Tomato rice

I had many requests for this recipe for last couple of months. Many times I thought of posting my version of tomato rice, but it is way too simple and I was not sure if I wanted it here. Then I remembered my friend Poornima’s tomato rice. She used to bring it in her lunch box, when we were in Bangalore, and I used to love it very much, like all other dishes she used to carry in her box. I don’t know why I did not ask her the recipe then, or probably I had asked and completely forgotten it. So, few days ago, I called her up and asked for the recipe. She gave me many different recipes along with this, which I need to try in coming days.

Unlike my version of tomato rice, her version has many spices in it. It is a very fragrant rice with a distinct tomato flavor. The first time I made it, I went overboard with spices and it tasted like a pulav but not like tomato rice. So when I made it today, for a small get together at home, I reduced the spices, I made the rice in a thick bottomed pan (like I make any other pulavs) and did not use pressure cooker. It came out perfect, just like I remembered from Poornima’s lunchbox. Thanks a lot for the recipe dear.

It is my personal opinion that any kind of rice items work best when made in a thick bottomed pan compared to pressure cooker. One big advantage is, I can start with less water and add more if required. My aayi always made her pulavs like this. But this needs a little patience – the dish needs to be cooked on a medium or low flame and you should not mix it again and again. Let it cook undisturbed and you find the best dish with each grain separate. Though I use pressure cooker extensively in my cooking, this is one place where I always avoid it.

Check other tomato rice versions from Jai & Bee, Shyamala, Maya

2 cups rice
3/4 cup onion
2 cups tomato
1/4 cup potato
2 and 1/2 tea spn chopped ginger
2 tea spn chopped garlic
1 tea spn urad dal
1/2 tea spn channa dal
4-5 cloves
1″ cinnamon
1/2 tea spn sesame seeds
3/4 tea spn coriander seeds
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
3 red chillies
1 tea spn mustard seeds
9-10 curry leaves
1/2 tea spn cumin seeds
1 tbl spn dried coconut

Heat oil and add cloves, cinnamon, channa dal, urad dal, coriander seeds, 1/2 tea spn cumin seeds, red chillies, coconut, sesame seeds. Fry for a min and grind to a powder.
Now heat some oil and add onion, 2 tea spn ginger, garlic till onions turn brownish. Add 1 and 1/2 cup tomato, salt and cook for few minutes. Grind to a paste.
Heat oil and add 1/2 tea spn mustard, 1/4 tea spn cumin seeds , 4-5 curry leaves, remaining ginger. Add rice and fry for few minutes. �
Add the paste, powder and fry for few minutes.
Add water (about twice the amount of rice).
Now add potatoes and let it cook.
When the rice is half done, add remaining tomatoes.
Cook till rice is done.
Heat ghee and add remaining mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves. Add the seasoning to the rice.(This second seasoning increases the aroma of the dish)

Serves : 5-6
Preparation time : 45mins

PS: The measurements given for spices and tomato are approximations only. Please change them according to individual taste.

34 Comments for “Tomato rice”



cant beleive it shilpa this is the fourth tomato rice im seeeing posted this fortnight on blogspot………..but i like your version like a pulao……..yes……………………pretty similar ……….except the wet paste you made……………



Different version with diff spice and dry coconut. I used to add avrekalu to this. Will try this way. My shortcut way is to keep rice in rice cooker, simultaneously make the paste ready and mix in cooled rice. Saves my time in the morning.


Stepwise pics really give a better idea! Thks for sharing ur frnds recipe! The spices used surely must have lent a unique flavor to the tomatoed-rice :) Addn of potato is also novel! tks for sharing.



Hey Shilpa,

Today I asked my hubby what should I prepare for lunch,he said “Tomato Rice” So I hooked up and looked up to your website and LO!!!! I saw this recipe, dunno how to thank you, I tried it and it was perfect.. can say 12 on 10. Thanks a lot pal!!!!




hi shilpa,
pls tell me how to make idlis in the cooker using ‘cooker container’ and not the idli ‘watis’. I mean pouring more idli batter into the cooker container and then when it is cooked cutting it with a knife. I hope u understood..Presently i dont have ‘idli pedavan’ and the ‘watis’ to cook idli. But when i tried this in the ‘cooker container’, it didn’t cook properly. So could u pls tell me how and how much time i have to cook in the cooker.

Shilpa: We usually cook it for the same amount of time as any other idli.



wow, this looks delicious…thanks shilpa..i was looking out for this recipe…..
am going to try it…..


Tomato rice looks perfect and based on the ingredients you’ve used, i guess they would taste great!

And yes, i too agree with your opinion of using a thick bottomed pan instead of pressure cooker as in pressure cooker, little rice at the bottom gets burned no matter what. Or even a rice cooker works best for me!



This dish looks too dry, perhaps you cud make it more colourful, by adding coriander leaves, for garnish..

Shilpa: Vaish, I always add coriander leaves to this, but when I took picture, I didn’t have it. So I could not add it.




Can I don’t put the dried coconut in as my family member can’t really take coconut due to health reason.

Shilpa: Yes, you can leave it out and follow remaining recipe.



hey awesome yaar thanks….am visiting this website for the 1st time and am pretty impressed….. will frequently keep checking the site……

thanks again for the excellent tomto rice!!! will try it today or tmrw:-))



I tried it today…although it was my first time i made it without a pressure cooker i must say it came out very well…thanks for sharing.I added hing for the final tadka and it tasted awesome

Gayathri K Panickker


Hi there,

I made this today and I must say my family totally loved this. I appreciate the effort you put into documenting all these recipes and making them accessible to all of us.

Thanks a bunch

sudha borkar


Hi shilpa,
prepared tomato rice today. although the taste was damn good but as u said it requires lot of patience to cook this on slow fire.’cause of the amsani the rice took lot of time to cook it was sticking to the bottom of my non-stick pan.I used good quality basmati rice and to avoid it I had to stir it constantly and it becme soggy.can I try using cooked rice with this recipe.please do reply to my query?My husbsnd loves tomato rice.


Use a thick bottomed pan (nonstick or otherwise) and you are not supposed to mix it again and again on a medium or low heat. I make all the pulavs, biryanis this way and it works well for this also. You can keep the pan on a tava while cooking which gives extra thickness.



Shilpa, I tried to view the recipe of your version of tomato rice for 15 mins, it just wouldnt show up. I tried to search from rice items and then again went through the ordeal but all in vain…dont know why that recipe just doesnt up. Would be very glad if you could help me or temme what i’m doing wrong.



Ss, I think the site is having some issues. I updated this post and you can view it now. Let me know if you are still having issues in reading any post. Thanks.



Hi Shilpa,

Could yu post or email me your orginal Aaui’s tomato rice with coconut. I was palnnign ot make it for tomorrow and suddenly I see a different tomato rice recipe. My family love the old recipe.


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