Tomato Rice

tomato rice
Photo: Joanna Garcia
Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
Makes 6 cups; Serves 6 to 8

We love the scent of the curry leaves in this southern Indian-style dish; they are available fresh and frozen.


  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil

  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

  • ½ teaspoon brown or black mustard seeds

  • 6 curry leaves

  • Pinch of asafetida

  • 1 medium onion, minced (1 ⅓ cups)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (4 teaspoons)

  • 1 to 2 Thai bird chiles or 1 long Indian chile, seeded if desired and thinly sliced

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped (3 cups)

  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 4 cups Plain Basmati Rice

  • Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, for serving


  1. Melt butter with oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add cumin and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop (about 30 seconds), add curry leaves (take care, as mixture will splatter) and asafetida. Fry 30 seconds.

  2. Add onion, garlic, chiles, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and turmeric and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are softened and beginning to caramelize around the edges of the pan, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water and scrape up any browned bits. Add rice and stir to coat. Cover, remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt if needed. Serve, sprinkled with cilantro.

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