South Indian Tomato Rice in Instant Pot using simple, everyday spices from your pantry! Also known as Thakkali Sadam, this is a popular lunchbox recipe from South India. Perfect, one-pot rice for busy days as well. Today, we are going to see how to make this quick recipe in the Instant Pot and on Stovetop.

South Indian Tomato Rice In Instant Pot

Growing up, tomato rice is one dish that was often on my lunchbox menu. I personally love the tanginess of ripened tomatoes and enjoy this rice to the core. As a working woman, my mom picked such easy but delicious one-pot recipes for our lunchbox. Basically, Tomato rice is nothing but rice cooked with basic spices and few tomatoes. One other favourite Tomato recipe of mine is, Tomato Thokku. You can make this thokku in advance, store it in the refrigerator and have it with rice. Tastes so good.

For those following my blog, you would know that I love sharing basic everyday recipes here. This is definitely one such beginner recipe as well. Coming from South India, rice is our staple ingredient. My day doesn’t end without one satisfying dish with rice. Especially such quick mixed rice recipes like tomato rice, lemon rice, raw mango rice etc are my favourites.

Tomato rice
South Indian Tomato Rice in instant Pot

While each family prepares this rice differently, the one I am sharing here is the simplest version of Tomato Rice. This is typically how my grandmother or mother would make a quick one-pot meal. No fancy ingredients, no extra frills. Today, to make it more convenient I will be sharing how to make this South Indian Tomato Rice in Instant Pot. Also sharing a quick stovetop version for those who don’t use Instant Pot.

Ingredients

As I mentioned earlier, this is a home-style tomato rice recipe. This is not tomato biryani. So, we will not be adding any of the biryani spices, basmati rice, garam masala etc. I have used ghee for this recipe because I love the flavour of fresh homemade ghee. You can use your choice of oil as well. Also, I have used regular raw rice here(Ponni Raw Rice or Sona Masoori Rice). You can use basmati rice as well. Honestly, I have never seen my grandmother cook with basmati rice. So, I have kept this recipe as authentic as possible.

Ingredients for Tomato rice
Ingredients for Tomato rice

How to make this South Indian Tomato Rice in Instant Pot

Wash rice, drain the water. Press SAUTE mode in the Instant Pot. Add ghee/oil. Once hot, add mustard, chana dal, red chilli, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and saute for a minute.
Using fenugreek seeds is optional but I love the flavour that it brings in. Add slit green chillies, finely chopped ginger and garlic.
I have used red chilli and green chilli since my chillies aren’t that spicy. Adjust according to your spice level. Also, use curry leaves if you have them in hand. Brings in a nice aroma and flavour.

Saute till a nice aroma comes. Next, add in some thinly sliced onions and saute for a minute. Add in the roughly chopped tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes turn slightly mushy. Now, add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder & coriander powder. Saute and cook until the spices blend well. To get a nice bright red colour, you can use some Kashmiri red chilli powder too. It doesn’t add spice to the recipe but brings in some colour. Since I already mentioned that this is a typical home-style recipe, I have not used any of these extra ingredients.

How to make Tomato rice
How to make Tomato Rice

Now, let the mixture cook well until tomatoes turn completely mushy. At this stage, add finely chopped mint and coriander leaves. It is optional to add these two, but it definitely adds a lovely flavour to this rice. Mix it well with the tomato mixture. Now, add water. If you want more flavourful rice, you can use coconut milk as well. After adding water, taste for salt. Adjust if needed. Add rice. Mix well. Close the pot with the lid. PRESSURE COOK on high-pressure mode for 6 mins. RELEASE PRESSURE after 10 mins. Open the lid. Garnish with coriander leaves. South Indian Tomato Rice in Instant Pot is ready!

Leave it undisturbed for 10 mins. Stir gently and serve hot.

How to make Tomato Rice
How to make Tomato rice

How to make this Rice in Stovetop

There are two ways in which you can cook this rice on a stovetop. One is, cook the rice separately. Prepare the tomato mixture as mentioned above. Once done, add the rice to the tomato mixture, garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

The other way is to make the recipe in a pressure cooker. Take a pressure cooker and follow the same instructions for making the tomato paste. Now, add water and let it boil. Once it nicely boils, add the washed and drained rice. Cook for 3 whistles on medium flame.

Serving Suggestions

Tomato rice tastes amazing with some simple potato fry or plantain fry.
Similarly, any South Indian stir fry goes well with this rice. I love having it with Ladies Finger Fry too. You can also serve tomato rice with some chips, papad or simple onion raita.

Tomato Rice with Vathal
Tomato rice with South Indian famous Vathal

Notes

Use well-ripened tomatoes for the best results. You can puree the tomato and add it to the recipe but personally, I don’t prefer doing it. I love bits and pieces of tomato in my rice and this is exactly how it’s done back home.

Water quantity depends on the rice you use. For raw rice, I usually use 1: 2 (1 cup rice: 2 cups water ). If using Basmati Rice, you can use 1: 1 & 1/2. Make sure you soak your basmati rice for 15 mins before cooking. For regular raw rice, no soaking is required.

You can use coconut milk instead of water for more flavour.

Once you release the pressure and open the lid, let the rice rest for a minimum of 10 mins before you handle it. This ensures that the rice doesn’t end up becoming mushy. Also, make sure you gently stir it with a fork or ladle.

This recipe is very mildly spiced. If you want a spicier rice, increase the chillis or chilli powder.

Tomato rice
South Indian Tomato Rice

Other Rice Recipes

Beetroot rice

Rasam rice

Coconut Milk Pulao

Millet Spinach Pulao

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South Indian Tomato Rice in Instant Pot
South Indian Tomato Rice in Instant Pot

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South Indian Tomato rice in Instant Pot

South Indian Tomato Rice in Instant Pot using simple, everyday spices from your pantry! Also known as Thakkali Sadam, this is a popular lunchbox recipe from South India. Perfect, one-pot rice for busy days as well.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Course: lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Easy Lunchbox Recipe, Quick Tomato Rice, South Indian Tomato Rice, Tomato rice, Tomato Rice in Instant Pot
Servings: 3 people
Author: Gayathri Vijayakumar

Ingredients

  • 2 Ripened Tomatoes medium size
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 inch Ginger finely chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 1 tbsp Ghee / Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 Red Chilli
  • 5 Fenugreek Seeds optional
  • 1 tbsp Chana Dal
  • Salt as needed
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 cup Rice
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/4 cup Coriander Leaves plus 1 tbsp for garnishing
  • 1/4 cup Mint Leaves

Instructions

  • Wash rice, drain the water and keep it aside. I have used Ponni Raw Rice.
  • Press SAUTE mode on Instant Pot. Add ghee/oil to the POT.
  • Once hot, add mustard seeds, chana dal, red chilli, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds and saute for a minute.
  • Add slit green chillies, finely chopped ginger and garlic.
  • Saute till a nice aroma comes. Next, add in some thinly sliced onions and saute for a minute. Add in the roughly chopped tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes turn slightly mushy.
  • Now, add salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder & coriander powder. Saute and cook until the spices blend well.
  • Now, let the mixture cook well until tomatoes turn completely mushy. At this stage, add finely chopped mint and coriander leaves. Mix it well with the tomato mixture. Now, add water. After adding water, taste for salt. Adjust if needed. Add rice. Mix well.
  • Close the pot with the lid. PRESSURE COOK on high-pressure mode for 6 mins. RELEASE PRESSURE after 10 mins. Open the lid. Garnish with coriander leaves. South Indian Tomato Rice in Instant Pot is ready! Leave it undisturbed for 10 mins. Stir gently and serve hot.

Notes

Use well-ripened tomatoes for the best results. You can puree the tomato and add it to the recipe but personally, I don’t prefer doing it. I love bits and pieces of tomato in my rice and this is exactly how it’s done back home.
Water quantity depends on the rice you use. For raw rice, I usually use 1: 2 (1 cup rice: 2 cups water ). If using Basmati Rice, you can use 1: 1 & 1/2. Make sure you soak your basmati rice for 15 mins before cooking. For regular raw rice, no soaking is required.
You can use coconut milk instead of water for more flavour.
Once you release the pressure and open the lid, let the rice rest for a minimum of 10 mins before you handle it. This ensures that the rice doesn’t end up becoming mushy. Also, make sure you gently stir it with a fork or ladle.
This recipe is very mildly spiced. If you want spicier rice, increase the number of chillis or chilli powder.