Tangy tomato rice (the cheat’s way!)


One of my favourite dishes while growing up used to be tomato rice. Coincidentally, this has also become one of my son’s favourite dishes these days. When I was little girl myself, my mother used to make it once or twice a month on a school day, and all my friends would make a beeline for it as soon as the distinct aroma of spice and cooked tomatoes wafts through the air from my lunch box, just after I’ve opened it. Ah. What pleasant memories this conjures up for me! Having my own kitchen emanating with the same aroma as I made it this dish with my son this morning made me rather sentimental and homesick.

On to the recipe now. The traditional method to making tomato rice is by cooking the rice and the tomato gravy separately and mixing the two together in the end. This works great if you have leftover rice and want to jazz that up a little bit. My method however, is actually a one pot dish that uses a can a passata instead of real tomatoes, but still yields the same delicious results as my mother’s traditional version. It is also less time-consuming and this can be made either in an electric rice cooker or a pressure cooker.


  • 4 cups basmati rice, rinsed and soaked for 1/2 hour
  • 200 g of passata or pureed tomatoes
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 cardamoms
  • 8 to 10 cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of sugar
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 1 or 2 green chillies


  1. Heat oil and toss in all the spices and stir until the aromas are released
  2. Saute the sliced onions until brown and add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies
  3. Add the passata or tomato puree and simmer for a few minutes
  4. Add 4 cups of water in the pot and bring to a boil ( at this stage, transfers contents to a rice cooker if you have one, or cook in the pressure cooker pan as I did)
  5. Add the soaked rice, add salt and sugar and check the taste for more seasoning
  6. If you are using a rice cooker, just turn it on and let it do its thing. If using a pressure cooker, cook for 4 whistles on a medium high heat
  7. Garnish with coriander after it is done

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Tomato rice tastes great on its own, but also goes really well when served with an onion or cucumber and and yogurt raita, boiled egg, potato salad or even crisps!


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