Tomato Rice (Tamatar Biryani)

By • November 2, 2010 • 113 Comments



Author Notes: We made this rice for Raghavan Iyer -- Cookbook Author, Magazine Writer, Culinary Educator -- and I'm thanking him for writing this recipe. - pauljoseph
pauljoseph

Food52 Review: We are in love with pauljoseph's Tomato Rice -- it's loaded with aromatics and layers of heat but so easily made for a simple side or lunch. With pauljoseph and Raghavan Iyer's precise instructions, the rice comes out perfectly cooked and soaked through with the flavorful tomato broth. You can vary the spice with the type of chiles you choose (Thai are much spicier than serrano), and whether you remove the seeds and heat-packed white ribs -- bear in mind that the spice will continue to build as you eat. If you can't find whole mace, substitute 1/8 tsp ground mace or even skip it and let the other spices carry the dish. - A&M

A&M

Serves 6

  • 1 cup Indian or Pakistani white basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons Ghee or butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 6 green or white cardamom pods
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (each 3 inches long)
  • 2 blades mace
  • 1 small red onion, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon shredded fresh ginger
  • 4 medium-size cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 or 3 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, to taste, stems removed, cut lengthwise into thin strips (do not remove the seeds)
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  1. Place the rice in a medium-size bowl. Fill the bowl halfway with water, to cover the rice. Gently rub the slender grains through your fingers, without breaking them, to wash off any dust or light foreign objects (like loose husks), which will float to the surface. The water will become cloudy. Drain this water. Repeat three or four times, until the water remains relatively clear; drain. Now fill the bowl halfway with cold water and let it sit at room temperature until the kernels soften, 20 to 30 minutes; drain.
  2. Heat the ghee in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in the cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, and mace. Cook until they sizzle, crackle, and smell aromatic, 15 to 30 seconds. Then add the onion and stir-fry until it is light brown around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Mix in the ginger, garlic, and chiles. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. (You don't want the garlic to brown because its nutlike crunch is important to the rice's texture.) Stir in the tomatoes, with their juices, and the sea salt and turmeric. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften, 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add the drained rice and toss gently to coat the grains with the tomato sauce. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water, and stir once to incorporate the ingredients. Bring to a boil, still over medium-high heat. Cook until the water has evaporated from the surface and craters are starting to appear in the rice, 5 to 8 minutes. Then (and not until then) stir once to bring the partially cooked layer from the bottom of the pan to the surface. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes (10 minutes for a gas burner). Then turn off the heat and let the pan stand on that burner, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve. (Remove the cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks before you serve it, or just remind folks to eat around them.)
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
Jump to Comments (113)

Tags: indian

Comments (113) Questions (0)

Default-small
Default-small
Stringio

4 months ago kimberly.godwin

I made this last weekend. Quite good. I used 2 Serrano chilies, but think I should have used 3. (I like a bit more kick.) I even found mace! I did run out of turmeric so I had to do without. I will definitely make this again, and make sure I have turmeric on hand next go round.

Me_and_fb_bw

6 months ago Angel

This was very good!! Will make again for sure. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your achievement!

Default-small

9 months ago Trena

I made this for dinner tonight along with some pan-fried padron peppers from my garden - delicious. This is definitely a keeper!

Default-small

about 1 year ago Ham

This turned out fantastic. I made it with three serrano chiles and fearfully removed about 3/4 of the seeds. Not necessary! The heat was extremely mild, so next time I will keep the seeds in at least two of the chiles. I also threw 1/4 cup of peas in just after the "crater" step which I thought worked well. I will absolutely make this again.

Default-small

about 1 year ago za'atar

This dish has such wonderful flavor. I needed to use up some Thai jasmine rice and didn't have any basmati on hand, so my end result was a little gloppy, but we still loved it. Looking forward to making it again soon with the proper rice.

Default-small

9 months ago rupal

za'atar, incase you dont have basmati rice or you unsure about the right amount of water to put in for boiling rice so that it doesnt get mushy, you can first boil rice separately in a pan in good amount of water n once you feel the rice is cooked just fine you can remove from the stove and can drain excess water using a sieve...hope that helps :)

Default-small

9 months ago rupal

and later u can mix this rice with the rest of the cooked ingredients and can let it warm of couple of mins on the stove.

Stringio

about 1 year ago HaLi HopKins

I made this before and we loved it! If I want to double the recipe, do I need to add 2 cans of tomatoes?

Tumalo_coffee_mish_close_up

over 1 year ago piacere

Fantastic aroma filled our home when this was cooking. Great fun to try the new rise rinsing and soaking techinique too. Wonderful flavors and rice texture in the finished dish. The only drawback was needing to eat around the spices. Cinammon sticks could be easily removed. The cardamom pods virtually disintegrated and so did the mace blades so no worries there either. Avoiding the cloves was a bit trickier. :-)

Default-small

over 1 year ago ami@naivecookcooks

i just made it and it reminds me of home cooked food in India!

Stringio

almost 2 years ago Jann

Made this for my cooking club and Indian Night and it was very good. My husband loved it the next night with black beans! Really tasty recipe. Thank you.

186003_1004761561_1198459_n

almost 2 years ago dymnyno

It's great to see this recipe featured! I can hardly wait for my trip to India this December.

52

almost 2 years ago pauljoseph

Please don't forget to visit us when you are in Kerala,India

52

almost 2 years ago pauljoseph

Please don't forget to visit us when you are in Kerala,India

52

almost 2 years ago pauljoseph

Please don't forget to visit us when you are in Kerala,India

Default-small

over 2 years ago ubs2007

Incredible! "Wow...this is amazing" said my 4 yr old. I'm Indian so I've always been skeptical about Indian recipes. This recipe was scrumptious, authentic (at least the way my Kashmiri mother use to make it). Thank you very much for the meticulously detailed, delicous recipe...may be one day I'll enhance my repertoire of northern Indian dishes:)

52

over 2 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you for your comment

52

over 2 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you for your comment

07walking

almost 3 years ago JSaez

Wow! Fabulous. I made this recipe today and it was so good. I even used brown rice instead and still amazing. Thank you!

07walking

almost 3 years ago JSaez

Wow! Fabulous. I made this recipe today and it was so good. I even used brown rice instead and still amazing. Thank you!

52

over 2 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you

036

almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

We had this for dinner again last night. It really is the best rice I have ever eaten!!!

52

almost 3 years ago pauljoseph

thank you aargersi

Img_0022_profile

almost 3 years ago ashleypiersonchasesdinner

This is right up my alley. I adore rice and all the wonderful spices used in this recipe. I can't wait to try!

52

almost 3 years ago pauljoseph

thank you for your comment

52

almost 3 years ago pauljoseph

thank you

Default-small

almost 3 years ago Donald Short

Just discovered this site today and I'm so happy! new recipes ! I'll try this recipe and thank you so much!

52

almost 3 years ago pauljoseph

Donald Short Thank you any more Indian recipe please ask

Port2

about 3 years ago nogaga

I just discovered this! How wonderful! Definitely my next rice dish :)

52

about 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you nogaga

52

about 3 years ago pauljoseph

You can use Kohinoor Basmati Rice http://www.kohinoorfoods...

Default-small

about 3 years ago innoabrd

actually, this recipe doesn't need any SPAM to be good. it stands on its own merits. Please don't spam here, mangoes2020. It's rude.

52

about 3 years ago pauljoseph

innoabrd Thank you I never thought mangoes2020 comment is SPAM I cant delete my link above you can use ANY Bamathy no problem i HOPE FOOD52 WILL DEFLATE BOTH LINK SORRY AGAIN

Dsc_0122.nef-1

about 3 years ago Panfusine

just made this for dinner (substituting crushed tomatoes instead of diced ones..) delightful treat, Makes me want to quote a sanskrit blessing 'Anna daata sukhi bhava' (May the person who provides you food, live well & prosper!)

52

about 3 years ago pauljoseph

'Anna daata sukhi bhava' Sanskrit thank you for your comment Panfusine please call us when you are in India

Default-small

over 3 years ago 76sarah

Made this with brown rice and baked it--fabulous!

52

about 3 years ago pauljoseph

76sarah Thank you any more Indian recipe please ask

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I made this the other night and it is sensational. And it's so easy. Without question, this is one of my favorite recipes, ever, on food52. Thank you, pauljoseph! ;o)

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

thanks a million AntoniaJames you relay encouraging me to add more recipes

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I plan to make this, at long last, tomorrow evening. I don't have any whole blades of mace, but I do have some mace (from India), that is in small broken pieces. How much should I use? I assume I should pound them with a mortar and pestle . . . .I am so looking forward to this. Thank you. ;o)

Default-small

over 3 years ago innoabrd

Mace is the lacy covering around a nutmeg, to give you an idea of scale. So a blade, by my reckoning and roughly speaking, is about an inch long by 1/4". Definitely just use them whole rather than ground. That's one of the distinguishing characteristics of South Indian cooking, IMO. The whole spice gives you a much different result than the ground and fried spice used in north India.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you AntoniaJames do exactly what step 2 says use whole mace

Yes innoabrd is correct a blade, of mace is , is about an inch long by 1/4".

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I made this for dinner last night it was just perfect!!! Thanks so much for a GREAT recipe!!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

ChezSuzanne thank you

036

over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

We made this again last night and all 6 of us LOVED IT!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you aargersi

2-11_016

over 3 years ago SallyCan

I'm so glad to see this as a Wildcard Winner! Well deserved!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

thank you sally

Hib_kitchen

over 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

Congrats on the Wildcard win. You deserve it. I always enjoy seeing what you put on this site. Thank you.

Deena_cooking

over 3 years ago deensiebat

Made this last night! I tried it with brown basmati, and tweaked the time and water to accommodate but didn't get it quite right (my constant peeking probably didn't help things either). But even with a slightly soppy result from my mistakes, the flavor was still lovely. I'll be making it again!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

next time try with white Pakistani or Indian basmati rice

Eda_takoyaki_cooking

over 3 years ago edamame2003

oh, yum! this looks delicious--i like the tomato and peppers! saucy and spicy--i wish i'd seen this before trying to figure out my mom's Thai Biryani! great recipe--congratulations to you!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

THANK YOU

Monkeys

over 3 years ago monkeymom

So happy to see this picked! Congratulations pauljoseph!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

thank you a million to Amanda and Merrill and all Food52 members that all of you are one of our (me and our family and friends ) favorite and its the best food blog

New_years_kitchen_hlc_only

over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

This is on the menu this week at our house, for sure. I am so looking forward to making -- and eating -- it!! Congratulations, pauljoseph on this well-deserved honor. ;o)

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you AntoniaJames

Image

over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

OK, pauljoseph, you inspired me. I am making this right now. Had to made a few minor substitutions based on what I had in the house, but it smells SO good. And I am turning it into a one-dish meal by laying some fish filets that I had planned to cook tonight over the rice for the final steaming. (I did open the pan to turn them over.) Wonderful. Not anything I would have ever made without your inspiration. Thank you! And thanks A&M for this discovery.

Image

over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, I almost forgot! Here's the other great thing about this recipe: I'm a clean as you go kind of girl, the dinner is finishing on the stove, and except for that, my kitchen is clean! Hooray! No big after-dinner clean-up!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you drbabs next time have with lime pickle

Stringio

over 3 years ago testkitchenette

I will be making this this weekend...thanks for contributing such tasty recipes!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you testkitchenette

Me

over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

This looks wonderful pauljoseph!!! I think I'll make it this weekend! Congrats for the great win!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you ChezSuzanne

Jc_profilepic

over 3 years ago Sadassa_Ulna

Congratulations, this sounds great, thank you for contributing so many great recipes!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Sadassa_Ulna for you kind comment

Lobster_001

over 3 years ago nannydeb

Congratulations!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you

Gator_cake

over 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Hooray, pauljoseph! This sounds delicious.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you hardlikearmour

Img_9896

over 3 years ago fortheloveofyum

I was just looking at this recipe a few days ago and thought it looked fabulous, I'm really glad pauljoseph got the wildcard win! Many Congrats! :)

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

fortheloveofyum thank you

467656_3063519581919_1081358196_2884073_1059107948_o

over 3 years ago onetribegourmet

Congrats Paul! My mouth is watering thinking just thinking about this Byriani!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you

Dsc_0048b

over 3 years ago healthierkitchen

Look forward to trying this soon! I just got Raghavan Iyer's Betty Crocker cookbook!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

healthierkitchen Lots of relay good Indian recipes in that book one of our favorite author also try to buy Maya Kaimals Savoring the Spice Cost of India lots of Kerala recipes

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Congratulations, pauljoseph! Can't wait to make this dish!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

mrslarkin thank you

Winnie100

over 3 years ago WinnieAb

Yay PaulJoseph! So happy this is a wildcard win!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you WinnieAb

399571_2853636453848_1694221275_n

over 3 years ago TiggyBee

How wonderful pauljoseph!!! Congratulations on your beautiful rice!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you

Cakes

over 3 years ago Bevi

Congrats to you!!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Bevi thank you

Profile

over 3 years ago lastnightsdinner

So wonderful - congrats to pauljoseph!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

lastnightsdinner thank you

Img_1958

over 3 years ago gingerroot

Congrats pauljoseph! I am so thrilled for you - a well deserved wild card win! I will make this again soon.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

gingerroot thank you have with lime pickle

Image

over 3 years ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Congratulations, pauljoseph!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you drbas

036

over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hurrah! This rice is SO good, great wildcard choice! Congratulations!!!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you

Default-small

over 3 years ago innoabrd

Bravo! Will look forward to trying it.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Please try and send me a picture

Ozoz_profile

over 3 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

PaulJoseph - I am a HAPPY Woman to see you hounoured. Fantastic. Congratulations - Woow.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Yes Kitchen Butterfly as a man I am very proud of that

Summer_2010_1048

over 3 years ago Midge

Congrats pauljoseph! This looks so delicious.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

MIdge thank you

Dsc_0675-x2a

over 3 years ago Sagegreen

Congrats on the wildcard win, pauljoseph! So happy for you.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you sagegreen

2-11_016

over 3 years ago SallyCan

I made this and it is so fragrant and lovely. If you don't like too much heat, you could seed the peppers...

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Yes that helps

Img_1958

over 3 years ago gingerroot

This looks delicious - and I bet it smells wonderful as it is cooking (fragrant rice, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic, chili - YUM!). I am saving this and will try it soon.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you

Img_1958

over 3 years ago gingerroot

I made this tonight for my family and it was delicious. To add some protein, I did brown some ground beef separately with onion and garlic and combined it with the finished rice. Everyone enjoyed it, even my three year old son (who usually does not like tomatoes). Thank you for a fantastic recipe! We will be making this again soon.

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you I also want try with ground beef

036

over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Pauljoseph - I made this for dinner last night and it is EXCELLENT - all of the seasonings are present but no one thing overpowers the other. I followed the directions precisely and it came out perfect - we ate as much as we could last night and divided up the leftovers for our lunches today. Excellent recipe!!

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you aargersi As somebody trying our recipe, this kind of commend ( very rare) really encourage me to post real genuine try out (at least 5 time recipes) with real picture thank you again

52

over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you all for you commend

036

over 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am making this! Sounds SO good and we just happen to have everything in the pantry!

Mrs._larkin_370

over 3 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

this sounds wonderful, pauljoseph! Thank you.

Dsc_0675-x2a

over 3 years ago Sagegreen

What a great rice recipe! Thank you.