Tamarind Rice with Black Beans

Tamarind rice, also called puliogare (pully-oh-ga-ray), is a South Indian dish usually prepared with fried peanuts. Sabra and I came up with our own version of this rice by adding black beans, roasted pablano peppers, red onion and cotija cheese. So good!

Last weekend, we made this rice for the Think Tank Potluck, a meeting for Greenpoint Food Market vendors. The meeting was held to discuss the impact of the recent NY Times article press on the market. Although the article was favorable, it brought to light that many of us don’t have permits, licenses or cook in commercial kitchens. The Greenpoint Food Market started as a small underground market where vendors could share homemade goods and test out recipes on the community in small quantities so this publicity kind of threw a wrench into the mix. As a result, the June market was cancelled and replaced by a panel of speakers from the Department of Health, City Council and owners of small food businesses.

What came about from the discussion was an idea for some of the vendors to open a cooperative incubator kitchen where we could offer cooking classes and sell some of our products in addition to having space in a commercial kitchen to prepare our foods. There was also talk of new legislation to make it easier and more affordable for vendors like us to sell at artisanal markets. It was encouraging to see individuals from different areas coming together to figure out how best to move forward, but it may take time for anything to change.
While you can’t eat me and Sabra’s tacos right now, make our rice! You could make your own puliogre mix, but MTR brand works just fine. It tastes really good and keeps for a while if you feel like making the rice from time to time.

Ingredients (serves 8):
2 cups basmati rice
MTR puliogare mix*
2 tablespoons oil
a pinch of red chili flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped
1 cup black beans
2 pablano peppers, roasted, char skinned off, chopped
cotija cheese, crumbled
salt to taste
Cook rice. Fry up MTR puliogre mix* according to directions and add cooked rice.
In separate pan, add oil and chili flakes and fry for a few seconds and then add and fry onion for 5 minutes under medium heat. Throw in and fry garlic for 30 seconds. Next add in the beans and peppers and fry for 5 minutes.
In a bowl combine rice with bean mixture. Add salt to taste.
Serve warm with cotija cheese and cilantro on top.
Also can add avocado or sour cream on top for a variation.
*MTR puliogare mix contains tamarind concentrate, sugar, salt, peanuts, coconut, coriander powder, red chili powder, curry leaves, sesame seeds, jaggery (sugarcane), black pepper, fenugreek powder, turmeric, chickpeas, blackgram, mustard, refined palm oil, asafoetida and cumin powder.

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