Wednesday, June 6, 2007

TOMATO PULAV - The Life Saver

I came here to the States as a person who had absolutely no cooking skills whatsoever. Not that I didn't so much as take a look at the kitchen before marriage. I used to help my mom a lot.. but something like the Santa's little helper "The Elf" and not so much as the Santa himself. My mom always played the old guy role because of the fear of me burning down the house. I used to cut, clean, stir, wash, wipe, clean, serve.. but not COOK. So, you can imagine how confused I should have been when my husband took me grocery shopping the day we landed here. I had no clue what to buy. So, I came up with the simplest tomato rice.. just by guessing what my mom would have put into the gravy. Tomatoes never let u down.. the rice did turn out good. This dish is a slight modification of the same recipe. The tweaks had been adopted from the "100 Rice Delights" book by the famous culinary expert of Tamil Nadu "Mallika Badrinath". I have watched lots of cookery shows that she hosted and used to adore her style of cooking with ease. Her "Mathiya Unavu Vagaigal " - transalated as "Lunch Varieties" was one of the first few books that helped me understand cooking. My father in law brought this book for me the day before we had to board the flight. Probably knowing my cooking skills at that time he feared that I might fail to feed his son.. which probably would have happenned if not for the book :) On to the recipe now..


Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Tomatoes - 3 big ones
Coconut Extract - 1/2 cup (optional)
Garlic - 4 cloves minced
Green chillies - 6
Onion - 1 diced
Coriander leaves - A bunch, chopped finely
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Bay Leaves - 1
Cardamom - 3
Cloves - 3
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Fresh ground pepper - 1/4 tsp


  • Cook basmati rice in 1 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cup coconut milk (If not using coconut milk use 2 cups water) in an electric cooker.
  • In the mean time boil tomatoes in water, remove skin and mash. Set aside.
  • Spread cooked rice on a wide plate and let cool.
  • Heat ghee in a wide bottommed vessel.
  • When hot add mustard seeds and splutter.
  • Now add the cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamoms and cloves.
  • Give it a couple seconds and add the minced garlic, green chillies and onions.
  • Add the chopped coriander. Finally add the tomato paste and cook till oil seperates from sides.
  • Reduce the flame to low. Stir in the cooked rice to this mixture while still on flame. Mix well and let stand for 3 minutes stirring frequently and taking care not to burn.
  • Remove from heat. Sprinkle ground pepper and serve with cucumber raita.


Roopa said...

Meena the tomato rice looks delicious. Your way of preparing is unique will give it a try. Thks for sharing!

Meena Raj said...

Thanks Roopa. It does taste yummy and literally takes less than half hour to prepare. Do give it a try when u find time.

Sia said...

pictures look so good... now let me go back and read the content:)

Sia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Asha said...

Story of most Indian girls! Never cooked but will become experts at cooking when needed!:))
Pulao looks great.

Meena said...

Thanks for the comment Asha. Yeah.. Culinary experts on demand :)

Shivapriya said...

Hey Meena
Came across ur blog from Sia's. Tomato pulav looks delicous. BTW nice picture

Meena Raj said...

Hi ShivaPriya, Glad that u took time to visit the site. Please keep coming back.