simple recipes

Garlic Tomato Rice

tomato riceEasy garlic tomato rice recipe for a quick satisfying lunch or dinner. Serve it with greek yogurt or fried egg and a complete meal is ready.

Saturdays is the day we buy our groceries for the week. I asked my husband to buy groceries the last weekend, and then there were 4 pounds of ripe tomatoes. Completely my mistake, since I forgot to remove it from our grocery list. I store tomatoes on the countertop and not in refrigerator, this means I would end up throwing away the rotten ones soon if I did not make good use of it.

The next thing I did was call my mother and she gave me the idea of her classic tomato rice which we call ‘chitranna’ back home. It is basically made of onion, green chillies, tomatoes and few tempering ingredients with a generous amount of oil; which is then mixed with plain white rice. I took the same recipe and made a few changes like reducing the amount of oil and adding whole spices. Also, the addition of garlic gives this dish a distinct flavor. I added some lemon juice as I was craving something tangier and the tomatoes were a little on the sweeter side. This is completely optional.

garlic tomato rice


1 cup rice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 inch cinnamon
2 green cardamom
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
8 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 medium red onion, sliced thinly
3 green chillies, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon (or as needed) salt


  • Wash the rice two to three times by changing water and add it to a pot of boiling salted water, about 4-5 cups. Cook on medium flame until the rice is done, then strain the water and keep it aside.
  • Warm olive oil on a low-medium flame in a pan and add the whole spices cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and bay leaf. When the spices start to sizzle, add the garlic and saute for a few seconds to infuse the oil with flavor.
  • Next, add the onions, green chillies and fry for about 8-9 minutes until the onions have browned evenly.
  • Now, add the tomatoes and cook covered for about 4 minutes until the tomatoes have moistened. Remove the lid and add turmeric powder. Cook until there is no moisture and you see oil sizzling on the sides.
  • Add salt and cilantro. Mix and add the cooked rice. Mix again gently to cover each grain of rice with the tomato mixture. Then, cover the pan with lid and cook for another 3-4 minutes on low flame.
  • Serve hot with papad, pickle, yogurt, or fried egg.

Notes: Add a teaspoon of lemon juice if the tomatoes are sweeter and not tangy.

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