Tomato rice is such a classic comfort dish in Tamil kitchens, it’s hard to believe it is as easy as it is. It certainly tastes quite complex, with several layers of flavors that complement each other beautifully.
And believe me, you can make it in less than 20 minutes, tops. And most of that time would be for cooking the rice, so if you already have leftover boiled rice, you’re already almost there.
I usually use fresh tomatoes to make tomato rice, but I used canned whole tomatoes this time because they were all I had on hand. It was a good organic variety, and I didn’t notice any difference in taste.
I am a little tired tonight and really want to catch Bill Maher on HBO, so I’m going to stop yakking now. But I do hope that if you’ve never had Tomato Rice before, you will try it. It’s a winner.
1 cup basmati rice, cooked (you can substitute with brown)
3 canned whole tomatoes, chopped, with about 1 cup of the juice
1 tsp canola or other vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp udad dal (black gram lentils)
2 tbsp cashew pieces (optional)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsp sambar powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds, roasted until lightly browned and powdered in a spice grinder.
2-3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
Heat the oil in a saucepan.
Add the mustard seeds and when they sputter, add the udad dal and cashew pieces. Stir until lightly browned.
Add the curry leaves and onions and saute until the onions are translucent and just beginning to turn brown.
Add the tomatoes, sambar powder, chilli powder and turmeric.
Saute and cook until the tomatoes darken and begin to express the oil.
Add salt to taste.
Turn the heat to low and add the rice. Stir in gently, taking care not to mash the rice, until the rice and tomato paste are well-mixed.
Check salt. Stir in the methi powder. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with some microwaved papads.