Tomato Rice (Tamatar Biryani)

By • November 2, 2010 • 115 Comments

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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

The Editors

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 (115)

Tags: indian

Comments (115) Questions (0)

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1 day ago Bluejade

This is pretty good. I used ground spices instead of the whole spices because I just don't buy them. I did not use the spicy peppers. I substituted with chopping up fresh red bell pepper and a small amount of red pepper flakes. That was fine for us. This recipe, as is, must be really hot. Altho the recipe is not tedious and it came together within according to the directions, it is not exactly simple. Worth trying.

Wrong_apple

3 months ago sevenfaces

This was great. I'm a big fan of spanish rice - rice cooked in tomatoes - so I knew I would like this too. I counted the number of cloves and cardamom pods I put in so I knew when I had picked them all out and could serve it at the table with confidence!

Stringio

8 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.

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10 months ago Angel

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

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about 1 year ago Trena

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

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over 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.

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over 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.

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about 1 year 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 :)

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about 1 year 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

over 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?

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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. :-)

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over 1 year ago ami@naivecookcooks

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

Stringio

about 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.

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about 2 years ago dymnyno

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

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about 2 years ago pauljoseph

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

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about 2 years ago pauljoseph

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

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about 2 years ago pauljoseph

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

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almost 3 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:)

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almost 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you for your comment

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almost 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you for your comment

07walking

about 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

about 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!

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almost 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you

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about 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!!!

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about 3 years ago pauljoseph

thank you aargersi

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about 3 years ago ashleychasesdinner

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

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about 3 years ago pauljoseph

thank you for your comment

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about 3 years ago pauljoseph

thank you

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over 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!

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over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Donald Short Thank you any more Indian recipe please ask

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over 3 years ago nogaga

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

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over 3 years ago pauljoseph

Thank you nogaga

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over 3 years ago pauljoseph

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

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over 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.

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over 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