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Tomato Rice Recipe


Tomato rice is a simple, spicy, flavorful & delicious one pot dish made with rice, tomatoes, spices & herbs. This tomato rice can be made in a pressure cooker or a pot. If you are looking to use up left over or precooked white rice, then you can make tomato rice just under 20 mins following this Thakkali sadam recipe. Tomato rice can be served with out any sides as it is very flavorful & tasty on its own.

However some vegetable salad, kachumber, curd, raita or papad will complement your meal. To make it kids’ friendly, you can puree the tomatoes and use.

If you are new to Indian cuisine, read on to know


Tomato rice is a simple South Indian dish where rice is cooked with lots of tomatoes, herbs & spices. It tastes simply delicious, aromatic and makes for a quick meal option any time.

It is not a traditional dish so each home or region has their own way of making it. As the name indicates this tomato rice is made using tomatoes alone and no vegetables are used except onion. But you can use any veggies like peas, potatoes etc and even soya chunks or boiled egg goes well.

This south Indian tomato rice can be made in a pressure cooker, in a regular pot or in instant pot. I have shared all the methods here.

I have shown making tomato rice in pressure cooker in the step by step method. In the video I have shown making it in a pot. I have also included instructions for instant pot method in the recipe card.

1. Wash 1½ cups rice very well a few times until the water runs clear. Soak the rice if you wish until the preparation is done. Later drain the rice completely and set aside.

2. Wash and slice 1 medium onion thinly or chop them. Also slit 1 green chili (optional). Rinse & chop or puree 2 to 3 medium tomatoes. I use about 1 cup chopped tomatoes (200 grams). You can also deseed them before chopping.

3. Grate or crush half inch ginger & 2 garlic cloves to make 1 tablespoon paste. Set aside. Optional– Split 12 cashew nuts and set aside.

4. Add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil to a hot pressure cooker or a pot. Add cashews and fry them until golden and crisp. Remove to a plate. Regulate the flame to low. Add 1 inch cinnamon, 3 cloves, 1 bay leaf, 3 cardamoms and ¾ teaspoon cumin. If you do not have bay leaf you can use curry leaves. If you do not have all of these whole spices, just skip them.

8. Next cover and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder and ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala. I used this garam masala along with half tsp of fennel powder. If you have kids home cut down the chilli powder to half teaspoon.

9. Saute until the tomato masala turns soft and mushy. There should be no raw smell of tomatoes by now and the masala leaves the sides of the pan.

10. Pour 2½ cups water if making in pressure cooker and Stir it well. Check and add more salt if needed. Bring it to a rolling boil. If cooking in a pot pour 3 cups.

12. Mix well. Cover with a lid. Cook on a medium heat & allow to whistle once. If cooking in a pot, cook on a low heat until all the water is absorbed & the rice is done.

13. When the pressure releases naturally, open the lid and fluff up the tomato rice. If you like the rice to be al dente, do not allow the pressure to come down on its own. When the cooker is still with pressure, release it by lifting the whistle with a wooden spatula. Allow to rest for 5 mins.

Fluff up the tomato rice with a fork. When the temperature comes down a bit, can squeeze in some lemon juice and add coriander leaves. Garnish with fried cashew nuts.

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