June 06, 2023

Tomato Rice | Thakaali Saadham - Quick one pot vegan recipe

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 Thakali Saadham / Tomato Rice is a simple and delicious recipe from South India . It makes for a Quick fix lunch or dinner option and also apt to pack for lunch boxes . 

It is not a traditional recipe, hence each household may have different recipes to dish out this yummy Thakali saadham .

The main ingredient for this recipe are juicy and slightly tangy tomatoes for the extra punch. I use just basic spices and not much whole masalas/ garam masala . I like the rice to soak in the taste and flavor of tomatoes and chillies . 

If you like you may add some fried cashews or boiled peas while preparing the tomato rice . I add them depending on my family's request . 

My hubby loves to have his tomato rice with either Pattani (Peas) Masala or Potato Curry and some chilled raita/pachadi . Papads or fryums are an excellent addition as well . 

If packing for lunch , make sure you cool the rice completely and then pack it . If you pack it very hot ,there is a chance the rice may go bad especially in summer.  

I often make thakali saadham for dinner as it is a quick fix and I wont see fussy faces at home . As always, I realised that this delicious tomato rice wasn't on my blog and as a matter of coincidence our gourmet food group theme for this month was "cook what you like " .. Viola !! I got an opportunity to publish this recipe.  My partner Rafeeda has dished out a baked Pasta recipe and if you are a pasta lover, you must try it for sure .

Preparation Time- 10 mins
Cooking Time - 20 mins
Complexity - simple
Serves  - 2 to 3


2 cups rice (Basmati / Sona Masuri / any short grained rice ) 
3 to 4 medium sized tomatoes 
1 onion chopped (optional) [skip for jain and no onions no garlic recipe ] 
3 green chillies slit 
Few curry leaves 
Fresh corriander 
1 tsp mustard seeds 
1 tsp channa dal 
1 tsp udad dhal 
2 tsp corriander powder 
1/2 tsp jeera powder 
1/2 tsp chilli powder 
Pinch of turmeric powder 
Salt as  needed
2 tbsp cooking oil 
Pinch of sugar 


  • Wash the rice well and soak it for 10mins and then drain the water through a colander. 
  • Chop the tomatoes into medium sized chunks and finely chop the green chillies .
  • Heat the oil in a pressure cooker or pressure pan and crackle the mustard seeds followed by channa dal and udad dal until they turn crisp and golden brown . Saute onions if using until pick and translucent. 
  • Fry the green chillies,  curry leaves . Keep the flame on low and add the chopped tomatoes and  spice powders (haldi, red chilli powder, jeera powder and corriander powder ).
  • Saute the tomatoes well and sprinkle some water ..cook covered until the tomatoes turn mushy and soft . Continue cooking until the oil begins to separate.Add salt at this  stage along with some chopped corriander. 
  • Add water and bring to a boil . If using basmati rice use 1.5 cups water for 1 cup rice and if using sona masuri rice use 2 cups water for 1 cup rice.
  • Once the water begins to boil,add the drained rice,  Pinch of sugar and adjust salt if needed .
  • Close the pressure cooker and cook on medium flame for 2 whistles.  Let the pressure release naturally. 
  • Fluff it with a fork and add some ghee if not vegan and serve hot with raita ,papads and some gravy or curry . 


  1. Priya I have enjoyed tomato rice which my neighbour use to send over to my place but haven't tried making it myself. Was wondering if I could replace the fresh tomatoes with fresh tomato puree as I have a large quantity in the fridge which needs to be used up? I love different flavoured rice dishes. This will be perfect for lunch.

    1. You can very well use the tomato puree . Follow the same process and In place of chopped tomatoes add the puree and cook until the raw flavor is lost and the oil separates from the tomato puree.

  2. I do love well-made tomato rice. Yours looks so flavourful! It's so awesome that yours is a pressure cooker recipe that one can use to make tomato rice in a jiffy. Will definitely try this out.

  3. It's so true that everyday recipes like this delish thakkali saadham often dont get blogged.. I have the same with thayir saadam :p - I love this pressure cooker version and can't wait to try it soon enough - Kalyani

  4. Perfect lunch menu Tomato rice, some papad and majjige! I will live all my life no this combo. I never add urid dal and chana dal will do so thistime.

  5. Recently we took mama and mami on a road trip so I packed thakkali saadam and some potato curry to have. They really enjoyed a good south indian style picnic.

  6. Thakkali saadam is actually one of the best dishes to make when you aren't in a mood to cook much and just want to get something done... Love how your plate of rice looks like... Super delicious, easy and flavorful!

  7. Like you said, there are numerous variations for simple comfort foods. I have never added jeera powder in thakkali madam and I am trying it this week. The addition of cumin powder will enhance the flavor and aroma for sure. Great recipe.

  8. Loved ur version tomato rice Priya, rice absorbs the flavours of tomato nd spices. Loved the way you had this rice with curry, fry yums and raita, super yummy.

  9. Tomato Rice is always a comfort food . There are so many variations to this humble dish. We add a little rasam powder and don’t add sugar. Would love to try your version soon for my lunch box. Love this quick and easy recipe.— Preethi

  10. Best one pot rice dish to pack for tiffin. Tomato rice sounds easy and delicious. Loved the pressure cooker method. Its perfect for a busy day.

  11. Tomato rice with some papad , is a perfect combo for me while on a hurry.... Use of urad dal and chana dal must be adding nice tiny crunch

  12. Tomato rice is my all-time favorite and I like this version made in a pressure cooker than one where rice is cooked separately and mixed. Your picture makes me mouthwatering.

  13. Such a comforting dish this is and made in a pressure cooker makes it so easy and fuss free. I would love to make this soon.


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