Thakkali sadam or tomato rice is a tasty, quick and easy rice variety with tomatoes from Tamil nadu cuisine. This rice dish is prepared all over the country with minor variations. Vegan and gluten free.
Prepared with simple ingredients and ready in 30 minutes, this tomato rice is best suited for lunch box, quick fix dinners or even sudden guests. Serve with a simple onion raita or potato fry or potato chips for a wonderful satiating meal.
Variety rice recipes are a very popular concept in south Indian cuisine. Cooked and cooled rice is quickly mixed into various delicious vegetable based masala and these rice recipes are made.
Usually we do not add any whole spices in these recipes. It is just the regular south India n tempering we do.
If you use raw rice and cook it along with tomatoes and vegetables, what you will get it tomato bath.
So here in this thakkali sadam recipe too we are using cooked and cooled rice. Leftover rice will be perfect for this recipe.
Do try this out if you are looking for a quick, easy dinner or lunch that is super flavorful, delicious with with myriad of tastes. This rice is
vegan and gluten free
easy to make
ready in 30 minutes
best suited for lunch box.
What Is Tomato Rice?
Tomato rice recipe is a tasty main course dish where tomatoes cooked with very basic spices is mixed with cooked and cooled rice.
Tomato rice or thakkali sadam as we call it here is one of the most sought after rice recipes. It is very commonly prepared in south Indian homes very often.
We used to carry this in our lunch box at least once a week. These rice varieties were a mainstay in lunchboxes as they are very easy to make, gets ready in minutes and tastes great even at room temperature.
Traditionally thakkali sadam is prepared without any vegetables. You can however easily add vegetables like carrot, peas, corn in this recipe.
Here I have made this dish by adding some carrots as I like to sneak in some veggies in every recipe I make 🙂
This dish tastes wonderful when made a bit spicy. The preparation is very similar to the Spanish rice with tomato paste, only the seasoning and spices used are different.
If you like you can easily reduce the amount of red chili powder. On the other hand to make tomato rice more spicy increase green chilies and red chili powder.
The tempering ingredients are everything in this tomato rice recipe. Mustard, urad dal, chana dal, peanuts add a wonderful flavor and crunch to the rice.
I have also mentioned some optional ingredients you can use in tempering, please check it out.
As mentioned above thakkali sadam is mostly made without whole spices or garam masala. At the most a bay leaf and some garlic will be added in some homes. Otherwise this rice is all about the tempering and tomatoes only.
Here I am sharing my method for making tomato rice and it turns out delicious, flavorful and simply addictive. Tastes best hot or at room temperature. Please follow the step by step photos for making thakkali sadam and enjoy!
Ingredients For Thakkali Sadam
Rice– to make this rice you can use any variety of rice. Here I have used white basmati rice but we do not use that on regular basis.
I mostly make tomato rice with regular raw white rice only. You can also use seeraga samba rice for more flavor. Brown rice can also be used here.
We need cooked rice for this recipe, so cook and cool the rice at least 30 minutes before making the recipe.
Tomatoes– I prefer to use desi tomatoes for this recipe as they have the right amount of tang. Use ripe and plump tomatoes for best taste.
As we are not using any souring agents like tamarind or lemon juice in this recipe, slightly tangy tomatoes are preferred.
You can finely chop the tomatoes using a knife or mince in a food processor. If you do not want the coarse texture of chopped tomatoes you can just puree them in a blender.
Onion are optional in this recipe but I always add them. Slightly caramelized onions add such a wonderful flavor and taste to this rice.
Tempering ingredients– Typical south Indian tempering ingredients like mustard, chana dal, urad dal, curry leaves and green chili are used here too. Be generous with these ingredients as they add a wonderful crunch and flavor to this thakkali sadam.
Peanuts– One ingredient I will never missing adding in tomato rice is peanuts. I usually do not add cashew nuts in this recipe but peanuts or groundnuts is a must.
Spice powders- Basic Indian spices like red chilli powder, turmeric powder are used here. I never add cinnamon or cardamom pods to make this rice.
For a different flavor you can try adding 1 teaspoon curry powder.
How To Make Tomato Rice Recipe
If you have leftover rice skip these steps and proceed with making the recipe. You will need 2 cups to 3 cups cooked rice for this recipe. If you are cooking rice fresh to make thakkali sadam follow these steps.
Pick and rinse 1 cup basmati rice grains twice or thrice. soak the rice in a large bowl of water for 30 minutes.
Drain and spread on a plate for 10 minutes.
Pressure cooker– add the drained rice to a pressure cooker base and add 2 cups water. Add few drops of oil and mix. Pressure cook for 2 whistles in medium flame.
Instant pot– Place the inner vessel in your instant pot. Select pressure cooker or manual mode. Add drained rice, water and few drops of oil. Set timer to 5 minutes. Seal and pressure valve and switch it on.
In a pot- Bring 3 cups of water to rolling boil in a large pot along with a pinch of salt and few drops of oil. Add the drained rice and mix once gently. Cover the pot and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the rice grains are well cooked.
Once cooked fluff the rice with a fork and let cool until use.
Making thakkali sadam
Rinse 3 large or 5 medium tomatoes and cut them into half.
Now you can either finely chop them with a knife or mince them using a food processor or puree them in a blender. You will need 2 cups chopped or minced tomatoes.
Keep finely chopped onions, slit green chili and minced ginger ready. You can also ginger garlic paste or minced ginger garlic.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pan or kadai. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and let them splutter. Next add 2 teaspoons urad dal, 2 teaspoons chana dal and saute for few seconds.
Add slit green chili, minced ginger and saute. Also add minced garlic cloves now if you wish to. You can also add ginger garlic paste.
Next add the curry leaves and peanuts.
Saute well for a minute in medium heat.
Now add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped carrots. You can skip carrots to make this rice without vegetables.
Mix well and saute the ingredients in medium heat for 2 minutes.
Now add 2 cups chopped tomatoes and mix.
Add salt to taste.
Next add 1 teaspoon red chilli powder.
Also add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder.
Mix well and cook in medium heat until the tomato masala gets well cooked. It takes around 6-7 minutes in medium heat.
Now add the rice and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Remove from flame.
Mix well but gently without breaking the rice, add chopped coriander leaves and mix again.
Serve tomato rice warm or cool thoroughly and pack in lunch box.
Tips To Make Thakkali Sadam
On rice– It is very important to rinse well and soak the basmati rice at least for 20 minutes before cooking. This will remove the starch to an extent and make the rice non sticky. Traditionally south Indian tomato rice recipe is made with short grain rice only. You need not pre soak that variety.
Water– the ratio of water to rice actually varies with the age of rice. Use the quantity given here as guide and add water accordingly.
Spices– Thakkali sadam is generally made quite spicy and I too prefer it that way. This recipe yields moderately spiced tomato rice and you can increase or decrease the spices as per taste.
For more masala flavored dish you can add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder or curry powder. For a sharp spicy taste you can add 1/2 teaspoon powdered black pepper or crushed black pepper corns along with chili powder.
The flavor of this dish develops as it cools down and it tastes really good at room temperature.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use regular rice for this recipe?
Yes, you can easily use any variety of rice in this recipe. Just add water accordingly and cook the rice.
How to make tomato rice in one pot?
If you do not have cooked rice you can easily use raw rice and make this tomato rice recipe in one pot, pressure cooker or instant pot. Rinse, soak and drain the rice
Prepare the tomato masala as mentioned in the recipe and at the stage of adding cooked rice, add the drained raw rice. Mix gently and add 2 cups water. Cover and simmer till the rice gets cooked.
In pressure cooker cook for 2 whistles
In instant pot cook for 6 minutes in manual mode or pressure cooker mode with pressure valve sealed. Let the pressure release naturally.
Can I use parboiled rice for this recipe?
Yes thakkali sadam with parboiled rice tastes really good and I make it often. The ratio of water will vary though.
Serve this tomato rice with either one or all of the following
- raita of choice like boondi raita, cucumber raita, vegetable raita
- potato fry or raw banana fry
- potato chips or plantain chips
More Delicious Recipes
South Indian Tomato Rice- Thakkali Sadam
- 1 cup basmati rice or 2.5 cups cooked and cooled rice
- 2 cups tomatoes finely chopped or minced
- 2 tablespoons Oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 2 teaspoons urad dal
- 2 teaspoons channa dal
- 15 curry leaves
- 2 green chillies slit
- 2 tablespoons peanuts
- 1/2 inch ginger minced with 2 cloves garlic minced, optional
- 1/2 cup onions finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons coriander leaves chopped
- Rinse 3 large or 5 medium tomatoes and cut them into half.
- Now you can either finely chop them with a knife or mince them using a food processor or puree them in a blender. You will need 2 cups chopped or minced tomatoes
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy pan or kadai. Add 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and let them splutter. Next add 2 teaspoons urad dal, 2 teaspoons chana dal and saute for few seconds.
- Add slit green chili, minced ginger and saute. Also add minced garlic cloves now if you wish to. You can also add ginger garlic paste.
- Next add the curry leaves and peanuts.
- Now add 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped carrots. You can skip carrots to make this rice without vegetables.
- Mix well and saute the ingredients in medium heat for 2 minutes.
- Now add 2 cups chopped tomatoes and mix.
- Add salt to taste.
- Next add 1 teaspoon red chilli powder.
- Also add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Mix well and cook in medium heat until the tomato masala gets well cooked. It takes around 6-7 minutes in medium heat.
- Now add the rice and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Remove from flame
- Mix well but gently without breaking the rice, add chopped coriander leaves and mix again
- Serve tomato rice warm or cool thoroughly and pack in lunch box.