Tomato Rice


Tomato rice or thakkali sadam is another one of the most popular flavored rice in South Indian cuisine. There are 2 kinds of tomato rice. One is spiced with garam masala, which is what I have made here. There is another kind, mainly made in Tamil Nadu, which uses some typical South Indian spices/seasoning. I will share that recipe another time.

This was the only tomato rice I knew till I came to US 🙂 and was definitely a dish I liked a lot. My mom would make it very rarely, and so each time she would make it, it was one of those special dishes. The ‘special’ tag was given also because of the deadly combination she would serve it with. Wondering what it was??? Chilli chicken!!! Ya, you read it right 😉 I have never heard about this combination anywhere else. Tomato rice with chilli chicken. I don’t even know how she came up with this combination. Somehow it clicked for us. Not just for us! I remember, when I used to go home for vacation from hostel, my roommates and friends would wait for my return. Tomato rice and chilli chicken was something my mom would pack for me on my return journey, so that I could have it for dinner. I remember one time, I got a big vessel full of tomato rice and lots of chilli chicken upon popular demand from my friends 😀 And that night was a feast. We were left finger licking after literally fighting over the food 😉 Those days were awesome. I am getting nostalgic 🙂 I miss my friends 😦



Basmati rice – 2 rice cups
Tomato – 4 nos medium sized, sliced
Onion – 2 nos. small sized, sliced
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Green chilli – 2 nos, chopped
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Cloves – 5-6 nos
Bay leaf – 2 nos
Cardamom – 2 nos
Black peppercorns – 7-8 nos
Red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coriander leaves – 5-6 strands, chopped
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1.5 tsp) – 1/2 for rice and 1 for masala
Oil/Ghee – 5 tbsp


1. Cook the rice(add apprx. 1/2 tsp salt and 2-3 drops of oil while cooking rice) and keep it aside.
2. Heat oil/ghee in a sauce pan. Add the whole garam masala(cinnamon, cloves, bay leaf, cardamom, black peppercorns) to the oil and let it splutter.
3. Put curry leaves, onion, ginger garlic paste, green chillis and the remaining salt into the saucepan and stir well. Cook till the onions turn light pink.
4. Then add the red chilli powder and turmeric powder and saute. Cook for few seconds.
5. Add tomatoes and cook covered till the tomatoes cook well in medium flame. The tomatoes should leave all juices and crush completely.
6. Once the tomatoes are cooked and the cooked masala looks like a paste, add the cooked rice into the saucepan and mix it well lightly with the masala. The masala should be coated well on the rice. But if you mix it hard, the rice will break and will loose its texture.
7. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with chilli chicken or omelette 🙂