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South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

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South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

Tomato rice recipe is popular South Indian style rice preparation. In Tamil language it is known as Thakkali sadam. The main ingredients are tomatoes and rice. This is very healthy yet delicious rice recipe with tangy flavor of tomatoes.

Tomato rice is not only delicious and flavorful; but it is also very easy to make.

This rice dish is dear hubby’s favorite for his lunch box. He likes his rice with plain yogurt. So I usually pack yogurt in separate container for him. It would be good for kid’s lunch box too. Please adjust chilies, if making for kids.

South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

I have adapted this recipe from “Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India” cookbook. I am totally in love with this book. As I have tried couple of recipes and I loved all of them. I also tried Tamarind rice from this book and I loved it too. I will share it soon. Recipes are authentic south Indian and explained very well.

For making tomato rice or tomato bhaat, I have made freshly ground spice powder which gives very fresh and unique flavor to the dish. If you are going to make this rice often then I would suggest you to make spice powder in big batch (like 6-7 times) and store it in airtight container. This way you can make it within 15 minutes.

Step by step recipe for tomato rice:

1) Take spice powder ingredients except hing (red chili, chana dal, urad dal and coriander seeds) in a small pan.

2) Turn the heat on low-medium. Dry roast with stirring continuously till dal is brown and you will get nice aroma from coriander seeds.  Make sure to dry roast on proper heat; if dal stays raw then it won’t taste good at all.
South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

3) Let them cool completely. Meanwhile chop onions, chilies and make puree of tomatoes. Grind them into fine powder using spice grinder.

4) Heat the oil in pan on medium heat. Once hot add mustard seeds. Let them pop.
South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

5) Then add chopped onions, green chilies and curry leaves. Sprinkle some salt to speed up the process.

6) Cook till onion gets light brown.
South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

7) Add pureed tomato and remaining salt. Mix well.

8) Cook till all the moisture from tomato evaporates and oil starts to leave from the sides.
South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

9) Add prepared spice powder.

10) Mix well and cook for a minute.
South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

11) Add cooked rice.

12) Mix gently till incorporated well. And serve. (Sorry no photo; got a call from India and forgot to take a pic.)
South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

Enjoy this yummy Tomato rice.
— Check out more rice recipes —
Raw mango rice  – Lemon rice  — Coriander rice  —  Capsicum rice

South Indian Tomato Rice Recipe | How to make Thakkali Sadam

Here is the Tomato rice or Thakkali sadam recipe:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tomato Rice Recipe - South Indian recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Tomato rice recipe aka Thakkali sadam - Very healthy and delicious, medium spicy rice dish with full of tomato flavor.
Category: Rice dish
Cuisine: South Indian
Yield: 2 Servings
For Spice powder –
  • Dried red chilies – 2
  • Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Chana dal (split bengal gram) – 1 ½ teaspoon
  • Urad dal (split skinless black gram) – ½ teaspoon
  • Asafetida (hing) – a pinch
Other ingredients –
  • Cooked rice – 2 cups
  • Oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
  • Onion – ½ cup, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 5-6
  • Green chilies – 2, chopped finely
  • Tomato – 2 medium or 1 cup pureed
  • Salt – to taste
  1. Dry roast the spice powder ingredients and low-medium heat with stirring continuously. Once roasted let them cool completely. Meanwhile prepare other ingredients and by that time it is cooled, grind into fine powder.
  2. Heat the oil in pan on medium heat. Once hot add mustard seeds and let them pop.
  3. Then add green chilies, curry leaves and onions with little salt. Cook till onions become soft and light brown.
  4. Then mix in tomato puree, remaining salt and cook till all the moisture evaporates and oil starts to leave.
  5. Add spice powder and cook for a minute.
  6. Lastly mix in cooked rice and it is ready to serve.
Additional Info
Taste – medium spicy with tangy flavor from tomatoes

Shelf life – once cools completely, it can be kept in refrigerator up to 4-5 days in air tight container.

Serving suggestions – serve with plain yogurt or raita with crispy papad on side. Perfect rice dish for kid’s and adult’s lunch box.


Categorized under Healthy Recipes, Rice Dishes, South Indian, Vegan

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  • Kumar January 10, 2015, 10:50 pm

    This recipe is wonderful.. I just made it for my pregnant wife… She loved it… Thanks to you I made her a nice dinner… This recipe is so much better than the other one where you cook the tomatoes n rice together… That doesn’t bring so much flavor in it… Thanks again..

    • Kanan January 11, 2015, 10:44 am

      Thanks for the feedback Kumar. Nice to hear that you and your wife likes this tomato rice.

  • Foodie December 23, 2014, 1:59 am


    Have you made the home made puree in this recipe with vinegar and sugar or it is just boiled tomatoes mixed in blender put to use.


    • Kanan December 23, 2014, 12:03 pm

      To make tomato puree for this recipe, Just grind the chopped tomatoes into smooth paste. No need to boil or no need to add anything

  • Jayasankari December 7, 2014, 2:18 am

    Tried this recipe. Tasted delicious. Perfect thakkali sadham. Thank you.

    • Kanan December 7, 2014, 11:40 am

      Nice to hear that it came out good.

  • Shrikar December 6, 2014, 2:00 pm

    Very well narrated recipe.

    I tried it myself and it was wonderful. Frankly speaking i had expected it to be just ok, but it was delicious.

    Moreover it is very simple, did not took much effort in the first attempt itself.

    Thanks for your effort in sharing this wonderful recipe.

    • Kanan December 7, 2014, 11:37 am

      Glad to know that you liked this rice recipe. Thanks for the feedback Shrikar.

  • Priya Nair November 26, 2014, 6:23 am

    Very well written..easy to prepare…the big part is my father-in-law loved it

    • Kanan November 27, 2014, 2:04 am

      Glad to hear.. Thank you Priya

  • sonia November 11, 2014, 2:15 pm

    tried this. was wonderful. Already made it twice in two days. I doubled the qty of spice powders, and added more onions and lil garam masala though.Thanks once again

    • Kanan November 11, 2014, 6:59 pm

      aah, more spices means more freshness and flavors. Nice to know that recipe is helpful to you.

  • Laxmi Suvi Chandra July 4, 2014, 9:04 am

    Thank you for the recipe… :)

    • Kanan July 4, 2014, 10:16 am

      You’re welcome.

  • Purnima June 27, 2014, 10:29 am

    Thanks a lot.

  • Nimesh June 3, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Thanks a lot, this was a well written and narrated recipe. It turned out perfect and i put my turn to cook dinner to good use tonight (me and my wife keeps taking turns to make dinner) Really appreciate it.

    • Kanan June 3, 2014, 6:07 pm

      Glad to know that it came out good. Thanks for the feedback

  • Ramya March 10, 2014, 7:48 am

    its very nice Taste,

    • Kanan March 10, 2014, 12:03 pm

      happy to know that you liked the taste.

  • kethana sri February 28, 2014, 9:14 am

    Wow i lke thz tomato rice.it cn b made very easily nd in less tme

    • Kanan February 28, 2014, 1:35 pm

      Yes that is true Kethana sri, It is quick and easy recipe.

  • Anahita July 29, 2013, 10:25 am

    This recipe is just superb. Many thanks!

    • Kanan July 29, 2013, 1:14 pm

      glad that you liked, Anahita.

    • Tamil March 29, 2014, 8:06 pm

      Is it that simple…!!!