One of the most dismaying things that can happen to a food blogger is to find that somehow the bandwagon has been missed; that by some freak mischance, a recipe featured possibly in 99.99% of all food blogs – Indian food blogs, I hasten to add – has somehow been omitted from your own blog! Oh, that feeling of being left out in the cold, alone and separate from the buzzing masses of bloggers-with-recipes-in-common is too terrible to describe on a family-friendly blog like this one... so I will, in the interests of preventing readers from weeping all over their keyboards while reading, not describe the pathos of the situation any more.
Seriously, though, I was rather taken aback, while idly flipping down the “Rice” category on my blog, to find that I didn’t seem to have a recipe for tomato rice. It’s not that I haven’t made tomato chutney or thokku – I do have a couple of recipes for those, and one of the ways to make tomato rice is to mix that thokku with cooked rice. It’s the most basic of ways to make this savoury flavoured rice, so it doesn’t require any more instruction than “Mix the tomato thokku with cooked rice in a proportion that is pleasing to your palate”. (In fact, stopping that instruction at “rice” is probably enough!)
Still, to not have a recipe for tomato rice from scratch, on a blog like mine which purports to list simple basic recipes – well, that was so not on! So I rummaged in my fridge and came up with two ripe plum tomatoes, a few cherry tomatoes and a regular tomato, along with a salad onion – and some further rooting about revealed the existence of a lone red onion as well.
That was plenty for tomato rice for two... and so, my blog now has my version of tomato rice, and I am no longer in the cold. What a warm, fuzzy feeling of acceptance and belonging it is, to be sure… even if it’s only in my mind!
Recipe for: Tomato rice
1 cup basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes
2 cups chopped tomatoes (the better the quality, the better the final taste)
1 large red onion, chopped
1 salad onion with the green bits, chopped (optional)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp garam masala
3-4 fresh green chillies, sliced into thin rings (or to taste)
1/3 tsp asafetida powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1-1/2 cups water
2 tsp oil
1 tsp butter
Coriander leaves for garnish
1. Heat the oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the cumin seeds, sliced green chillies, turmeric and asafoetida powders and fry them for 40 seconds on high heat, stirring.
2. Add the chopped onions and mix well, frying till the onions become soft and translucent.
3. Now add the grated ginger and stir it in.
4. Next, toss in the chopped tomatoes
and fry till they begin to turn soft.
5. Now add the drained basmati rice and stir it in.
Fry this mixture on high heat, stirring all the time, till it starts to become somewhat dry and tries to clump together.
6. At this point, pour in the 1-1/2 cups water, add the salt and stir it in well. Bring the mixture to a boil.
7. Stir in the butter, if using.
8. Put the lid on the pan once the water is boiling, then turn down the heat and let it cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the rice sit covered for up to 30 minutes, but a minimum of 15. Now take off the lid, sprinkle the coriander leaves and gently mix with a fork.
9. Serve warm with a chilled raita and potato chips. This rice tastes even better after a few hours, so it can be made in advance and reheated just before serving.