Tamatar ka bhaat

Tamatar ka bhaat

Tomato rice

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

This simple yet flavourful recipe for tomato rice is simply great and works very well. Also known as tambatar cha bhaat it is yet another delicious way to cook rice. It is an interesting addition to a meal and can be accompanied by a great many meats, vegetables and/or daals. I have chosen this version to simply showcase the diversity of Indian cooking. It is as modern as it is ancient.


Quantity Ingredient
1kg tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 litre boiling water
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger
4-6 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
2 white or red onions, halved and thinly sliced
400-500g basmati rice
5-6 black peppercorns
2-3 cloves
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
salt, to taste

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
thick, plain yoghurt, to serve (optional)


  1. Put the tomatoes in a large saucepan or casserole and add about 400–500 ml of the boiling water. Bring to the boil and boil for 8–10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle (or a small bowl with the end of a rolling pin) make a paste of the ginger and garlic. Add to the tomatoes and purée with a hand blender or pass through a sieve.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan, kadhai or wok and gently brown the sliced onions for 5–10 minutes until golden.
  4. Meanwhile, wash and drain the rice thoroughly in a colander.
  5. Add the peppercorns, cloves and rice to the onions and sauté for 2–3 minutes.
  6. Add all of this to the puréed tomato mixture and return to the heat.
  7. Add the remaining boiling water and some salt. Stir well, part-cover and bring back to the boil. Stir well to ensure nothing is stuck to the bottom and scrape the edges with a spatula to clean the sides so all the rice is in the pan. Cover tightly and reduce the heat as low as possible. Simmer for 15–20 minutes until the rice is just tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Stir once halfway through cooking but don’t keep lifting the lid.
  8. Taste and re-season, if necessary. Serve with the coriander either stirred through the rice or sprinkled on top. The tomato rice also tastes good served cold with yoghurt.
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