Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tomato Rice

Ten years ago, my Dad, sister and I found out the hard way that we had to assimilate quite a bunch of basic skills to survive. The first and foremost in that list was to learn to cook a few basic recipes that are actually palatable. The new house help who had replaced the one who used to work for us when my mother was there just didn't know the recipes that we were familiar with; worse still, we didn't have a clue either. We were just a bunch of people who just used to occasionally peep into the kitchen to see what smelt so good.

Amidst our numerous misadventures in the kitchen, my Dad thought it would be a good idea to get an Electric Rice Cooker. We soon realized that it was an unfortunate decision. The rice that was cooked in it never turned out well - I have a suspicion that it is primarily due to my Dad's obsession with cooking more rice than we (and the five dogs that we kept) would ever need in a day. The cooked rice, if one can call it that, rarely passed the 'pebble grade' and we soon got rid of the electric power gobbler.
The only good thing from the rice cooker episode was the free recipe book that came along with it. We cooked a few recipes from it and adapted some. Most dishes turned out decent enough. The tomato rice especially, which I don't remember my Mom cooking ever, came out well. I can no longer find the book at home and I have forgotten its exact recipe for tomato rice. But the basic technique of pureeing the tomato and then cooking the masala till it forms a thick paste is something that I never changed.

And here is how we cook it now.


For The Rice:
  1. Basmati Rice - 1 cup, soaked, washed and drained.
  2. Tomatoes, chopped - 1 and 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 cups. (Use tomatoes that are not too sour.)
  3. Onions, sliced - 1 cup
  4. Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 tsp.
  5. Coriander Powder - 1 and a 1/2 tsp.
  6. Chilli Powder - 1 tsp.
  7. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp.
  8. Coriander Leaves, crushed using a mortar and pestle - 1 tbsp. 
  9. Cinnamon Stick - 1 inch piece 
  10. Cardamom Pods - 2, split opened.
  11. Cloves - 2 
  12. Salt - To taste.
  13. Water - 2 cups
  14. Oil
To Garnish:
  1. Fried Onions (Reserved from the initial frying of onions.)
  2. Raisins, chopped - 1 tbsp. (Optional. Use more of less to taste. Also I chop them as I like it more that way in this rice. Alternately, use cashew nuts.) 
  3. Coriander Leaves

First, blend the tomatoes without any water and keep that aside.

Now, you need to fry the onions. Heat up some oil in a wok, add onions and fry them till they turn a golden brown. Drain off excess oil and keep them aside. 

In the remaining oil, fry the raisins or nuts if you are using them. Drain off excess oil and keep aside.

Into the same pan, add the whole spices and when they sputter, add the ginger garlic paste. I use freshly pounded paste with no water. If your paste contains water, add a third of the fried onions first and then saute the paste to reduce sputtering.

Once the raw smell of the ginger garlic paste is gone, add a third of the fried onions to the pan, followed by all the ground spices. Stir around for a minute and then add the blended tomatoes.

Cook the masala for a few minutes till the water content of the tomatoes is much reduced and the masala forms a thick paste. (Take care not to burn the masala.)

Once the masala comes together, add the minced coriander leaves followed by the drained rice and some salt. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add water and bring the contents to a boil. Check for salt. Cook covered over a medium low flame till the rice is done.
Garnish with the reserved fried onions, fried raisins (and/or nuts) and some coriander leaves.

  1. You can cut down the amount of onions by about two thirds if you don't want to do the fried onion garnish. Just take one third cup of onions, add them as specified in the recipe and saute till they brown well.


  1. Love tomatoe rice..What a elegant picture

    1. Thank you Sathya, so nice of you to say so :)

  2. Nice post with fabulous pictures.

  3. Your rice looks awesome! It contains all the flavors I love!

  4. lovely pics dear...the tomato rice looks simply yummy...

  5. oh wow, i have never had anything like this. it looks fantastic! all those spices...

    1. Sorry, I missed your comment Anna. Thanks much :)


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