Tomato Rice Recipe | How to Make Tomato Rice

Indian tomato rice made with basmati rice, fresh ripe tomatoes, spices and herbs. This easy delicious tomato rice tastes great with raita or plain yogurt. Instructions are given for stovetop & Instant pot

Ingredients (1 Cup = 250ml )


  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons oil or ghee
  • 1 medium onion (chopped or sliced)
  • 1 green chili (slit, optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste or crushed
  • 1 cup tomatoes (2 to 3 medium sized) (chopped or pureed)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala powder or curry powder
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili powder or paprika (reduce for less spicy)
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric (haldi)
  • 2 ½ cups water for cooker (3 cups for pot & 1¾ cups + 2 tbsp for Instapot)
  • 3 tablespoon coriander leaves (cilantro) finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 12 whole cashewnuts (split & use) (optional)

whole spices (skip if you don’t have)

  • 1 small bay leaf or curry leaves
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 inch cinnamon piece (dalchini)
  • 3 green cardamoms (elaichi)
  • 3 cloves (laung)


  • Add 1½ cup rice to a bowl and rinse it well a few times until the water runs clear. Pour fresh water and soak the rice for 30 mins. Then drain to a colander & set aside.
  • Heat a pressure cooker or a pot with 2 tbsps ghee or oil.
  • Add cashews and fry until golden. Remove to a plate & set aside.
  • Saute 3 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon piece, ¾ tsp cumin, 3 green cardamoms and 1 small bay leaf.
  • When they begin to crackle, add 1 finely chopped onion and 1 slit green chili.
  • Saute until the onions turn golden. Next saute 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste until a nice aroma comes out for 30 seconds. 
  • Next add in 1 cup tomatoes, salt as needed and ¼ tbsp turmeric.
  • Saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover & cook until the tomatoes break down & turn mushy.
  • Add ½ to 1 tsp red chili powder and ¾ to 1 tbsp garam masala powder. 
  • Mix and cook until the tomato masala turns completely soft and mushy.
  • At this stage the masala leaves the sides of the pan. Pour water & stir well. Taste the water and add more salt if needed.
  • Bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the drained rice.

Making tomato rice in a pot

  • Cook until the water has almost absorbed. When the rice is still soggy, lower the flame completely and cover with a lid until the tomato rice is cooked completely.
  • Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and squeeze in some lemon juice. Tomato rice is ready to serve hot or warm with a raita. Garnish with cashews.

Making tomato rice in a pressure cooker

  • Stir and cover with the lid. Cook on a medium high flame. Allow to whistle once. When the pressure goes down, open the lid. Fluff up the tomato rice.

Instant pot tomato rice

  • Soak rice for 30 mins. Press SAUTE button & pour oil to the inner pot of the instant pot. Then fry cashews until golden and remove them. Stir in the whole spices and then add onions.
  • Saute them until transparent. Add the ginger garlic paste & saute for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt. Saute them until the tomatoes break down and turn mushy.
  • Add chilli powder, garam masala & turmeric. Saute for just 1 to 2 mins until the moisture from tomatoes almost dries up.
  • Next pour 1¾ cups + 2 tbsp water. Press CANCEL button. Scrape off any bits of spices stuck at the bottom. This prevents from getting a burn notice.
  • Stir & check the salt. Add more if needed. Then add the rice. Then secure the lid. Set the steam release handle/ value to sealing. Press PRESSURE COOK button (highpressure) for 5 mins.
  • When the tomato rice is done, Instant pot beeps. Wait for 2 mins & release the pressure manually with the help of a spoon by moving the steam release handle to venting from sealing. If you like softer rice then let the pressure release naturally for 7 to 8 mins. Then release the rest manually.
  • Sprinkle coriander leaves & fluff up the tomato rice with a fork. Garnish with cashews.


If using curry powder or bisi bele bath or vangi bath masala, then you may need to skip the red chili powder or reduce it.

For basmati rice, I usually use 2.5 cups water for 1.5 cups rice.

NUTRITION (estimation only)

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