Tomato Bath (Karnataka Style Tomato Pulao + Video)

Tomato Bath – Vegan, gluten-free and flavourful tomato-based rice dish. Karnataka style tomato rice bath made with tomato, coconut, herbs and spice based ground masala that makes a great weeknight dinner and an ideal option to pack for lunchbox.

Tomato rice bath with raita, coriander and tomato places on black table.

As always, you will find the full ingredients list with measurements and detailed recipe instructions in a separate recipe box underneath the text section. To bypass the text section choose “SCROLL TO RECIPE” or “PRINT RECIPE” or click the “SCROLL TO VIDEO” option to watch the full video of this recipe. All options are located at the beginning of the post.

This aromatic and flavourful South Indian style tomato bath 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 rice dishes Lemon Rice, Coconut Rice this delicious tomato rice bath makes a great dish on 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 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.

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 vanish 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 a video but you can use 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.


Water to rice ratio plays an important role to make perfect rice. You can use any rice such as basmati, long-grain, easy cook, brown, red rice, sona masoori or ponni but make sure to follow cooking instructions on the pack. Cooking time and water to rice ratio varies with 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 the one more deciding factor of cooking time and the water to rice ratio. I’ve used basmati rice that requires a 1:1.5 (rice to liquid) ratio. But I’ve cut down 1/2 cup water as the ground tomato masala has the water content that certainly helps to cook rice. You have to consider the liquid content from tomato masala and type of rice you use to determine the water requirements.

Watch how to make tomato bath recipe

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How to serve Tomato Bath?

Flavourful tomato rice tastes best with raita and kosambari and a glass of Masala lassi.

This tomato rice bath also goes well with pickle /chutney and papad.

You can serve it with simple side dish Jeera Aloo, Kohlrabi curry.

For kids, serve this yummy tomato bath with a Mango Lassi to compensate the spiciness.



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.

Process of cooking and blending tomato masala paste.

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 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.

process of making tomato bath pulao.

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.

More south Indian recipe ideas

Cabbage Poriyal

Kothu Parotta

Plain Salna

Thakkali Kurma

Chilli Parotta

Vegetable Upma

Tomato Bath (Karnataka Style Tomato Pulao)

Tomato Bath – delicious and flavourful tomato-based rice dish. Karnataka style tomato rice bath made with tomato, coconut, herbs and spice based ground masala makes a great weeknight dinner and an ideal option to pack for lunchbox.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course rice
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5
Calories 483 kcal


For Masala Paste

  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1/2 inch Cassia (Dalchini)
  • 1 Cardamom
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1.5 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 3/4 cup (70 gms) Onion half of large onion, diced
  • a pinch Salt
  • handful (around 2-3 sprigs) Mint
  • handful (around 2-3 sprigs) Coriander
  • 2 cups (406 gms) Tomatoes 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 3 tbsp Desiccated Coconut

For Rice

  • 1.5 tbsp Oil
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 cup (68 gms) Onion half of the large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • as required Salt
  • 3 cups Rice
  • 4 cups Water


To make masala paste

  • In a pan or kadai, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  • Once oil is hot, add cassia followed by cardamom, cloves, fennel seeds and cumin. Saute for few seconds until aromatic.
  • Now add onion, pinch of salt and saute for couple of minutes.
  • Stir in handful coriander, mint.
  • Add tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes or until tomatoes start to soften. You need not cook until tomatoes are mushy.
  • 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.
  • Take rice in a deep bowl, wash under cold tap water for 3-4 times or until water runs clear. Keep rice bowl aside.

To make Tomato Bath

  • In a deep skillet or steel pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  • Add bay leaf, star anise, cumin and saute for few seconds until aromatic.
  • Now add onion, ginger-garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes or until onion turn soft.
  • Reduce the heat now and mix in ground masala paste followed by chilli powder, turmeric, coriander powder, 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.
  • Now add washed rice, mix gently and cook until 50% of the water is absorbed.
  • 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.



Calories: 483kcalCarbohydrates: 92gProtein: 9gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 37mgPotassium: 189mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 320IUCalcium: 57mgIron: 2mg
Keyword south indian style tomato rice, tomato bath recipe, tomato pulao, tomato rice, vegetarian rice recipe
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