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Tomato Rice - An Invigorating South Indian Delight

Tomato Rice – An Invigorating South Indian Delight

Table of Contents

Introduction about the dish


Welcome to the world of diverse and vibrant Indian cuisine, where every dish is a harmonious blend of flavors, spices, and tradition. Today, we’re setting our culinary compass towards the delectable realm of Tomato Rice, a cherished South Indian classic that has enamored taste buds worldwide. In this user-friendly guide, we’ll unveil the secrets of preparing Tomato Rice right in your kitchen. From the tangy tomatoes to the aromatic spices, we’ll show you how to create this iconic dish that’s not just a meal but a delightful culinary adventure.

Why Tomato Rice?

Before we delve into the ingredients and techniques that make Tomato Rice unique, let’s understand why this dish holds such a cherished place in South Indian cuisine. Tomato Rice is a symphony of flavors. It’s a tangy, mildly spiced dish that combines fluffy rice with a zesty tomato-based seasoning.

Tomato Rice isn’t just about taste; it’s about the comfort and satisfaction that a well-made dish can bring. It’s a testament to the art of balancing flavors and the finesse of South Indian culinary traditions. This dish transcends boundaries, appealing to both those familiar with South Indian cuisine and newcomers.

What sets Tomato Rice apart is its versatility. It can shine as a quick weekday lunch, grace your picnic basket, or become the star of your dinner table. Pair it with yogurt or enjoy it as a stand-alone treat; Tomato Rice offers a burst of flavors that are both refreshing and fulfilling.

What Sets Our Recipe Apart?

You might wonder, “Why make Tomato Rice at home when it’s available at Indian restaurants?” The answer is simple: crafting Tomato Rice in your kitchen allows you to customize the flavors to your liking, use fresh ingredients, and savor a homemade dish that’s free from artificial additives.

Our user-friendly Tomato Rice recipe ensures that you’ll recreate the authentic taste and experience effortlessly. We’ll guide you through each step, share pro tips, and provide insights to ensure your Tomato Rice turns out tangy, flavorful, and as delightful as it should be.

Join Us in the Kitchen

Throughout this guide, we’ll provide easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to make your Tomato Rice-making experience enjoyable. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or new to South Indian cuisine, our recipe is designed to guarantee your success.

So, gather your ingredients, put on your apron, and let’s embark on a culinary journey that will transport you to the aromatic kitchens of South India. Let’s create a plate of Tomato Rice that’s not just a dish; it’s a celebration of tradition, a burst of flavors, and a culinary masterpiece that will leave you craving for more.

Serves: 4 People (Approx.)
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time

What ingredients do I need to make them?

For Tomato Rice:

Step-by-Step Guide to Making This Tomato Rice

For Making Tomato Rice:

Temper the Spices:

  • Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then, add urad dal, chana dal, dried red chilies, curry leaves, and asafoetida (hing). Sauté until the dals turn golden brown.

Add Tomatoes:

  • Add the finely chopped tomatoes and ginger-garlic paste. Cook until the tomatoes turn soft and the oil starts separating from the mixture.

Add Spices:

  • Stir in the turmeric powder, red chili powder, ground coriander, and salt. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until the spices are fragrant.

Add Rice:

  • Add the cooked and cooled rice to the pan. Gently mix it with the tomato and spice mixture, ensuring the rice is evenly coated.

Cook Rice:

  • Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is heated through and well combined with the tomato mixture.


  • Garnish and Serve with fresh coriander leaves.

Tips for an Efficient Preparation of this dish

  • Save time by using leftover rice or pre-cooked rice.
  • Consider pre-chopped onions and tomatoes for a quicker preparation.
  • Prepare a spice mix in advance by combining ground coriander, red chili powder, and turmeric.

What is the Nutritional content of this dish?

350 kcalCalories
55 gCarbs
6 gFats
9 gProteins
10 gFibre
1.5 gSFA
5 mgCholesterol
400 mgSodium
500 mgPotassium
6 gSugar

Note: Nutrition values can vary depending on ingredients and portion sizes, so it’s essential to check specific labels or recipes for accurate nutritional information.

Conclusion: Enjoying Your Homemade Food

Your Tomato Rice is ready to be enjoyed! This zesty South Indian classic is a versatile dish that’s perfect for lunchboxes, picnics, or as a side to a variety of South Indian meals. The tangy and spicy flavors of ripe tomatoes make it an absolute delight for your taste buds.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best type of rice to use for tomato rice is typically a short-grain or medium-grain rice. These rice varieties are known for their ability to absorb flavors well and provide a slightly sticky texture that complements the saucy nature of tomato rice. Common choices include Sona Masuri, Basmati rice, or any local short-grain rice available in your region. Basmati rice, with its fragrant aroma and long grains, can add a unique touch to tomato rice, but it may result in a less sticky texture compared to shorter-grain varieties. Ultimately, the choice of rice depends on your personal preference and the consistency you desire for your tomato rice.

To ensure your tomato rice is not too mushy, it’s essential to pay attention to the rice-to-water ratio and the cooking time. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the ideal texture:

  1. Use the right amount of water: Measure the water precisely based on the type of rice you’re using and the preferred texture. For firmer rice, use a bit less water than usual.
  2. Rinse the rice: Rinsing the rice thoroughly before cooking can help remove excess starch and prevent clumping.
  3. Control the cooking time: Avoid overcooking the rice, especially if you’re using a shorter-grain variety. Once the rice is cooked, please remove it from the heat promptly to prevent further absorption of moisture.
  4. Let the rice rest: After cooking, allow the rice to rest for a few minutes, covered, to let the excess steam escape and the grains firm up.

By following these tips, you can achieve a well-textured tomato rice that is neither too mushy nor too dry. Adjust the water quantity and cooking time based on the specific type of rice you are using and your desired preference for the rice texture.

To enhance the flavor of your tomato rice, you can incorporate various ingredients and spices. Here are some popular additions that can elevate the taste of your dish:

  1. Aromatic spices: Add whole or ground spices like cumin, mustard seeds, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom to infuse the rice with rich and warm flavors.
  2. Fresh herbs: Include fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, or mint to add a refreshing and aromatic note to the rice.
  3. Onions and garlic: Sauté finely chopped onions and garlic in oil before adding the rice for a savory and aromatic base.
  4. Vegetables: Mix in sautéed or steamed vegetables like peas, carrots, bell peppers, or corn to add texture, color, and nutritional value.
  5. Nuts: Toasted nuts like cashews, almonds, or peanuts can provide a delightful crunch and nutty undertones to the dish.
  6. Coconut milk: Incorporate coconut milk to impart a creamy texture and a subtle hint of sweetness, complementing the tanginess of the tomatoes.
  7. Lemon juice: Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the rice to balance the flavors and add a zesty and citrusy touch.

Experiment with these ingredients to find the combination that best suits your taste preferences, and adjust the quantities according to the desired flavor profile of your tomato rice.

You can make tomato rice in advance and store it for later consumption. Here are some tips for preparing and keeping tomato rice:

  1. Cook the rice: Ensure that the rice is properly cooked and cooled to room temperature before making tomato rice. If you’re using leftover rice, fluff it and let it cool.
  2. Prepare the tomato mixture: Make the tomato-based masala or sauce, including spices, vegetables, and any other ingredients you plan to use.
  3. Mix and cool: Combine the rice and tomato mixture thoroughly, making sure the flavors are well distributed. Allow the mixture to cool down before storing.
  4. Storage: Transfer the tomato rice to an airtight container. It’s best to refrigerate it if you plan to consume it within a day or two. For more extended storage, you can freeze it.
  5. Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your tomato rice, you can reheat it in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in an oven. Be sure to add water if the rice has dried out during storage.

Keep in mind that while you can make tomato rice in advance, the texture of the rice may change slightly upon reheating. To maintain the best quality, it’s recommended to consume it within a few days if refrigerated or within a few weeks if frozen.

Tomato rice pairs well with a variety of side dishes, enhancing the overall dining experience. Here are some popular options to consider:

  1. Raita: A cooling yogurt-based side dish, raita can help balance the flavors and spices in tomato rice.
  2. Papad: Crispy and thin, papad provides a delightful crunch and texture contrast to the soft tomato rice.
  3. Pickles: Tangy and spicy Indian pickles, such as mango or lime pickles, can add a burst of flavor that complements the savory tomato rice.
  4. Vegetable Stir-Fry: A simple vegetable stir-fry or sabzi can offer a refreshing and nutritious addition to the meal.
  5. Roasted Paprika Cauliflower: Roasted paprika cauliflower provides a tasty and colorful accompaniment that complements the flavors of tomato rice.
  6. Cucumber Salad: A fresh cucumber salad with tomatoes, onions, and a tangy dressing can provide a refreshing and light contrast to the rich and robust tomato rice.
  7. Poppadoms: Crispy and seasoned poppadoms, often served as a side dish in Indian cuisine, can be an excellent accompaniment to tomato rice.

These side dishes add a diverse range of flavors, textures, and nutritional elements, creating a well-balanced and satisfying meal.

To make tomato rice healthier, you can consider implementing the following tips:

  1. Increase Vegetable Content: Add a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, carrots, peas, or spinach to enhance the nutritional value and fiber content of the dish.
  2. Opt for Brown Rice: Substitute white rice with brown rice for added fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can contribute to better digestion and overall health.
  3. Control Oil Usage: Limit the use of oil during the cooking process to reduce the overall calorie count and make the dish lighter.
  4. Use Fresh Ingredients: Utilize fresh and whole ingredients, such as ripe tomatoes and spices, to ensure that the dish is free from artificial additives and preservatives.
  5. Limit Sodium Intake: Reduce the amount of salt or sodium-rich ingredients like processed sauces or seasonings to create a more heart-healthy version of tomato rice.
  6. Incorporate Protein Sources: Consider adding sources of lean protein like tofu, legumes, or grilled chicken to make the dish more satisfying and nutritionally balanced.

By making these adjustments, you can create a healthier version of tomato rice without compromising on taste or flavor.

Certainly! Here is a simple and low-calorie tomato rice recipe that you can try. To begin, cook 1 cup of uncooked brown rice according to the package instructions and set it aside. In a pan over medium heat, heat one teaspoon of olive oil and add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds, letting them splutter. Next, add two cloves of minced garlic, one teaspoon of grated ginger, and one finely chopped green chili (optional)—Sauté the ingredients for a minute or until the raw smell disappears.

Following this, incorporate one small finely chopped onion and cook until the onions turn translucent. Then, introduce two medium-sized finely chopped tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder, and salt to taste. Allow the tomatoes to cook until they turn mushy, and the mixture thickens slightly. Once this is done, add the cooked brown rice to the tomato mixture and ensure that the rice is evenly coated with the tomato base. Cook the entire mixture for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to let the flavors meld together.

To finish, garnish the tomato rice with freshly chopped coriander leaves and serve it hot. This low-calorie tomato rice recipe is a healthier alternative that doesn’t compromise on taste. Feel free to adjust the spices and seasonings to your preference, making it an ideal dish for those looking for a nutritious and satisfying meal option. Enjoy!

Yes, tomato rice is generally suitable for individuals with gluten intolerance or other dietary restrictions, as it typically does not contain gluten. However, it’s important to note that some commercially available tomato rice mixes or pre-prepared varieties may have added ingredients that could potentially include gluten. Therefore, it is advisable to carefully check the ingredients label or prepare tomato rice from scratch using gluten-free ingredients to ensure it aligns with specific dietary requirements.

In its basic form, tomato rice primarily consists of rice, tomatoes, and a blend of spices and herbs, making it a versatile and gluten-free dish. By using gluten-free ingredients and avoiding any potential cross-contamination during the cooking process, you can create a delicious and safe tomato rice option for individuals with gluten intolerance or other dietary restrictions. As always, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional or a dietitian for personalized dietary advice and recommendations.

There are various ways to make tomato rice, each with its distinct flavors and cooking techniques. Here are a few standard methods:

  1. Stovetop Method: This classic method involves cooking rice separately and preparing a tomato-based masala on the stovetop, which is then combined with the cooked rice. The masala typically includes tomatoes, onions, spices, and sometimes vegetables like peas or carrots. The cooked rice is added to this mixture and gently stirred to ensure an even distribution of flavors.
  2. One-Pot Method: In this convenient approach, both the rice and the tomato-based masala are cooked together in a single pot, allowing the rice to absorb the flavors of the spices and tomatoes as it cooks. This method is efficient and results in a flavorful, one-pot dish that requires minimal cleanup.
  3. Pressure Cooker Method: Using a pressure cooker can significantly reduce cooking time. The rice, along with the tomato-based masala and spices, is cooked together under pressure, allowing the flavors to infuse thoroughly. This method is ideal for those seeking a quick and hassle-free way to prepare tomato rice.
  4. Instant Pot Method: Utilizing an Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker streamlines the cooking process even further. With the sauté function, you can first prepare the tomato masala, then add the rice and liquid before pressure cooking, resulting in a well-infused and aromatic tomato rice.

Experimenting with these different methods can help you find the one that best suits your preferences and time constraints. Adjusting the ingredients and seasonings according to your taste can further enhance the flavors of the tomato rice.


At Recipe2eat, we’re passionate about home cooking and its numerous benefits. We understand that cooking at home is not just about preparing delicious meals; it’s about nurturing a healthier lifestyle, fostering creativity in the kitchen, and bringing families and friends together over a shared meal. Our mission is to inspire and guide you on your culinary journey, making home cooking a delightful and rewarding experience.

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