Tomato rice recipe is simple and easy. All you need is some leftover cooked rice and some fresh tomatoes. It is delicious and perfect for lunch box. Is also great when served as a side dish to a big menu or a quick weekday meal with a little raita on side.
These days while in quarantine, no-one is packing lunchboxes but on weekdays with household chores, online school, and office; lunch still needs to be quick (and healthy, and delicious!). Leftover rice is great for that! South Indian cuisine is home to many rice recipes like coconut rice, raw mango rice, and tomato rice. The best thing is that they can all be made with leftover cooked rice.
Tomato rice in Tamil Nadu is called Thakkali Sadam. It is traditionally pretty spicy. I remember gulping down glasses of water after I had it for the first time in Chennai. I often make one of these many leftover rice recipes for a quick lunch or dinner. I keep the spice levels low so I wouldn’t call it a traditional Tamil thakkali sadam but probably my version of it :-). I also add a “special ingredient” in it, which makes it even more tomato-ish —> I add some homemade tomato sauce to it.
As a kid, I’ve often had rice with tomato ketchup. So the first time I made tomato rice, I felt it still needed more tomato flavor and I added tomato sauce while eating. Since then, I now add tomato sauce/ketchup to the masala for tomato rice.
Ingredients for Tomato Rice
- Leftover Cooked Rice: Tomato rice usually tastes best with leftover white basmati rice or regular white rice, but you can use any leftover cooked rice.
- Tomatoes: For sure! As many as you like 🙂 I have used 3 in 2 cups of cooked leftover rice. Plus some Tomato Ketchup!
- Other veggies: Just one onion and some green chili and ginger for flavor.
- Spices and aromatics: Fresh curry leaves, bay leaf, cumin seeds, asafetida, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander powder, and salt.
- Oil for cooking.
- Optional Extra: Peanuts and cashew nuts for some crunch.
You can always keep leftover cooked rice in the fridge to be used as is the next day. However, simply sautéing them with a few spices and aromatics, gives them a new flavor.
How to make Tomato Rice
Making tomato rice is very easy. Below are the step by step photos to show you how simple it really is!
- Heat Oil, sauté whole spices and onions.
- Add tomatoes and all powdered spices. Cook till soft.
- Add tomato ketchup. Mix.
- Add leftover rice, mix well and cook covered for a few minutes for the rice to heat up.
- Garnish and that’s it!
Let me know how you find this recipe of simple tomato rice!
Tomato Rice | Leftover Rice Recipes
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 1.5 cups leftover cooked Rice (~2 servings, I’ve used cooked Basmati rice)
- 1 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp Cumin seeds
- 1 pinch Asafetida
- 1 Bay leaf
- 8-10 Peanuts optional
- 5-6 Cashew nuts optional
- 6-7 Curry leaves fresh or dried
- 3 Tomatoes chopped
- 1 Onion chopped
- 1 inch Ginger peeled and chopped
- 1 Green chili chopped
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- ½ tsp Red Chili Powder or mild paprika (optional)
- 2 tsp Coriander powder
- 2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
- 1 tsp garam masala
- fresh Coriander leaves for garnish
- Remove leftover cooked rice from the fridge and keep aside. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok at medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot add cumin seeds, asafetida, and bay leaf. When the seeds start to spatter, add peanuts and cashew nuts. Sauté for a minute till cashews start to brown a little.
- Add onions, green chilies, and ginger. Sauté for about 5 mins, till the onions start to soften.
- Add tomatoes and all the powdered spices except garam masala. Mix well and cook covered for 5 mins.
- Open and add tomato ketchup. Mix, add a little water and again cook covered for 5 mins or so, till the tomatoes are soft.
- Loosen the rice with a fork or your fingers and add to the cooked tomato masala.
- Lightly mix so that the rice doesn’t break and cook covered for a couple of minutes for the rice to heat through. Mix in garam masala and adjust seasoning.
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot. I like them as is but a cool cucumber raita is a good accompaniment with the tomato rice.
- Nutritional information is approximate value for 1 of 2 servings.
- While I’ve made this recipe with leftover rice, it definitely deserves to be made for itself too! Just cook some rice fresh, on the side, while you are preparing the tomato masala and then as with leftover rice, add the freshly cooked rice to the masala at the end and lightly mix to combine.
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So often when we make rice for dinner, there is always some leftover. If you are making rice everyday, it is easy to “carry it forward” but if not, a little sautéing with spices and/or some vegetables creates wonders! You can also make pakodas or fritters with leftover cooked rice!
What is/are your ingenious ways of using leftover rice? I would love to learn and explore more recipes with cooked rice. Share a picture, leave a comment or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and/or Instagram. Or join our newest journey into Recipe Videos.
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