Tomato Rice

Tomato rice or takkali sadam in tamil, can be prepared in many ways. It can be made as a simple dish or as a complicated and elegant one suiting different tastes. This particular recipe is adapted from Tarla Dalal and adjustments are made suiting my needs. The good thing about this is that it can be made as a lunch box item for office goers. And it works for kids as well with its fascinating colours. In my house, it is loved a little bit spicy and luckily my kitchen cupboard was stocked with these items. So I made it today for my hubby’s lunch box.  This is what I made:

tomato rice

Ingredients –

7 to 8 tomatoes medium size – blanch, peel and purée.
1 onion chopped finely

2 garlic cloves chopped finely
4 to 5 cups cooked rice
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste

To temper –
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp groundnut
1 sprig curry leaves ( optional)

For masala –
1 tbsp oil
5 red chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp Chana dal
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/2 tsp asafetida
1 tsp desiccated coconut

For garnish ( optional) –
Coriander leaves

Method –

1. Fry all the ingredients mentioned under “for masala”. Once it cools, grind it in a mixer. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add “to temper” ingredients. Once it splutters, add onion and garlic and sauté till raw smell disappears and onions become slightly golden in colour.
3. Once done, add the puréed tomato paste to this. And keep stirring it till oil separates.
4. Add the ground masalas along with turmeric powder and cumin powder and mix it evenly. Add salt according to taste.
5. Mix in the cooked rice evenly.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve it with appalam, chips or raita. Dig in as your “meal is ready”.

Notes –
1 cup basmati rice cooked in 2.5 cups water yielded me 4 to 5 cups cooked rice.

Spinach-Carrot Rice

Time is scarce. Especially if you have a 14-month old at home who likes to keep you on your toes with his mischief. You cannot leave him alone and finish your work. He needs to be constantly observed and on the other hand, when hunger strikes – you have to satisfy his tummy (and palate) with different yet nutritious foods.

Anyway, even if he isn’t bored of eating the same food daily, I surely will get bored. I love to enjoy different delicacies. Even though my son has just started to speak, he has made it clear that he likes his food. He isn’t overly fussy – the food just needs to taste well and not be very spicy.

That is where these one hot-pot meals come in handy. I can cook them with ease and after cooking, there are lesser utensils to wash-up. Also I can cook while keeping a watch on him.

He loves carrots – boiled or in a raita. No doubt this is good – As carrots are rich in vitamin A, fibre and minerals. This will help in building good eye-sight. On the other hand, my hubby doesn’t prefer plain carrot dishes. He thinks they are a bit bland even if I add spices.

So, to satisfy both parties – I added a little variant to carrot in this recipe. I used spinach. Again, spinach is also rich in iron, folic acid, and other vitamins and minerals. So, what’s better than having a nutritious meal which tastes well!

What’s cooking – Spinach-Carrot Rice

Ingredients needed:

1 cup rice (wash it and soak it in water for 15 minutes before adding to the recipe)
1/2 a packet spinach – washed and chopped finely
2 carrots – washed, peeled and grated
1 onion – outer skin removed and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 chilly- finely chopped [if you need it to be more spicy, you can add more]
1 to 2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder ( optional) – as you are already using chilies
1 teaspoon cumin – coriander powder
Salt to taste
2 cups water.

So let’s start:

Since it’s a one hot pot meal. I will be cooking it in one vessel – i.e. a pressure cooker here. You can even cook it in rice cooker, if needed.

1. Heat 1-2 tbsp. oil in a pressure cooker.
2. When oil is hot, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and let them splutter.
3. Add the finely chopped chilies and garlic. Once garlic start turning light brownish, add the chopped onions and stir it till they turn pinkish in color.
5. At this stage, add the grated carrot and give it a stir such that it gets mixed fully.
6. Add all the masalas – turmeric powder; chilli powder; cumin-coriander powder, and salt.
7. Add the chopped spinach and give it a toss (adding it at this stage will help in retaining its color.  it will become dark in color only after getting cooked)
8. Add the soaked rice without water. I use 1:2 rice:water ratio which results in good cooked rice and doesn’t become mushy in texture. You can adjust the water as this differs based on the rice used, just ensure that rice should be fluffy, not mushy.
9. Close the lid and cook for 3 whistles.

Once, pressure is released completely, give it a mix, and serve it in a plate along with plain yoghurt or cucumber raita.

This colorful and nutritious meal is ready!