Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tomato Rice

My husband has some pretty weird requirements when it comes to tomato rice... he wants it to be tangy & spicy but not too tomatoey (if that is a word). I've had a really tough time catering to this and most of my attempts have not been met with much enthusiasm. I tried quite a few recipes and most of them had a lot of tomatoes in the ingredients list and I knew right away that it wouldn't fit the bill... if I scaled back too much on the tomatoes then it didn't have sufficient tang :( but help arrived in the form of my mom's tomato rice... Finally i found a version that was met with approval and I promptly took note of the measurements. So, this may not be the tomato rice for everyone out there but even for someone who loves tomatoes (like me) , this is a very tasty and quick rice dish.

TOMATO RICE a.k.a Thakkali Saadham

Basmati Rice - 2 cups (levelled, not heaped), soaked in water for 20 minutes with a bay leaf and cumin seeds  and drained
Roma Tomatoes - 3, chopped
Onion - half of a big one, chopped finely
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped
Mint Leaves - 1/4 cup, chopped

Yogurt - 1 tbsp 
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp (optional, needed if using tomatoes that are not very sour)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Sambar powder (I use Shakthi) - 1.5 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 to 1 tsp
Water - 3.5 cups
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

For Tempering:

Kraambu (Cloves) - 1
Pattai (Cinnamon) - 1 inch piece

To Fry & Grind:

Cinnamon - 1 small piece
Sombu (Fennel seeds) - 1 tsp (always a good combination with tomatoes)
Elakkai (Elaichi) - 1
Clove - 1
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Coriander  leaves and stems - some

Onion - half of a big one, cut into big cubes

Tomato - 1
Garlic - 8 to 10 cloves, peeled
Ginger - 1 inch, peeled
Green Chillies - 8

Method:1) Heat 2 tsp of oil and fry the masala ingredients, one half of the onion (cut into big cubes),tomato,  garlic, ginger & green chillies till the onion is light brown. Cool and grind this to a paste.
2) Heat the remaining oil in a pressure cooker and season with  clove & cinnamon Then add the chopped onion and cook till it is browned. Now add the chopped tomatoes with some salt and turmeric powder and cook till mushy.
3) Toss in the chopped coriander and mint leaves, and the ground paste along with the chilli powder, sambar powder and garam masala, yogurt and tamarind paste (if using). Fry this really well for about 5 to 7 minutes.
4) Meanwhile, drain the rice, saute in ghee for a few minutes & keep aside.
5) Add the drained and fried rice to the onion-tomato spice mixture and 3.5 cups of water. Check and add more salt if necessary. Cover with lid, place the weight on top and once the pressure builds allow to cook for 5 minutes on medium flame before switching off the stove (there will be no whistle). Let this rest for 20 minutes atleast before opening the cooker. Stir gently and serve with some raitha and chips.


  1. yummy tomato rice.Love the way u prepared it.Simple and easy this version.

  2. Oh this is just awesome recipe lavanaya. Will try soon.

  3. adding sambhar powder to tomato rice is new to me. I like the use of mint

  4. my granny once made this for my hubby..and now whenever I make this, he says...mine never matches the taste of my granny's tomato rice..
    yours look deliicous..

  5. One of those finicky ones, is he! Anyway, it's been years and years since tomatoes have been properly sour, in my experience.

  6. One of my favourite, can have this rice anytime, anyday..

  7. Yummy tomato rice! simple and tasty!

  8. Looks delicious.
    How about a tablespoon of tamarind pulp for the tang?
    I know where he is coming from, he is imagining the taste of tomato rice made with our naatu (country) tomatoes I guess.

  9. Your hubby has a fixed taste, doesn't he? ;D

    Yeah, what's Tomato rice with less tomatoey look!! But I trust your mom, rice looks delicious even with less tomato. Must try, bookmarked.

  10. liked ur version of tomato rice lavanya :) I too add sambar powder, would keep ur recipe in mind for a change from my version :)

  11. I love rice like this andyours looks so so yumm.

  12. This is a dish that reminds me of childhood. My Mum made this for tiffin!!

  13. Usually roma tomato is not tangy! Adding sambar powder is new. Good one :)

  14. Looks like a quick one pot meal and perfect for lunchboxes.`

  15. I am really enjoying your blog and all the photos of the food! My husband and I have been stuck at home with the flu the past few weeks and can not yet get out to eat so I am living vicariously through your blog :-)

  16. I make almost the same way except the sombu and gloves. Yours look yummy.

  17. Tomato rice looks very tasty and yummy!

  18. Sometimes not too tangy a rice is all that makes one comforting... but really weird requirements that your husband has, you know what finally you succeed with this wonderful deleecatble dish!!!

  19. Tomato rice looks delicious ! Loved the use fennel seeds in your seasoning and the combination of mint and cilantro ! Yum :-)

  20. Hi,
    Thank you for posting your wonderful tasty recipes.
    I've tried out quite a few of your recipes, including two biryani's, chocolate cake, kala channa curry. They have all turned out great. Your measurements are perfect and easy to follow and need no adjustments at all.
    I have being trying to re-create punjabi yellow dal fry(popular at Indian restaurants) for a long time now. the dish itself looks simple enough, but the taste is amazing. You do create a lot of restaurant favorites and i have tried out the quite a few. They taste great and the measurements are perfect.have you ever tried out yellow dal fry?
    many thanks,

  21. I don't usually add mint to tomato rice, and I love the idea. Desi is also really particular about his thakkali saadam -- what is it with these guys? :)

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  23. So comforting and yumm..Love tomato rice and my hubby also has the same requirements, like yours :D Never tried with sambar !

  24. looks so wonderful, love tomato rice...tasteeeee

  25. lovely blog with beautifully presented photos.Very easy,tasty n spicy recipe!!
    Love ur version!!
    Drop in sometime to my blog

  26. The mint in the first photograph just pops off of the screen!

  27. This is how I too love my tomato rice,a falvorful and spicy than a tomatoey ;) But my hubby likes only tomato in it :( But i am sur emy kid and I will take two rounds if I make this way !

  28. Thank you all for your encouraging comments :)

    Alpa, am sorry about the delayed reply. I really appreciate your feedback after trying out my recipes and your comment really made me very happy and motivated. I have a dhal fry recipe I use and will post it and also try another recipe which i think is closer to the punjabi dhal and post if that is a success - hopefully soon.

  29. Men are picky little brats sometimes! Spoiled, picky little brats! Ahhhh, but isn't it nice what you can get out of then when they are full and happy? lol ... rice looks good :)


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