Tomato rice…the sheer mentioning of this name brings back memories of the first n foremost time I had made a gutsy attempt to make an ‘authentic’ Tomato rice a few years back…. And I still remember its’ catastrophic results and its impact that left my family pleading to me not to endeavor into such clumsy experiments in future…especially with tomatoes and rice. :-) But then how’d I give up on my all-time favourite dish. :( To be honest with you, after my haunting first attempt, whenever I proceeded with this venture, it usually ended up as a big “kolam” (disaster), for reasons He alone knows. Especially once for a home function, when my reckless over-confidence gave way to a platter of over-cooked tomato rice…which was ultimately served meekly by me before the guests…. No prizes for guessing the edgy position I was in then…. But thx to their thoughtfulness, I was applauded for the efforts of a cooking novice…though it was quite embarrassing indeed!!! ;-) But then I never gave up coz the famous adage, “Try, try until u succeed” continued to drone in my mind, and I simply tried and tried and tried and finally it happened…to make something that looked and tasted like tomato rice (so to say). ;-p
Tomato rice, a main course dish, is absolutely one of the most highly relished dishes of whole of India. Evidently, due to the extensive differences in the cuisine styles in the four quarters of the country, we have around millions of individual expert recipes for this rather vibrant n aromatic dish. Probably one of the reasons all my attempts were failures (probably cudn’t get the mix-match right)…. Just kidding… :) Though must confess that my final attempt is a sort of assimilation of two main cooking styles, both North Indian and South Indian…of course also keeping in mind as usual the all-important convenience and time factors. :)
Now for cooking novices and non-Indians, tomato rice can be briefly defined as rice flavoured or rather cooked with whole spices, ripe n juicy tomatoes and dry masala powders. Sounds mouthwatering, rite? Spice freaks would infact give a thought or two before saying no to this wonderful dish…too hard to simply resist this absolutely gorgeous meal…especially when you r left mesmerized with that spicy aroma. Guess that explains why I never gave up and went straight ahead with my unproductive ventures. ;-p
Easy to make and light on the ingredients, this version too can be made instantaneously and that too without putting in much of an effort. Could easily settle on this one for a perfect Sunday afternoon…. :)
So, here’s how the recipe for this mesmerizing dish goes…
4 – 5 ripe Tomatoes
2 cups of short/long grained Basmati rice
A Ginger knob
5 – 6 medium sized Garlic pods
1 – 2 Green chillies
½ tsp Turmeric powder
2 tsp Kashmiri chilly powder
2 – 3 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Eastern biriyani masala powder
½ tsp Garam masala powder (optional)
Salt – As required
¼ cup Ghee
Spices - :
A couple of Cinnamon pieces
3 – 4 Cloves
A couple of Cardamoms
A Star anise
A tsp of Peppercorns
½ tsp of Fennel seeds
A tsp of Cumin seeds
1 – 2 Bay leaves
1) Soak rice in water for atleast 30 minutes. Drain and keep it aside.
2) Chop/slice the tomatoes into fine pieces.
3) Grind the ginger, whole (unpeeled) garlic pods and green chilies in a blender.
4) Heat ghee in a pressure cooker.
5) Add the whole spices and stir until the whole things starts spluttering.
6) Add the ginger-garlic-chillies paste and sauté until the raw smell leaves.
7) Add the tomatoes and sauté well until the whole mixture gets blends well.
8) Add all the powders and sauté further until the raw smell leaves.
9) Add the rice. Mix well and continue to stir for sometime.
10) Add 4 cups of water and mix well.
11) Add salt and mix again.
12) Pressure cook up to 2 whistles on high flame.
13) When done, garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
14) Serve warm with Onion-Cucumber-Green chillies salad, pickle and a must pappadums.
Pointers to be considered:-
1) Since the cooking time changes with each kind of rice used, you can change the quantity of water accdg to its quality and texture. Though the usual ratio followed is 1 measure of rice : 2 measures of water, using 2 cups of water may result in over cooking for some varieties of rice. So, be careful on the same and use only 1½ cups of water in such cases. And anyways, you’ll get this rite only after a couple of trial and errors. Kindly bear!!! :)
2) Pls make sure you switch off the stove immediately after the 2 whistles (to avoid making it get burnt).
3) Add more chilly powder and reduce the quantity of green chillies to render that vivacious reddish hue to the dish.
4) Adding biriyani masala powder or any other branded pulav masala adds that extra punch or zing to the whole thing.
5) Add lots of finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing to bequeath that killing aroma on the dining table.
6) You can also even throw in veggies of your choice, say for instance, carrots, green peas, potatoes, cauliflower etc and make it all the more nutritious and colourful. Would make it definitely appealing to the kids…. ;-p
7) You can also move around with the quantity of the whole spices and the masala powders accdg to your tastes and preferences.
8) You can also reduce or increase the quantity of ghee accdgly.
So, thankfully, gone are those days when I used to scuttle to the nearby eatery to satisfy my cravings for such spicy delicacies. But homemade food r really special as it thoroughly infuses in it that special feeling and tenderly affection called Love (along with loads of efforts…;-)). And honestly, ‘am really happy n satisfied with the fact that I too can make a decent (being modest again as usual) tomato rice to satisfy my little one’s palettes too (has become his favourite now). :-)
Moral of the story, sorry…blog: – Try n try n try until you succeed. Never give up until you do so coz in this world, nothing comes easy. But remember, always do try the right way. Coz being right is always right…. ;-p
So, on that sanguine note, happy cooking!!!
Labels: For Lunch