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Tomato Rice

Thakkali sadam, also known as tomato rice, is a delicious South Indian dish made with tomatoes, rice, and a blend of spices. It is a simple yet flavorful one-pot meal that is perfect for lunch or dinner. Thakkali sadam is typically served with a side of raita or papad. It is a popular dish in Tamil Nadu and other parts of South India.

Tomato Rice

Recipe by S Kamala
Recipe rating: N/A
Course: RiceCuisine: Indian, TamilDifficulty: Medium


Soak time


Cooking time



A classic rice dish flavored with tomato. Also known as thakkali sadham.


  • Raw Rice – 2 cups

  • Tomato – 4 Nos

  • Onions – 2 Nos

  • Green Chillies – 2

  • Fresh Ginger – 1” piece

  • Garlic Flakes – 4 Nos

  • Cinnamon stick – 1” piece

  • Cloves – 4 Nos

  • Star anise – 1

  • Marathi moggu (Kapok Buds) – 1

  • Cardamom whole – 2 Nos

  • Sombu (aniseeds) – ½ teaspoon

  • Bay leaves – few

  • Turmeric Powder – ½ teaspoon

  • Red chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon

  • Oil – 4 tablespoon

  • Lemon Juice – 2 teaspoon

  • Salt – 2 teaspoons or as per taste

  • Coriander leaves – little for garnishing


  • Start by thoroughly washing the rice, then soak it in water for about 15 to 20 minutes to ensure it becomes perfectly tender.
  • While the rice is soaking, take the time to finely chop the onions, ginger, and garlic. Slit the green chillies lengthwise to release their heat. Prepare the tomatoes by giving them a cross-cut at the base, then submerge them in boiling water. Allow them to boil for about 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Once the tomatoes have cooled down a bit, peel off their skins effortlessly.
  • Transfer the peeled tomatoes into a blender and puree them until smooth. Add just enough water to the puree to make up 4 cups of tomato mixture, setting the stage for a richly flavored rice.
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker over medium flame. Once hot, add in the whole spices: cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, marathi moggu, star anise, sombu (fennel seeds), and bay leaves, lightly frying them to coax out their aromatic oils.
  • Next, introduce the ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and green chillies into the cooker, sautéing them until the onions turn translucent and imbibe the flavors of the spices.
  • Sprinkle in the chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt, stirring thoroughly to combine the spices evenly.
  • Carefully drain the soaked rice and add it to the mix, frying gently until the grains are warm to the touch, ensuring each grain is coated with the spice mix for maximum flavor.
  • Pour the prepared tomato puree and a dash of lemon juice over the rice, gently stirring to mix well without breaking the grains.
  • Secure the lid of the pressure cooker and cook the rice mixture for three to four whistles, or until the rice is cooked through but not mushy.
  • Allow the pressure cooker to cool down before opening it, then gently fluff and turn the rice to ensure the grains are separate and beautifully infused with the tomato and spice flavors.
  • Finally, garnish the aromatic rice with freshly chopped coriander leaves, adding a burst of color and freshness. Serve this vibrant and flavorful dish hot, ready to be enjoyed as a hearty main course or a delicious side.

Recipe Video


  • You can also add fried cashew nuts or cooked green peas to the above.
  • Our reader Abi advised to try this recipe with V8 canned tomato juice and informed that it comes out really good and healthy for kids too.

A classic rice dish flavored with tomato. Also known as thakkali sadam.

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