Tomato Bath – Vegan, gluten-free and flavourful rice dish. It is a Karnataka style tomato bath recipe made with tomato, coconut, herbs and spice-based ground masala makes a great weeknight dinner and an ideal option to pack for a lunchbox.
This aromatic and flavourful South Indian style tomato bath also termed tomato pulao is one of the versatile rice dishes to make on days when you don’t want to make elaborate meals but want one simple and flavourful dish. Like many one pot pulao dishes mint pulao, peas pulao, vegetable pulao and methi pulao, this delicious tomato rice bath makes a great dish for special occasions, festivals, potlucks and to pack for a picnic.
In the video, I've shown only the stove-top method but this recipe can be made in an Instant pot and traditional Indian pressure cooker as well.
Tomato rice bath recipe variations
You may leave out desiccated coconut and use coconut milk. Replace half the quantity of water with coconut milk.
You may use half the tomatoes in the masala paste and cook the rest with onion and ginger-garlic paste.
Transform it into a vegetable bath recipe by adding vegetables such as carrot, beans, potato and peas.
How to make tomato pulao in a Pressure cooker?
Instant Pot Method
Saute whole spices, vegetables and herbs in SAUTE mode. Keep stirring to prevent vegetables and spices from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Turn off the saute mode and grind the vegetable mixture along with desiccated coconut to a paste.
Turn ON saute mode again, heat oil and stir in cumin, onion, ginger garlic paste, ground masala paste, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, salt. Saute until the raw aroma of spices vanishes and then CANCEL saute mode.
Add rice, water, mix gently and ensure to deglaze the pot. Close the pot with lid, turn the pressure valve to SEALING, set pressure cook/manual mode to HIGH PRESSURE, 5 minutes. Once done, NPR for 5 minutes and then open the lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes then gently mix the tomato pulao rice.
Traditional Pressure Cooker Method
The process from step 1 till 4 is pretty much the same as shown in the video but you can use a pressure cooker base to saute whole spices and vegetables. Grind the vegetable and spice mixture and keep it aside.
Use a pressure cooker base and follow the rest of the process until step 11.
Close the lid and cook on medium-high heat for 1 whistle and turn off the heat. Allow pressure to release completely and then open the lid. Allow 2 whistles if you use sona masoori or any such variety of rice.
HOW TO COOK PERFECT RICE?
Water to rice ratio plays an important role to make perfect rice. You can use any rice such as basmati, long-grain, easy cook, parboiled, brown, red rice, sona masuri or ponni but make sure to follow the cooking instructions on the pack.
Cooking time and water-to-rice ratio vary with the variety and quality of rice. Some rice varieties may require more water to cook without soaking than the rice that has been soaked for 15-20 minutes.
Cooking with or without soaking rice is one more deciding factor of cooking time and the water-to-rice ratio. I've used basmati rice which requires a 1:1.5 (rice to liquid) ratio. But I've cut down ½ cup water as the ground tomato masala has the water content that certainly helps to cook rice. You have to consider the liquid content of tomato masala and the type of rice you use to determine the water requirements.
How to serve Tomato Bath?
Flavourful tomato rice tastes best with raita, kosambari and a glass of masala lassi.
Serve tomato bath with pickle such as allam pachadi /spicy mango chutney and papad on a busy weeknight.
You can serve it with a simple side dish jeera aloo or kohlrabi curry.
For kids, serve this yummy tomato bath with a mango lassi or mango lemonade to compensate for the spiciness.
Whole Spices: Cassia, cloves, green cardamom, cumin seeds and fennel seeds.
Vegetables, herbs and pantry staples: Desiccated coconut, coriander, mint, onion, tomato and oil.
For tomato pulao
Spices: Cumin seeds, star anise, bay leaf, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and coriander powder.
Vegetables; Onion, ginger garlic paste, coriander leaves, ginger garlic paste.
Liquid: Oil and water
Rice: I have used basmati but feel free to use any variety.
How to make tomato bath?
1. Heat oil in a pan, add cassia (dalchini), cloves, cardamom, cumin, fennel seeds and saute for few seconds just until the spices release the lovely aroma.
2. Add onion and saute for a couple of minutes.
3. Stir in mint and coriander leaves.
4. Add tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes until they start to soften. Turn the heat off and allow it to cool down completely.
5. Transfer the contents to a mixer jar/blender and then add desiccated coconut.
6. Grind it to a paste without adding any water.
Wash rice 2-3 times or until water runs clear.
7. Heat oil, add bay leaf, star anise, cumin and saute for few seconds until fragrant.
8. Stir in onions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until onion turn soft and translucent.
9. Add ground masala, chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, salt and mix until well combined. Cook for around 5 minutes until the raw aroma of dry spices vanishes.
10. Add water and bring it to boil.
11. Now add washed rice, chopped coriander leaves and gently stir. Close the pot with a lid and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
12. Once done turn the heat off and let it sit for 10 minutes. Take the lid off the pot and mix gently.
Serve piping hot tomato rice bath with any side dish of your choice.
Adjust spices as per your taste preference.
You may swap fresh/frozen coconut for desiccated coconut.
If you do not have any whole spice just skip it. This rice still tastes delicious and flavourful.
If you do not have premade ginger-garlic paste, cook a small piece of ginger and couple of garlic cloves along with tomato and spice mixture and then grind it.
Use fully ripe red tomatoes in this tomato pulao recipe for the best taste.
I wouldn't suggest using canned tomato puree or passata as the fresh tomatoes impart good flavour and yield the best-tasting dish.
More south Indian recipes
Kothu Parotta: An incredibly popular street food in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.
Chilli Parotta: A classic spicy street-side dish from Tamil Nadu. Parotta cut into bite-sized pieces are tossed with onion, mixed peppers and spices.
Vegetable Upma: A savoury dish made with semolina, water and vegetables.
Ven Pongal: One-pot dish prepared with rice, moong dal, a few essential spices and ghee.
Sweet Pongal: Sweet dish prepared with rice, moong dal, jaggery, dry fruits, and ghee, and flavoured with cardamom and edible camphor.
Bisi Bele Bath; Delicious one pot meal made of rice, lentils, vegetables and a special spice blend.
📖 Recipe Card
Tomato Bath (Karnataka Style Tomato Pulao)
1 Cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon = 5ml
For Masala Paste
- 1 Teaspoon Oil
- ½ inch Cassia (Dalchini)
- 1 Cardamom
- 3 Cloves
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- 1.5 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- ¾ cup (or) 70 gms Onion half of large onion, diced
- a pinch Salt
- handful (or)around 2-3 sprigs Mint remove leaves from the sprig
- handful (or) around 2-3 sprigs Coriander remove leaves from the sprig
- 2 cups (or) 406 gms Tomatoes 4 medium tomatoes, diced
- 3 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
- 1.5 Tablespoons Oil
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Star Anise
- 1 Teaspoons Cumin
- ½ Cup (or) 68 gms Onion half of the large onion, sliced
- 1 Teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- ½ Teaspoon Turmeric
- 2 Teaspoon Chilli Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder
- as required Salt
- 3 Cups Rice
- 4 Cups Water
- handful Fresh Coriander Leaves chopped
To make masala paste
- In a pan or kadai, heat oil over medium-high heat.1 Teaspoon Oil
- Once oil is hot, add cassia followed by cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds and cumin. Saute for few seconds until aromatic.½ inch Cassia (Dalchini), 3 Cloves, 1 Teaspoon Cumin, 1.5 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds, 1 Cardamom
- Now add onion, pinch of salt and saute for couple of minutes.¾ cup (or) 70 gms Onion, a pinch Salt
- Stir in handful coriander, mint.handful (or)around 2-3 sprigs Mint, handful (or) around 2-3 sprigs Coriander
- Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until tomatoes start to soften. You need not cook until tomatoes are mushy.2 cups (or) 406 gms Tomatoes
- Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to cool down completely.
- Transfer the contents to mixer/blender and grind to a paste. Do not add any water as the moisture from tomatoes are enough to help grinding process.3 Tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
- Take rice in a deep bowl, wash under cold tap water for 3-4 times or until water runs clear. Keep rice bowl aside.3 Cups Rice
To make Tomato Bath
- In a deep skillet or steel pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.1.5 Tablespoons Oil
- Add bay leaf, star anise, cumin and saute for few seconds until aromatic.1 Bay Leaf, 1 Star Anise, 1 Teaspoons Cumin
- Now add onion, ginger-garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes or until onion turn soft.½ Cup (or) 68 gms Onion, 1 Teaspoon Ginger Garlic Paste
- Reduce the heat now and mix in ground masala paste followed by chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, salt.½ Teaspoon Turmeric, 2 Teaspoon Chilli Powder, 1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder, as required Salt
- Cook for 5 minutes or until the raw aroma of spices vanish.
- Add water, mix well and increase the heat. Bring it to boil.4 Cups Water
- Now add washed rice and coriander leaves mix, gently and cook until 50% of the water is absorbed.handful Fresh Coriander Leaves
- Reduce the heat, close the pot with lid and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and let it sit for 5-8 minutes.
- Take the lid of the pot and gently mix rice. Ensure not to break rice grains.
- Serve piping hot delicious Tomato Rice bath with raita or any side dish of your choice.
KEEP IN TOUCH
Do let me know if you make this South Indian tomato rice. If you like this recipe kindly consider rating it using stars in the comment section or on the recipe card to help more people find this recipe online. You can stay up to date by following me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or subscribing to my Youtube channel. Or why not subscribe to my blog and get simple recipes straight to your inbox?
It was super delicious... Simple yet amazinggg