Spicy South Indian Tomato Rice | Quick Rice Recipe

South Indian Tomato Rice is a simple, spicy, flavorful & delicious one-pot dish made with regular ingredients like rice, tomatoes, spices & fresh herbs. It is also known as Thakkali Sadam in Tamil and is a healthy rice dish. If you’re bored of having the plain rice or the other rice dishes and you are running with time, then this is an interesting variation that you must prepare under 20 minutes.  Also, this is a brilliant lunch recipe for office goers.

There are two ways to make this rice – either you can make it from raw rice and cook from scratch or make it with pre-cooked rice. In this recipe, I am using raw rice. This tomato rice can be made in a pressure cooker, in a regular pot, or in a rice cooker. I have shown making tomato rice in a rice cooker in the step by step method. I have also included instructions for the pressure cooker method in the making card.

This South Indian version of tomato rice recipe is a little high on spice quotient. To reduce the spiciness, just use fewer amounts of ginger-garlic paste, green chilli, and red chilli powder. You can pair this scrumptious tomato rice recipe with papad or even chips. Generally, it is served without any side dish but tastes amazing when served with onion raita or boondi raita.

Recipe Ingredients & Cooking Process

Note: You can change the Servings count below to get updated ingredient quantities.

Tomato Rice

Spicy South Indian Tomato Rice – a healthy and flavored rice recipe prepared mainly with basmati rice and spiced tomato masala.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Easy Rice Recipes, Indian Rice Dishes, Rice Recipes, Tomato Rice
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Rice Cooker / Pressure Cooker


  • 3 cups Basmati Rice (soaked)
  • 1 1/2 cups Tomato (thinly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Onion (thinly chopped)
  • 2-3 no. Green Chilli (Slit)
  • 1 sprig Curry Leaves
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 inch Cinnamon Stick
  • 3 no. Cloves
  • 2 no. Cardamom
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Ginger – Garlic Paste 
  • 2 tbsp Coriander Leaves (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp Mint Leaves (finely chopped)
  • 5 cups Water (1 ¾ cup for 1 cup rice)
  • Salt – as needed


Preparation for Tomato Rice

  • Rinse the Basmati rice or any regular for a couple of times in water and soak for 30 minutes.
  • Later, drain the rice and set aside.
  • Chop onions and tomatoes finely and keep aside.

Making of Tomato Rice

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan/cooker.
  • Once the oil is hot enough, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and crackle them.
  • Then add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and just lightly sauté them for a couple of seconds.
  • Add finely chopped onion, and green chillies. Sauté till the onions turn translucent.
  • Then add ginger-garlic paste, and curry leaves. Stir and sauté till the raw smell of the ginger-garlic paste goes away.
  • Now add finely chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt and cook until the tomatoes turn mushy with oil releasing from the sides.
  • Then add turmeric powder, red chili powder, and coriander powder. Mix well and fry for a minute.
  • Add chopped mint leaves and chopped coriander leaves. Give it a good stir and switch off the flame.
  • Transfer the masala into the rice cooker. Add soaked rice, 5 cups of water, and mix well. The rice and water ratio should be 1: 1 3/4.
  • Check for salt and it should be little salty.
  • Cover and press the cook button. When the rice is done, the cooker beeps.
  • Rest it for 5 – 10 minutes & fluff up the tomato rice carefully with a fork.
  • If you are using a pressure cooker, cook tomato rice for 2 whistles on medium flame. To get softer rice, you can also pressure cook for 3 whistles. Once the pressure settles down, remove the lid and gently fluff the rice.
  • Serve hot with onion raita or boondi raita.



  1. To make tomato rice, always use ripe sour tomatoes.
  2. Rinse rice well a few times to get rid of the starch. Soak it well for at least 30 mins.
  3. Rice & water ratio is very important to cook up the rice to fluffy & nonsticky. For 1 cup of basmati rice, you can use 1 1/2 cups of water for the pressure cooker, 1 3/4 cups of water for Rice Cooker & 2 cups of water for the regular pot.
  4. To reduce the spiciness, use fewer amounts of ginger-garlic paste, green chilli, and red chilli powder.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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