19 June, 2009

Spicy Tomato Rice: Lazy People's Version


Spicy Tomato Rice

“If life deals you lemons, make lemonade; if it deals you tomatoes, make Bloody Marys”
Nah… The recipe for Bloody Marys is not you will find here but a bowl of Spicy Tomato Rice.
Our weekend trip to farmers market found us, errr, ogling at those juicy, ripe and plump tomatoes in all avatars. So it was no surprise that we came back with a bag filled with cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes, vine tomatoes, roma tomatoes and common tomatoes (the one which is used in daily cooking is called common tomato in my dictionary. Got it?).

Without a shadow of doubt Tomato Rice got included in list of 'Tomato Menu Week'! After long working weekday at office, juggling meetings, project deadlines, running around to sort some personal work, we both reached home tired, sleepy and famished! And to our (un)luck there was no leftovers in fridge or freezer except for some leftover rice from last night! ~sighs~ It won’t be the last time I wish I could order some good from takeaway but decided not to shell out our hard earned money on foul smelling red gravy topped with half a bottle of cheap oil!

So we decided to make Lazy People’s Tomato Rice. Well, we can afford to be lazy sometimes, right? Since few of days back British summer has turned into rainy season, we were craving for something hot and spicy. I decided to use ready made Garam Masala powder instead of preparing masala powder from scratch. Since I always keep small bottle of grated ginger in fridge along with a pack of Ginger-Garlic paste, all I had to do was chop some onions, tomatoes and green chillies. Just a handful of herbs and pinches of spices, we had big bowl of steaming, spicy and very delicious Tomato Rice in minutes. The spicy and hot kick comes from ginger, green chillies, wee bit of garam masala and red chilli powder. If you don’t want to add garam masala then you can either increase the quantity of red chilli powder or use sambar powder/rasam powder/vangi bhath masala or any other spice powder you prefer. Since I like burst of different shades of colours in my plate, I added good handful of frozen green peas and few spoonfuls of cashew nuts fried in little ghee. You can simply substitute peas with sweet corn or any other vegetable of your choice or simply omit them. And similarly substitute cashew nuts with few spoonfuls of roasted peanuts for added crunch. Over all it turned out to be a very satisfying and delicious meal with spoonful of thick yogurt, pickle and papads. Try this when you are not in a mood to cook elaborate meals or short of time and see how lazy people’s Tomato Rice can turn into simple pleasures!

Tomato Masala for Spicy Tomato Rice

Spicy Tomato Rice (Basmati Rice flavoured with a base gravy of aromatic spices, delightful herbs and tangy tomatoes)
Prep Time: 5-10 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins (If using leftover rice) to 30 mins (If making fresh rice)
Serves: 3-4
Recipe Level: Medium
Spice Level: Medium to Hot
Serving Suggestion: As it is or with any Raita or Yogurt

2 cups Rice or 6-8 cups Cooked Rice (Preferably Basmati or Sona Masuri)
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
¾-1 cup Green Peas, fresh/frozen (Optional)
1-2 tbsp Tomato Paste or 2 Tomatoes, pureed
3-5 large Tomatoes, finely chopped or 1-1½ cans of Chopped Tomato
3-4 Green Chillies, finely chopped (Adjust acc to taste)
1 inch cube Ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
2-3 tbsp Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Spices Used:
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
3 Cloves
½-1 tsp Garam Masala (Optional)
½-1 tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust acc to taste)
½ tsp Turmeric Powder

For Tadka/Tempering:
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Channa Dal/Split Bengal Gram
1 tbsp Urad Dal/Split Black Lentils
1-2 Dry Red Chillies, cut into 1 inch pieces
1-2 springs of Curry Leaves
¼ tsp Hing/Asafoetida
2-3 tbsp Cashew Nuts
1 tbsp Ghee/Clarified Butter
1 tbsp Oil

Spicy Tomato Rice

If cooking rice from scratch, wash rice 2-3 times until the water runs clear. Drain all the water and add 4 cups of water to the bowl and keep it aside for at least 20 minutes. Transfer rice and water into a microwave safe bowl or pressure cooker and cook covered for 17-20 minutes (in microwave) or 2-3 whistles on medium flame (in pressure cooker). Once slightly cooled, add about tbsp of oil or ghee and separate each grain with the help of a fork and keep it aside till needed.
While rice is getting cooked, we can proceed to make tomato base for tomato rice.
Take a pan/wok and add ghee to it. Now add broken cashew nuts and fry them on medium flame till they turn golden brown. Drain and keep them aside till needed.
In a same pan add oil and heat it on medium flame. Next add mustard seeds and let it crackle. Once mustard seeds start to pop and splutter, add channa dal, urad dal, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cloves and broken red chillies. Sauté for a minute or two till lentils turn golden brown in colour.
Next add hing and curry leave and sauté for few seconds. Mix in chopped onions, green chillies and ginger and sauté for a minute or two till onions turn translucent.
Mix in finely chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, and red chilli powder and give it a good stir. Cook these tomatoes till they turn pulpy and release their juice, about 5-7 minutes, on medium flame.
Mix in tomato puree or tomato paste, green peas, garam masala and salt to taste. Simmer and let it cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Next, mix in cooled rice, finely chopped coriander leaves and fried cashews and mix them well so that each rice grain is coated with spicy tomato base and every grain is heated through. Switch off the gas and serve this delicious and Spicy Tomato Rice with chilled yogurt or Raita and enjoy!

Spicy Tomato Rice

You can omit or substitute green peas with sweet corns or any other vegetables of your choice.
Addition of cup full of chopped coloured bell peppers also enhances the flavour. Add them just before cooking chopped tomatoes and fry them for a minute or two.
Substitute cashew nuts with small handful of roasted peanuts for crunch.
You can also omit or substitute Garam Masala with Sambar/Rasam/Vangi Bhath powder.


  1. Wonderful dish, love that spicy tomato masala, gorgeous clicks!

  2. I don't know why this is lazy... but it looks tasty... I will try this soon :)

  3. Nice photo Sia...I have never tried using tomato paste in tomato rice before...love the bright red color :)

  4. Yummy!!! I routinely add peas and bell peppers to my tomato rice. Unfortunately, tomatoes are my hubby's arch nemesis. Oh, well. That just leaves more for me! :)

  5. Nice pictures. Those cherry tomatoes look delicious.

  6. rii..yava version aadru tomato rice nododikke habba nim blognalli :) Tumba chennagi clickisideera :)

  7. Wow that looks so colorful...Lovely rice sia..

  8. I have neve rmade tomato rice and this looks really yumm and the colour is just so vibrant.

  9. gonna try this AN..thanks!!looks colorful:)

  10. I make this quite often. Its so convenient isn't it?

  11. I make such versions all the time... guess how lazy that makes me??!!! In fact, my versions are lazier than yours ;-)

  12. Hi Sia,

    You could add a pinch of fenugreek powder for aroma & flavour


  13. Oh wow sounds spicy and yum...Looks drool worthy...

  14. This is the lazy version?! You don't know lazy, girl! :)

  15. Wowwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!
    very delicious and tempting...
    amazing click :)

  16. Thanks for this - looks great and sounds super easy!

  17. Hot and spicy,the masala itself is tempting.I love tomato rice and am always trying several versions

  18. Ooh just bought some baby eggplant! I was asking my mom for the recipe and yours look very close to it! Can't wait to make it. Yum!

  19. @JPT, err, this is tomato rice recipe and it doesn't need eggplants! :)

  20. Sia, this is wonderful! We both very much enjoy the flavor, and it was so easy to do, too. We will be making more of this, and soon! The green bell pepper is a good addition.

  21. glad u enjoyed it Carol. I can well imagine how good it would have tasted with few bell peppers in it :)

  22. wow it looks very very tasty!!!!

  23. Wow looks spicy n yummy Sia! Great colour!

  24. Hey Sia,
    Thanks for sharing your recipe.. it really turned out yummy!!

  25. Yeah yeah lady..after cooking all the elaborate gravies, this might sound a lazy meal for u, but i am sure many , like me ,won't agree that. It surely calls for some workout in kitchen, but who is gonna complain when the end product is something as colourful and tangy like this...it looks yummmm

  26. Dear Sia, Your post title makes me laugh, because honestly, the post in itself and the photographs defy the word 'lazy'. Enjoyed reading it and as always, the dish looks truly yummy.

  27. hi sia

    thanks for passing by. i really appreciate ur personal touch in comments and ur writings.

    how do u manage so much dear? give me tips :)

  28. This one features regularly in my kitchen...loved your version of it! The pictures are awesome :-)

  29. The best looking tomato rice i saw in a long time. Lovely !

  30. The looks like an interesting version. I also love the way you have presented it...

  31. Sia, thanks for this superb recipe! I tried this out an hour back and my friends ended up liking it very much.

  32. @Ashwin, I am really happy to kw that u guys liked and enjoyed it :)

  33. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing recipe :) reminds me of home whenever i make it!!

  34. My son has been enjoying his friends (tamilian) tiffin since months and demands me to make it as well.now am going to try this soon .!!


Namaste! I am Sia and welcome to Monsoon Spice, my virtual home. Thank you for all your comments, inputs and valuable feedbacks. I really appreciate the valuable time you spent browsing through my recipe repertoire.

I hope you have found what you are looking for today. Feel free to leave any questions or queries you have on the recipes posted here. If you have any recipe requests, please drop a line at Ask Sia page. I will try to respond to all your queries as soon as possible to best of my knowledge.

I welcome all your valuable inputs and constructive criticism as long as it is meant to help and improve the blog. I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude, abusive, written with the intent to advertise, contain profanity or considered spam.

Please note that any comments with separate link back to your blog, website or blog events will not be published. Your blog/website is hyper-linked when you sign in to your account to leave the comment and hence leaving separate links in the comment is unnecessary. Thank you for understanding!

I hope that you will stop by again to read my ramblings, learn new recipes and share your ideas. Have a good look around and enjoy your time here. Thank you once again!