the spice and jaggery for the sweetness. Instead of Jaggery brown sugar can be used too. What we make is the Puliyogare Gojju and once it is mixed with rice it becomes Puliyogare/Puliyodharai/Pulihara.

I was expecting a pinkish or reddish colored rice but surprisingly it just looked just like the regular Puliyogare. Looks like cooking it with tamarind and all the spices did the trick. They tastes best when cooked in sesame oil which is actually the authentic way of making this recipe.

Cranberry Puliyogare ( Sweet & Tangy Cranberry spiced Rice)


  • Cranberries - 12 oz (340gm), washed
  • Dry tamarind - a golf ball size soaked in water
  • Oil - 1/4 cup
  • Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  • Urad Dal - 1 teaspoon
  • Chana Dal - 1 teaspoon
  • Red chilies - 2
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves - a few
  • Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Jaggery/Brown sugar - 1/3 cup or more
  • For the dry powder:
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon
  • Split Chickpeas (Chana dal) - 1 tablespoon
  • Black Gram (Urad dal) - 3//4 tablespoon
  • Coriander seeds - 1.5 tablespoon
  • Asafoetida - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sesame seeds - 1 tablespoon
  • Dry red chilies - 6-7 (Indian Variety)


First lets make the spice powder . Heat a teaspoon oil and roast urad dal, chana dal, red chilies, asafoetida and red chilies until golden. Finally add sesame seeds and roast until light brown, Cool down and grind it into coarse powder.

Again in the same pan add 1/4 cup oil, add mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, curry leaves, 1-2 red chili crushed and asafoetida. Now add the washed cranberries and turmeric. Mix well. Lower the flame and cook until all the cranberries pops up and turns mushy. Pour the tamarind juice and salt. mix and cook until all the raw smell from tamarind disappears and the water seems to evaporate. Now add the powder and jaggery. Do a taste check and add more jaggery if needed. It needs to have a right balance of sweetness and tanginess.

When ready mix with cooked rice and enjoy with some chips.

Just use little gojju to mix with cooked Rice. You wouldn’t need the whole batch. The Gojju should be refrigerated and should be good for about two weeks or so. Enjoy!

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