I have fond memories of tomato rice with its strong, fiery flavors. Whenever we would embark on a train journey, my mother would lovingly prepare either curd rice or tomato rice and it would be well-packed in fresh banana leaves that were cleaned carefully. Everywhere I go, I check out tomato rice and it never tastes as good as my mom’s.
Recently, for some bizarre reason, I began to crave for tomato rice but with mild flavours that didn’t have the strong South Indian flavours. Perhaps it has more to do with keeping flavours light during the peak of summer.
Exactly then I found a tomato recipe in one of Anjum Anand’s cook books. Unfortunately, as the cookbook wasn’t mine and was lying around some place, I don’t recall its title. But I quickly scribbled the tomato rice recipe and finally tried it out.
Anjum Anand’s Tomato Rice
3 tbsp veg oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 cardamom sticks
4 cloves, 1 black cardamom
I small onion peeled and sliced
2 large cloves of garlic, 3 green chillies,
½ tsp turmeric powder
¾ tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
3 chopped tomatoes
200 gms rice (soaked in water)
3 tbsps freshly grated coconut
Some coriander leaves
Some mint leaves
Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon sticks and let mustard seeds splutter. Add onion and cook over moderate heat till it turns golden. Stir in garlic and chillies and cook till the garlic stops smelling raw. Add the powdered spices and salt and cook for another 20 mins, keeps stirring gently.
Add the tomatoes, turn the heat up, cover and cook for 5 to 6 mins till tomatoes soften. (My TWEAK: Here I added freshly chopped coriander and mint leaves to the tomato mix and let it blend in well like mashed mixture with the tomatoes). Remember, the taste should have no harsh elements at all. Add rice, stirfy, add required amount of water. Let it cook. When its done, add the coconut to the rice, give it a good stir, taste. Cook till rice is ready to be served. Serve with love.