Tomato Rice | Thakkali Sadam

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Tomato Rice Recipe is a simple meal made with rice, tomatoes, and a handful of spices. This tangy and flavorful rice recipe can be made as a one-pot meal in an instant pot or in a frying pan and also can be pressure-cooked.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro cook in the kitchen, this easy tomato rice recipe will always be a winner!

Tomato Rice Recipe Pin

About Tomato Rice Recipe

Tomato rice has South Indian origins and is a popular dish with variations prepared in different ways across India. It is also known as Thakkali Sadam, a delicious and popular rice dish from Tamil Nadu, a state of South India. 

In Tamil Nadu, it is often referred to as “Thakkali Sadam” in Tamil, while Karnataka, too, has its take on tomato rice, locally known as “Tomato Bath” or “Tomato Pulao.”‘Thakkali’ means tomato and ‘Sadam’ means rice, in the Tamil language. 

It is a quick and simple recipe that can be made as a one-pot meal or can make tomato rice in cooker or in a pan on a stovetop.

If you are looking for an easy-to-make tiffin recipe then look no further than this simple yet delicious easy tomato rice recipe!

Tomato Rice Recipe

Tomato Rice Ingredients

  • Tomatoes: Try to use bright red and ripe tomatoes for this recipe. If you use canned tomatoes or crushed tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes, use 1 cup of them.
  • Whole spices: If you don’t have cinnamon, cloves, or cardamom, replace it with ½ teaspoon garam masala powder. Using whole spices while tempering will make the rice very aromatic and flavorful.
  • Powdered spices: To add more flavor to the tomato rice, you can use sambar powder, curry powder, or bisi bele powder. It is totally optional but it will taste better if you add one of the three mentioned along with turmeric powder and red chili powder.
  • Rice: I have used long-grain Basmati rice here but you can use any long-grain rice for a fluffy and aromatic texture. You can also use short-grain rice or even brown rice. Adjust the cooking time according to the rice you are choosing.
  • Ghee and oil: Coconut oil is used in this recipe. You can also use ghee (clarified butter) to add more richness to this rice recipe. Skip ghee for a vegan-friendly recipe.

Watch the Tomato Rice Recipe Video!


1. Is it necessary to rinse the rice before cooking?

Yes, rinsing the rice is the first and most important step to make the best tomato rice. It not only helps in removing excess starch it also makes the rice fluffier.

2. Can I use any type of rice for tomato rice?

Yes, you can use any long-grain rice such as Basmati for this rice recipe. It provides a fluffy texture and absorbs flavors well. You can also use short-grain rice, it will create a sticky texture instead of fluffy rice.

3. Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones?

Yes! Canned crushed tomatoes are a substitute for fresh tomatoes in this recipe. Choose high-quality canned products for the best flavor of the dish.

4. Is tomato rice suitable for vegetarians or vegans?

Yes, tomato rice is a vegetarian dish. It can easily be made vegan by skipping ghee and replacing it with coconut oil.

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Tomato Rice Recipe Pin

Tomato Rice | Thakkali Sadam

Tomato Rice is an easy meal made with rice, tomatoes, and some spices. This tangy, flavorful rice recipe can be made as a one-pot meal or in a frying pan and also can be pressure-cooked. 
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 2 people


  • 1 pan
  • 1 bowl


  • 1 cup raw rice
  • 2 tablespoon oil (use any neutral oil)
  • ½ teaspoon urad dal (split black gram)
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 no cinnamon stick 
  • 2-3 nos cloves
  • 1 no green cardamom pod optional
  • 8-10 nos curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 nos green chilies chopped
  • 3 nos big tomatoes diced
  • 1 no medium-sized onion sliced
  • ¼  teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sambar powder / bisi bele powder / curry powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon ghee skip for vegan version
  • 2 cups hot water
  • salt as needed
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves chopped



  • Rinse your preferred rice for a couple of minutes and soak the washed rice for 20-30 minutes. Then, drain the water and set it aside.
    1 cup raw rice
  • Chop the green chilies, onions, and tomatoes. Crush a half-inch of ginger and 5-6 garlic cloves in a mortar pestle.
    2 nos green chilies, 3 nos big tomatoes
  • Keep all the required spices ready beforehand so that they don’t get burned later.


  • Heat two tablespoons of oil in the pan or instant pot or pressure cooker. On a low flame, add the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods, and the Urad dal (split black gram). Sauté till the urad dal turns golden brown.
    2 tablespoon oil, ½ teaspoon urad dal (split black gram), 1 no cinnamon stick , 1 no green cardamom pod, 2-3 nos cloves
  • Then add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and curry leaves. Let it crackle.
    ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, 8-10 nos curry leaves
  • Add the finely chopped onion and sauté until the onions are softened. Let them turn translucent. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and the chopped green chilies. Sauté until the raw aroma of ginger-garlic goes away.
    1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste, 1 no medium-sized onion, 2 nos green chilies
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and half of the chopped coriander leaves. Cover it with a lid and let the tomatoes cook.
    3 nos big tomatoes, 1/4 cup coriander leaves
  • Now, add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, and Sambar powder / Bisi Bele powder / Curry powder. Stir and saute for a minute.
    ¼  teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon sambar powder / bisi bele powder / curry powder
  • Add the soaked rice and gently mix very well without breaking the rice grains. Sauté for a minute.
    1 cup raw rice
  • Add two cups of warm/hot water to the mixture. Mix very well. Season with salt and before covering it with a lid add a teaspoon of ghee.
    2 cups hot water, salt as needed, 1 teaspoon ghee
  • If cooking in a pan let it cook for 20 mins and then check if it is dry. Add 1/4th cup of water if the rice looks dry. If cooking in a pressure cooker or instant pot, check the tips above for details.
  • Garnish with the remaining chopped coriander leaves and serve it with raita or pappadums.


  1. Choose ripe tomatoes to make this recipe.
  2. Wash the rice properly before using, it will make the rice fluffy.
  3. Adjust the spiciness according to your preference.
Keyword Rice Recipe, Tomato Rice Recipe, vegan recipes, Vegetarian Recipe

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