Tomato Rice

Tomato Rice is a quick one pot meal loaded with tomatoes, warm spices and of course rice! Yu can make with uncooked rice or even with left over rice. Paired with raita, and some pickle on the side, this rice dish is a great meal for busy days.

Tomato Rice is an easy One Pot Meal

Often, I don’t follow a strict rule with such one pot rice dishes. I like to go with the flow and even change the spices based on how I want it that day. The spices for the Tomato Rice can be changed accordingly.

Food Photography - Kankana Saxena

Adding Idli Podi to Tomato Rice!

Today, I prepared the Tomato rice using south Indian Idli Podi as the spice mix. My friend in her last visit gave us a big batch of her homemade idli podi. We have been enjoying it a lot with dosa and idli, but occasionally I am adding it in my quick rice dishes too. 

With very minimal effort it adds a warm flavor to the dish. Idli podi is easily available in any Indian store or online in Amazon.

I am not claiming this Tomato Rice recipe to be authentic. It is just one of the many ways I like to prepare it. And if you don’t have idli podi, you can use your choice of spices too.

South Indian Style Rice dish with tomatoes

Canned or Fresh Tomatoes?

Typically, tomato rice is prepared with fresh tomatoes and I did the same. But you can use canned ones too. Just don’t use puree or else you will mix out of the texture.

Also, if you choose canned tomato, then definitely adjust the seasoning accordingly. You might need to add more sugar to cut down on the tartness.

Tomato Rice - flat lay scene | Food Photography

When I first started to understand South Indian food culture, I was amazed at the variety of rice dishes they have. The crunchy peanuts with the fried curry leaves, this rice dish is flavor bomb with lots of texture.

We pair it with yogurt and a fried curd chili (another south Indian specialty that I always stock from Indian stores)


Tomato Rice

Tomato Rice

Yield: Seves 3
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Tomato Rice is a quick one pot meal loaded with tomatoes, warm spices and of course rice! Yu can make with uncooked rice or even with left over rice. Paired with raita, and some pickle on the side, tomato rice is a great meal for busy days.


  • 1/4 cup peanuts
  • handful of curry leaves
  • 1 green chili
  • 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 small red onion (6 oz), finely chopped
  • 3 red tomatoes, finely chopped ( about 6 oz each) (I also added some cherry tomatoes from my garden)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Idli Podi
  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 2 cups water (you might need less water if you are using short grain rice)
  • 1 tablepsoon ghee
  • 1 tablespoon oil


In a wok at medium heat, pour the oil. Once it heats up, add the peanuts and half of the curry leaves. Fry intil crispy and then take it off to a bowl.

To the same wok, add the ghee along with black mustard seeds, chopped green chili, chopped curry leaves and ginger. Stir for about 30 seconds.

Scatter the red onion along with salt and cook it for couple minutes. Then add the tomato, sugar and stir. Cook for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are soften.

Add the Idli podi and mix it around.

Then add the washed rice, along with the water and give it a stir. Bring it to boil then bring the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice it cooked. Do stir once or twice in between.

Garnish the cooked rice with the fried peanurs and curry leaves.

Serve warm with raita.


Please note that you might need more or less water based on the variety of rice you are using.

Preparing the dish with leftover rice

You can prepare the same dish using left over rice too. In which case you will not add water. Once the tomatoes are cooked, add the left over rice and stir it aorund to incorporae everything.

Substitute for Idli Podi

I used Idli podi to prepare the Tomato Rice, but you can use your choice of spices too. A mix of cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powde will work great too.

Tomato Rice - flat lay scene
Did you enjoy this Tomato Rice? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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Comments are closed.

  • Nandini
    April 17, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    This was my fav lunch box dish in my school days…looks awesome and love the colour!

  • Manu
    April 17, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    This sounds so delicious. I have never had tomato rice before and this looks so inviting. I love all the spices you put!!! Bring it on!!! 🙂

  • Raji
    April 17, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    I really flavoured rice dishes…the recipe is too good. The picture of the tomatoes is superb.

  • Priya Sreeram
    Priya Sreeram
    April 17, 2011 at 11:51 PM

    nice recipe kankana & like u said pretty simple too !

  • Priya
    April 18, 2011 at 12:15 AM

    Tomato rice looks super delicious,would love to finish that whole plate,btw regarding ur q’n about rice rava,its not sooji dear,rice ravas are broken rice,which we use actually for making idly batter, hope i cleared ur doubt..

  • sukanya
    April 18, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    absolutely fantastic and simple tomato rice. pics are really good.

    pls do check the new event at my site : summer coolers

  • chopinandmysaucepan
    April 18, 2011 at 1:44 AM

    I love the aromas of curry leaves especially if you fry them and they release the fragrance.

  • Sanjeeta kk
    Sanjeeta kk
    April 18, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    The rice looks so delicious! Like the sesame in it. Beautiful color and fluffy dish!

  • aipi
    April 18, 2011 at 6:08 AM

    I soooooooooo want to grab that bowl right now of my most fav one pot meals 🙂
    Liked the addition os sesame- must have given a nice nutty texture!

    US Masala

  • jeyashrisuresh
    April 18, 2011 at 6:53 AM

    very nice version of tomato rice. adding coriander seeds, peanuts ,sesame seeds will surely enhance the flavour

  • Noorish
    April 18, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    This is my kind of blog. I just went through a bunch of your posts and I love your recipes. Especially the Egg Masala….I love currys. And your photography is beautiful.

  • Tina (PinayInTexas)
    Tina (PinayInTexas)
    April 18, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    Just like Manu, I haven’t tried tomato rice…but this looks really good! A complete meal all in one plate!

  • Sandra's Easy Cooking
    Sandra's Easy Cooking
    April 18, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    This looks and sounds fantastic the way you do your magic in the kitchen..Keep them coming!

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective
    [email protected]
    April 18, 2011 at 9:44 AM

    What a hearty and vibrant dish. 🙂

  • The Mistress of Spices
    The Mistress of Spices
    April 18, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    Mmmmm I love tomato rice! It’s one of my favorite dishes that my mom makes too. I haven’t made it myself in ages, thanks for reminding me of it! Mouth is watering now 🙂

  • Megan
    April 18, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    This sounds so unique and delicious! Pretty, too!

  • Nadia
    April 18, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    This dish looks so comforting. I never had tamaatar chawal before, we have meat pulaos or peas pulao mostly. I will have to give it a try. 🙂

  • torviewtoronto
    April 18, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    fabulous looking tomato rice flavourful and delicious

  • Nishi
    April 18, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    This rice is a regular at our home too. This is an easy quick fix recipe and at the same time delicious as well. And you have done complete justice to this rice with the photographs 🙂

  • Juliana
    April 18, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Oh! This rice dish looks so tasty…full of flavor…I could dig into it without any hesitation. Have a great week Kankana 🙂

  • briarrose
    April 18, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Excellent side dish….I could eat this one often I think. Wonderful flavoring.

  • Soma
    April 18, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    The luxury of having 5 sides + chutney has been long gone:-( only one pot kinda meals or just dal and one subzi. After so many years, i still have a tough time eating this way. Looks lovely. Tomato rice is a staple inb our hoe too, only i cheat & use v8 most of the times:) (Shsssh…)

  • Tanvi
    April 18, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    I always thought of this as a southindian meal.Even at my bong inlaws house, we mostly have plain rice.But this is a yum dish for all those lazy days.Love the light red color!

  • tigerfish
    April 18, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    I so love this rice! It has my fav. ingredient – tomato and fav. spices!

    I could never cook a feast too. Best to have one-pot, one-plate and one-bowl of everything! Heee heee…I only cook rice with other side dishes like once a week 😛

  • daksha
    April 18, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    Looks awesome and love the colour, ur snaps r so perfect.

  • Kristi Rimkus
    Kristi Rimkus
    April 18, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    I am always amazed by your pictures. You have such an eye for the camera!


  • yummychunklet
    April 18, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    This rice dish looks amazing! I love the look of the juicy, vine tomatoes. Great post!

  • Alea Milham
    Alea Milham
    April 18, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    This looks amazing! I have no idea how your mom made all those dishes either, but I sure would enjoy being a guest!

  • A little bit of everything
    A little bit of everything
    April 18, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    your photos always blow me away. you’re a wonderful photographer. you should open your own photo studio if you haven’t yet.
    the rice looks great. hubby loves white plain rice and i always add some veggies to it. LOL
    thanks for sharing

  • Vimitha
    April 18, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    My favorite one pot lunch box recipe… Looks flavorful and yum

  • the food doctor
    the food doctor
    April 18, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    You are truly talanted when it comes to photography..
    bookmarking this as a must sounds and looks YUMMY!

  • Miriam
    April 18, 2011 at 11:09 PM

    Ooo, that rice looks exquisite! I love all the flavor! [email protected]Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  • Anzelle
    April 18, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    Looks good! I have to ask for some clarifications/substitutions again, though. I’ve never heard of chana daal or urad dal, what are they, and is there anything I can use in their place if our shops should prove lacking?

    • Kankana Saxena
      Kankana Saxena
      April 19, 2011 at 12:10 AM

      I emailed you dear about your queries .. let me know if it helps !

  • sonia
    April 19, 2011 at 6:50 AM

    Hi Kankana, The Rice is looking absolutely delightful. Very nicely made and presented. Its always fun to see ur appetizing recipes. I wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day !

  • Lauren @ L-Mo Cooks
    Lauren @ L-Mo Cooks
    April 19, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    oooh, wow. This looks so good! I’m not a huge fan of rice either, but tomato rice has always been a good way to get me to eat it. I’ve never had it like this, though. It sounds marvelous!

  • Kausambi@ColoredGrains
    [email protected]
    April 19, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    Awesome ! My all time fav fav lunch 🙂

  • Maria @ Scandifoodie
    Maria @ Scandifoodie
    April 19, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    This sounds so aromatic and tasty! Gorgeous recipe!

    [email protected]
    April 19, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Oh that is just scrumptious!! Everything that’s in it is yummylicious!! What a beautiful meal… didn’t think that rice could look that good! 🙂

  • Candace
    April 19, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Omygoodness! This looks fabulous! I don’t know what some of the things are that you added; but I just know that it would taste fantastic. I would love to give this a try. I’m going to have to Google some of the ingredients to see what they are to see if I can find them around here. I absolutely love the photos that you have taken to go along with the recipe. The one of the tomatos is my favorite. Thanks so much for stopping by to see me today and calling my attention to your blog. I’m going to look around some more at your wonderful recipes and add your blog to my Reader so that I don’t miss a thing. Have a great week, Candace

  • Alice
    April 20, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    This looks yummy. I don’t always need rice as an accompaniment, but sometimes it is the best comfort food – always so filling and nourishing. Thank you for sharing such a flavourful recipe.

  • tinytearoom
    April 20, 2011 at 6:17 AM

    I tried to make a tomato rice from a cookbook and it turned out bland. This looks full and flavour and life. I love it. I’m keeping ti in min for the next time I need to make tomato rice.

  • nisha
    April 20, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    tomato rice is one of my absolute fav one pot meals…

  • rebecca
    April 20, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    love tomato rice my hubby is Indian 🙂 and yep its amazing how much Indian mums cook

  • Suman Singh
    Suman Singh
    April 22, 2011 at 3:50 AM

    Hi Kankana,
    My mouth is watering just looking at your pics..I love tomato rice and this look great and delicious..I can’t tell you how much I wish I was your next-door neighbor. 🙂

  • Jason@JLHealth
    [email protected]
    April 22, 2011 at 6:36 AM

    I am going to have to research some of the ingredients Kankana but I definitely want to make this. Rice is an important staple in my home.

    Great post and thanks for posting and hosting at the hearth and soul hop.

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)
    Jennifer (Delicieux)
    April 23, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    This looks so tasty and aromatic. I love the combination of all of the spices, I can just imagine how delicious this would taste. Beautiful photos too.

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