South Indian Tomato Rice (Tomato Bath or Thakkali Sadam)

4.29 from 7 votes

Tomato Rice also known as Tomato Bath or Thakkali Sadam is a delicious South Indian rice recipe which is super quick to make. Make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it fits it all. Here is how to make it.

Tomato rice served in a bowl.
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When I moved from North India to Bangalore a few years back, I was amazed by the varieties of mixed rice recipes in the South Indian cuisine.

Each and every dish was different from each and flavoured from the ingredients, I could think of back then. 

The best part, there was no rice recipe that I didn’t like. Super easy to make, they also get ready in no time.

These are also perfect to use leftover rice and transform the plain white rice into a totally new dish.

Among all these recipes, Tomato Rice or as it is called Thakkali Sadam in South India has become regular in my kitchen.

I either make it for my light meals or to serve as a side dish with the South Indian meal. 

These South India rice recipes are fabulous to pack for lunch boxes since they are super quick to make and keeps good for a few hours. This recipe can be made in a pressure cooker in less than 15 minutes.

So, if you want an easy Rice recipes, that will make your weekday cooking easy, then give this South Indian Tomato Rice a try. 

Some more South Indian Rice Recipes, that are a must try – Raw Mango Rice, Pepper Rice, Lemon Rice, Kerala Style Ghee Rice, Ellu Sadam, South Indian Coconut Rice and Pudina Rice.

What is Tomato Rice?

It is a South Indian Style Rice dish where rice is cooked along with lots of tomatoes and tempered to give that South Indian touch with mustard seeds, curry leaves, and other ingredients.

It’s a fabulous lunch box option for kids and adults and can be had for any time of the day.

The dish is gluten-free and if made in oil instead of ghee, it’s vegan too.

Process

To make tomato bath, first heat ghee in a pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds to it.

Let them crackle to release their flavor in the oil and then add whole garam masala in the oil.

The flavor of these garam masala lends a very nice aroma to this rice and I highly recommend using these.

Next up, add onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, and green chilli and fry them until the tomato is mushy.

Cooking until tomato turns mushy will make sure all the tangy flavor gores inside the rice when it is cooked in this masala making it super delicious.

You can also add curry leaves to make it even more flavourful.

Now add the dry masalas and rice and cover and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked nicely.

Make sure to simmer the gas to low after adding rice and water and covering the pan.

Garnish the rice with a generous amount of chopped coriander before serving.

This rice can be served with any raita of your choice and papad and pickle.

This recipe is very forgiving. You can adapt it according to your liking, the level of spice you like, etc.

How to cook it in a pressure cooker?

You can follow the recipe as it is, just replaces the pan with a pressure cooker.

Cook the rice for one whistle on high heat and then simmer the heat to low.

Cook for another whistle on low heat and then remove the pressure cooker from heat.

Let the pressure release on its own and then open the lid and fluff the rice.

How to cook it in Instant Pot?

Press SAUTE button and add ghee in IP.

Add the tempering ingredients, onion, and tomatoes as mentioned in the recipe below.

After adding the rice, close the lid of the Instant Pot and press PRESSURE COOK.

Set the timer to 4 minutes.

Wait for the timer to go off. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.

Release the remaining pressure and open the lid.

Serving Suggestions

I like to make various raita (Yogurt Dip) to pair with tomato rice. Papad also goes very well with it.

You can also serve it with pickle or any chutney.

Pro Tips by Neha

You can use leftover rice to make this recipe.

Make the masala and then instead of adding rice and water, add cooked rice, and mix everything well.

You can add vegetables of your choice to make this rice even healthier. Try adding peas, cauliflower, carrots, beans, etc.

Use ripe and soft tomatoes to make this recipe. If the tomatoes are hard, they will not become mushy and you will find chunks of tomato in your bite.

You can also add some coriander and mint paste to this recipe to give it a slightly different taste.

Increase or decrease the amount of chilli as per your liking.

You might also like:

Indian Spinach Rice

Jeera Rice

Tawa Pulao

Peas Pulao

Rava Upma

Step By Step Recipe

Heat ghee in a pan.

Ghee melting in a pan

Once the ghee is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds.

Mustard and cumin seeds crackling in ghee

Add cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns and fry for a few seconds.

Cinnamon, black pepper and cloves in ghee

Now add onion and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Onion added in the pan

Add ginger and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Ginger and garlic added in the pan

Add tomato and green chilli and fry until tomato turns mushy. Now add little water if required.

Tomato and green chilli added in the pan

Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder and cook for a minute.

Dry masala added in the pan

Add washed rice along with water and salt.

Rice, water and salt added in the pan
Water added

Cover the pan and cook on low heat until all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked. Garnish with fresh coriander. Serve hot with a raita.

Pan is covered until rice cooks
Tomato Rice is a delicious South Indian style rice recipe which is super quick to make. make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it fits it all.
4.29 from 7 votes

Tomato Rice

It is a delicious South Indian style rice recipe which is super quick to make. make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it fits it all.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoon Ghee
  • ½ teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 2-3 Cloves
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 2-3 Black Peppercorn
  • ½ cup Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Ginger (Grated)
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 cup Tomato (Chopped)
  • 2-3 Green Chilli (Slit into half)
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 cup Rice
  • 2 cups Water
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon Fresh Coriander (Chopped)
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Instructions 

  • Heat ghee in a pan.
  • Once the ghee is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them crackle for a few seconds.
  • Add cloves, cinnamon and black peppercorns and fry for a few seconds.
  • Add onion and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Now add ginger and garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomato and green chilli and fry until tomato turns mushy.
  • Add little water if required.
  • Now add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder and cook for a minute.
  • Add washed rice along with water and salt.
  • Cover the pan and cook on low heat until all the water is absorbed and rice is cooked.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander.
  • Serve hot with a raita.

Notes

You can use left over rice to make this recipe. Make the masala and then instead of adding rice and water, add cooked rice and mix everything well.
You can add vegetables of your choice to make this rice even healthier. Try adding peas, cauliflower, carrots, beans etc.
Use ripe and soft tomatoes to make this recipe. If the tomatoes are hard, they will not become mushy and you will find chunks of tomato in your bite.
You can also add some coriander and mint paste to this recipe to give it a slightly different taste.
Increase or decrease the amount of chilli as per your liking.

Nutrition

Calories: 263kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 19mg, Sodium: 93mg, Potassium: 170mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 425IU, Vitamin C: 9.5mg, Calcium: 25mg, Iron: 1mg
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4.29 from 7 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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